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

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 Therefore, any No. 1 starter designation is moot, too. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Jan. 2022 As France takes over the presidency of the European Union's six-month rotation among member states, Macron has positioned himself as the rightful heir to Merkel's long designation as Europe's leading figure. David A. Andelman, CNN, 3 Jan. 2022 The area’s designation as a national monument will help protect its rich ecology and cultural history, including ancestral sites of the Indigenous Cotoni people. New York Times, 27 Dec. 2021 In an unusual move, the family then sought approval from the Zoning Commission to remove the building’s historic designation in June. Madison Iszler, San Antonio Express-News, 7 Dec. 2021 Frank’s beneficiary designation gives Sharon 90% of the IRA when Frank passes, and 10% goes to Frank Jr. Julie Jason, Jd, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 The latter resulted in the state revoking Sherman’s Level II trauma designation, meaning ambulances can’t take patients who’ve suffered traumatic injuries, like gunshot and car crash injuries. Gloria Casas,, 14 Oct. 2021 Environmental groups say the ‘dark sky’ designation joins the cultural and environmental reasons for preserving the region. The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Aug. 2021 Farah Salem, Xyza Cruz Bacani and Johny Pitts — testify to the beauty of Blackness or challenge the designation of minority status. Lori Waxman,, 6 Jan. 2022

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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Dictionary Entries Near designation

designated hitter


designatio personae

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Statistics for designation

Last Updated

27 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Designation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for designation



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on designation

Nglish: Translation of designation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of designation for Arabic Speakers


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