des·​ig·​na·​tion | \ ˌde-zig-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce designation (audio) \

Definition of designation

1 : the act of indicating or identifying the designation of a speech sound
2 : appointment to or selection for an office, post, or service awaiting his next designation
3 : a distinguishing name, sign, or title … the only star in Lynx with a Greek letter designation— Richard Berry approved the area's designation as a wildlife refuge
4 : the relation between a sign and the thing signified

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Examples of designation in a Sentence

Though many people call her a liberal, it is not a designation she uses herself. we've never given the homemade gadget a proper designation
Recent Examples on the Web All the Democrats on stage Thursday support legalizing cannabis and removing its federal designation as a drug on par with heroin, except for Biden, who backs decriminalization instead. Joe Garofoli,, "Here are the only-in-California questions to ask at Democrats’ debate," 19 Dec. 2019 The first companies got certified in 2007, changing their legal designation and committing to work toward criteria in five segments: governance, workers, community, customers, and the environment. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "The extraordinary story of the only B Corp in Afghanistan," 12 Dec. 2019 With Lock’s imminent return, the Broncos will have used both of their eligible-to-return designations; receiver Tim Patrick (hand) returned in the Week 11 loss at Minnesota. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Drew Lock to “possibly” be activated from injured reserve, placed on Broncos’ roster for Sunday’s home game against Chargers," 25 Nov. 2019 His right hand reaches over his right knee toward the ground—a gesture said to capture the precise moment of his spiritual awakening and his designation of the earth as witness to his enlightenment. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian, "The Hidden City of Myanmar," 21 Nov. 2019 The county also needs a long-term strategy for preserving housing units that are at risk of losing their affordable designation, the task force said. Caroline Glenn,, "Orange County task force calls for $160 million affordable housing fund," 15 Nov. 2019 Unesco celebrates 23 of the city’s bridges in its designation of the banks of the Seine — from the Pont de Sully, near Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Pont d’Iéna, at the Eiffel Tower — as a World Heritage cultural site. Elaine Sciolino, New York Times, "Knowing Paris by Its Bridges," 4 Nov. 2019 This would seem to exclude cosmetic surgery, but the industry does not track where the skin ultimately ends up, leaving it unclear whether your designation will be fulfilled. Los Angeles Times, "Worried about how your body parts will be used? Here’s what you can do," 13 Oct. 2019 But city staff determined the building, which was constructed in the early 1900s as a gas station, didn’t meet the criteria for landmark designation. Madison Iszler,, "Still Golden building to be demolished as plans for Jefferson Bank’s new HQ move forward," 18 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'designation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of designation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for designation

see designate entry 1

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Time Traveler for designation

Time Traveler

The first known use of designation was in the 14th century

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Statistics for designation

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Designation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for designation


How to pronounce designation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of designation

: the act of officially choosing someone or something to do or be something
: a name or title that identifies someone or something


des·​ig·​na·​tion | \ ˌde-zig-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce designation (audio) \

Kids Definition of designation

1 : an act of choosing to be or do something Voters approved designation of the land as a wildlife refuge.
2 : a name, sign, or title that identifies something His official designation is Chief of Security.

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Comments on designation

What made you want to look up designation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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