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[dih-lin-ee-eyt] /dɪˈlɪn iˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), delineated, delineating.
to trace the outline of; sketch or trace in outline; represent pictorially:
He delineated the state of Texas on the map with a red pencil.
to portray in words; describe or outline with precision:
In her speech she delineated the city plan with great care.
Origin of delineate
1550-60; < Latin dēlīneātus, equivalent to dē- de- + līneātus lineate
Related forms
[dih-lin-ee-uh-buh l] /dɪˈlɪn i ə bəl/ (Show IPA),
predelineate, verb (used with object), predelineated, predelineating.
undelineable, adjective
undelineated, adjective
well-delineated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for delineating
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here, as nowhere else, has Prescott succeeded in delineating character.

    William Hickling Prescott Harry Thurston Peck
  • There was a particular dog in Washington which he was never tired of delineating.

    Yesterdays with Authors James T. Fields
  • For the present we will go on with delineating our exit pallet.

  • Out of Cruikshank's caricature he comes to us with a tail capable of delineating a whole alphabet of humour.

    George Cruikshank W. H. Chesson
  • He was dexterous in delineating character, was rapid in execution, had a respectable appreciation of colour.

    Art in England

    Dutton Cook
  • Shpajinsky quite understands my requirements, and will carry out my intentions in delineating the principal characters.

  • This affords opportunity for delineating many interesting Indian customs on festive celebrations, such as weddings and feast-days.

    Last of the Great Scouts Helen Cody Wetmore
  • Several show the author's subtle skill in dialect-writing, and all reveal the hand of a master in delineating character.


    Henry Seward Hubbard
British Dictionary definitions for delineating


verb (transitive)
to trace the shape or outline of; sketch
to represent pictorially, as by making a chart or diagram; depict
to portray in words, esp with detail and precision; describe
Derived Forms
delineable, adjective
delineation, noun
delineative, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dēlīneāre to sketch out, from līnealine1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for delineating



1550s, from Latin delineatus, past participle of delineare "to sketch out," from de- "completely" (see de-) + lineare "draw lines," from linea "line" (see line (n.)). Related: Delineated; delineating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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