Synonyms & Antonyms of design

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 a method worked out in advance for achieving some objective
  • she always achieves her objective by design rather than by luck

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2 a secret plan for accomplishing evil or unlawful ends
  • the thief had devised an elaborate design to get the invaluable artwork

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3 something that one hopes or intends to accomplish
  • my design in writing to you is to ask for your support

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4 a unit of decoration that is repeated all over something (as a fabric)
  • the curtains have a lovely floral design

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5 the way in which the elements of something (as a work of art) are arranged
  • the design of the building's lobby encourages the free flow of traffic

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Synonyms of design (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to have in mind as a purpose or goal
  • early on she had designed to a top position in a major insurance company

Synonyms for design

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Phrases Synonymous with design

2 to work out the details of (something) in advance
  • the foreman designed a better layout for the factory floor to improve efficiency

Synonyms for design

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Frequently Asked Questions About design

How does the noun design contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of design are plan, plot, project, and scheme. While all these words mean "a method devised for making or doing something or achieving an end," design often suggests a particular pattern and some degree of achieved order or harmony.

a design for a new dress

When can plan be used instead of design?

The words plan and design are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, plan always implies mental formulation and sometimes graphic representation.

plans for a house

When would plot be a good substitute for design?

The synonyms plot and design are sometimes interchangeable, but plot implies a laying out in clearly distinguished sections with attention to their relations and proportions.

the plot of the play

When is project a more appropriate choice than design?

The words project and design can be used in similar contexts, but project often stresses imaginative scope and vision.

a project to develop the waterfront

Where would scheme be a reasonable alternative to design?

Although the words scheme and design have much in common, 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

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Time Traveler for design

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Design.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of design for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of design for Arabic Speakers


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