des·​ig·​na·​tion | \ˌde-zig-ˈnā-shən \

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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Synonyms & Antonyms for designation


appointment, assignment, commission


discharge, dismissal, dismission, expulsion, firing

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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

At Harvard and Johns Hopkins, more got the designations than didn’t. Melissa Korn, WSJ, "You Graduated Cum Laude? So Did Everyone Else," 2 July 2018 The designation honors lifetime Girl Scout Dorothy Goodykoontz, founder and past president of The Emerald Circle. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Girl Scouts awards $30,000 in scholarships to 24 graduating seniors," 23 June 2018 The lack of tickets and years of abandonment could change with the historic designation. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "Cass-Henry Historic District vote delayed, leaving Ilitch buildings in limbo," 3 July 2018 On Monday, President Donald Trump approved Oklahoma’s request for a disaster designation after wildfires scorched western parts of the state in the spring, allowing federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts. Tim Talley, The Seattle Times, "Monsoon season not expected to end drought in US Southwest," 25 June 2018 The school’s nomination for the register designation was approved by the Texas Historical Commission on Jan. 20. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Trinity added to national historic registry," 6 June 2018 Maryland's games at Michigan (Oct. 6) and at Iowa (Oct. 20) will both start at noon with television designation to be announced at a later date., "Digest: Mechanicsville's Fox catches record snakehead in Charles County," 1 June 2018 At the time, according to an estimate from Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council, which certifies tequilas with designations of origin, eight or nine of the 79 tequila producers were women. Valeriya Safronova, New York Times, "Her Father Loved Tequila. Now She Runs a Company That Makes It.," 25 May 2018 And Barse wasn’t alone in that desire—by 2015, ten separate farms had applied for the designation of farm brewery. Natasha Geiling, Smithsonian, "The East Coast May Be On the Brink of a Hop Renaissance," 21 May 2018

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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Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for designation

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

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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 \

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).


noxious or harmful

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