design

verb
de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn How to pronounce design (audio) \
designed; designing; designs

Definition of design

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan : devise, contrive design a system for tracking inventory
2a : to conceive and plan out in the mind he designed the perfect crime
b : to have as a purpose : intend she designed to excel in her studies
c : to devise for a specific function or end a book designed primarily as a college textbook a suitcase designed to hold a laptop computer
3 archaic : to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name
4a : to make a drawing, pattern, or sketch of … a curious woman whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage …— Oscar Wilde
b : to draw the plans for design a building designing a new bike

intransitive verb

1 : to conceive or execute a plan
2 : to draw, lay out, or prepare a design was trained to design for homes and offices

design

noun

Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a particular purpose or intention held in view by an individual or group He has ambitious designs for his son.
b : deliberate purposive planning more by accident than design
2 : a mental project or scheme in which means to an end are laid down was never part of my design
3a : a deliberate undercover project or scheme : plot a declaration of a design upon his life— John Locke
b designs plural : aggressive or evil intent used with on or against he has designs on the money
4 : a preliminary sketch or outline showing the main features of something to be executed the design for the new stadium
5a : an underlying scheme that governs functioning, developing, or unfolding : pattern, motif the general design of the epic
b : a plan or protocol for carrying out or accomplishing something (such as a scientific experiment) also : the process of preparing this
6 : the arrangement of elements or details in a product or work of art … his sense of structure, both in the general design of Paradise Lost and Samson, and in his syntax …— T. S. Eliot
7 : a decorative pattern a floral design
8 : the creative art of executing aesthetic or functional designs studied design in college

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from design

Verb

designedly \ di-​ˈzī-​nəd-​lē How to pronounce designedly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for design

Synonyms: Verb

aim, allow [chiefly Southern & Midland], aspire, calculate, contemplate, go [chiefly Southern & Midland], intend, look, mean, meditate, plan, propose, purport, purpose

Synonyms: Noun

arrangement, blueprint, game, game plan, ground plan, master plan, plan, program, project, road map, scheme, strategy, system

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for design

Noun

intention, intent, purpose, design, aim, end, object, objective, goal mean what one intends to accomplish or attain. intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about. announced his intention to marry intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness. the clear intent of the statute purpose suggests a more settled determination. being successful was her purpose in life design implies a more carefully calculated plan. the order of events came by accident, not design aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing. her aim was to raise film to an art form end stresses the intended effect of action often in distinction or contrast to the action or means as such. willing to use any means to achieve his end object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need. his constant object was the achievement of pleasure objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable. their objective is to seize the oil fields goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship. worked years to reach her goals

plan, design, plot, scheme, project mean a method devised for making or doing something or achieving an end. plan always implies mental formulation and sometimes graphic representation. plans for a house design often suggests a particular pattern and some degree of achieved order or harmony. a design for a new dress plot implies a laying out in clearly distinguished sections with attention to their relations and proportions. the plot of the play scheme stresses calculation of the end in view and may apply to a plan motivated by craftiness and self-interest. a scheme to defraud the government project often stresses imaginative scope and vision. a project to develop the waterfront

Examples of design in a Sentence

Verb

A team of engineers designed the new engine. Who designed the book's cover? He designed the chair to adjust automatically. They thought they could design the perfect crime. design a strategy for battle

Noun

There are problems with the design of the airplane's landing gear. I like the design of the textbook. I love the sculpture's design. The machine had a flawed design. the design and development of new products Correcting mistakes is part of the design process. a number of design concepts
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The two companies that merged to form SNC-Lavalin designed and built hydroelectricity projects in the northern part of the province that are now an important component of Quebec’s economy. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Trudeau, in Trouble in Much of Canada, Still Has Fans in Quebec," 17 Aug. 2019 The center was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and debuted in 1973. George W. Stone, National Geographic, "Dinosaurs to gladiators: 10 World Heritage trips for families," 16 Aug. 2019 The Korean Sister City Assn. designed and paid for the memorial. Mark Kellam, Glendale News-Press, "Musical centering on plights of comfort women, a topic with local significance, opens in Los Angeles," 16 Aug. 2019 Stan, as lead engineer and mentor, was the creative force behind the studio, while Dave, with his technical know-how, made the custom designed and crafted technology that pioneered modern music. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "REVIEW: SD REP’s new show is a delightful look at music history," 14 Aug. 2019 At this point, your entire life could be filled with items designed and inspired by Billie. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Billie Eilish Collaborated with Siberia Hills on Hoodies and a Shirt," 8 Aug. 2019 The presentations are rooted in the coverage and expertise of Quartz’s global newsroom, but designed to take advantage of the presentation form, and bring new information and reporting. Kevin J. Delaney, Quartz, "Presentation: The jobs of the future," 24 Aug. 2019 Stuxnet would come to be recognized as the first cyberattack ever designed to directly damage physical equipment, and an act of cyberwar that has yet to be replicated in its virtuosic destructive effects. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "The WIRED Guide to Cyberwar," 23 Aug. 2019 Choreographer and former Disney Studios vice president/show director of special events Barnette Ricci, and Wing Chao, who for decades designed and developed projects for Disney parks and resorts worldwide, round out the honorees. Lauren Huff, EW.com, "Watch live as Robert Downey Jr., Christina Aguilera, and more honored as Disney Legends," 23 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Wine Train looks outdated by design: Its Pullman cars are about a century old and have been maintained to reflect their antique status. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Review: The Napa Valley Wine Train is tacky. It’s also a lot of fun.," 5 Sep. 2019 By design and by unanimous vote, The Dolphins set up as the worst team in football. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde5: NFL Powerless Rankings show Dolphins’ competition for No. 1 draft pick," 4 Sep. 2019 Many are by design, but some are simply nature’s whims. Amelia Nierenberg, New York Times, "A Tomato Grows in the East River," 4 Sep. 2019 Is there something to be said about throwing sensibility to the wind, given that an NFL roster is—by design—too difficult to align and operate efficiently for a long time anyway? Conor Orr, SI.com, "Is a Plan in the NFL Even Worth It?," 3 Sep. 2019 In the Senate that is by design, but in the House it is promoted by routine gerrymandering and voter-suppression. The Economist, "The corrupting of democracy," 29 Aug. 2019 Lover runs long, and despite a strong front half the album sags a bit in the midsection by design — a shame, since a sense of experimentation ebbs and flows throughout. Larry Fitzmaurice, EW.com, "Lover is pure Taylor Swift, at her most content and confident," 23 Aug. 2019 That secrecy is entirely by design, CNET reports today, as Ring has a list of features its police partners are explicitly not supposed to share with the public. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Ring asks police not to tell public how its law enforcement backend works," 21 Aug. 2019 Beyond that, the game looks and plays smoothly, and there was never anything truly disorienting about the experience that wasn’t clearly intended by design. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Westworld Awakening is a VR game that puts you in the shoes of a newly self-aware android," 19 Aug. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of design

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Noun

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for design

Verb and Noun

Middle English, to outline, indicate, mean, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French designer to designate, from Medieval Latin designare, from Latin, to mark out, from de- + signare to mark — more at sign

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about design

Statistics for design

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for design

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for design

design

verb

English Language Learners Definition of design

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to plan and make decisions about (something that is being built or created) : to create the plans, drawings, etc., that show how (something) will be made
: to plan and make (something) for a specific use or purpose
: to think of (something, such as a plan) : to plan (something) in your mind

design

noun

English Language Learners Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

: the way something has been made : the way the parts of something (such as a building, machine, book, etc.) are formed and arranged for a particular use, effect, etc.
: the process of planning how something will look, happen, be made, etc. : the process of designing something
: a drawing of something that is being planned or created

design

verb
de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn How to pronounce design (audio) \
designed; designing

Kids Definition of design

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to think up and plan out in the mind Our engineers have designed a new engine.
2 : to set apart for or have as a special purpose : intend The Web site is designed for fun.
3 : to make a pattern or sketch of She designs clothes.

design

noun

Kids Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an arrangement of parts in a structure or a work of art The design of the house suits a large family.
2 : the art or process of planning and creating something His job is Web page design.
3 : a sketch, model, or plan of something made or to be made Architects studied the design for the building.
4 : a decorative pattern
6 : a planned intention As if by design, they both stopped at the same spot …— Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee
7 : a secret purpose : plot I know you have designs on my money.

design

noun
de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn How to pronounce design (audio) \

Medical Definition of design

: a plan or protocol for carrying out or accomplishing something (especially a scientific experiment) also : the process of preparing this

Other Words from design

design transitive verb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on design

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with design

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for design

Spanish Central: Translation of design

Nglish: Translation of design for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of design for Arabic Speakers

Comments on design

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

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!