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[verb dez-ig-neyt; adjective dez-ig-nit, -neyt] /verb ˈdɛz ɪgˌneɪt; adjective ˈdɛz ɪg nɪt, -ˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), designated, designating.
to mark or point out; indicate; show; specify.
to denote; indicate; signify.
to name; entitle; style.
to nominate or select for a duty, office, purpose, etc.; appoint; assign.
named or selected for an office, position, etc., but not yet installed (often used in combination following the noun it modifies):
Origin of designate
1640-50; < Latin dēsignātus, past participle of dēsignāre. See design, -ate1
Related forms
designative, designatory
[dez-ig-nuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, dez-ig-ney-tuh-ree] /ˈdɛz ɪg nəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, ˌdɛz ɪgˈneɪ tə ri/ (Show IPA),
designator, noun
dedesignate, verb (used with object), dedesignated, dedesignating.
nondesignate, adjective
nondesignative, adjective
redesignate, verb (used with object), redesignated, redesignating.
undesignated, adjective
undesignative, adjective
well-designated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for designate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As to its ulterior evolution, I may designate two forms which the system has been invited to assume.

  • The age in which Gay wrote was eminently what we now designate as conservative.

  • Every word employed to designate things, or name them, is to be ranked in the class called nouns, or names.

    Lectures on Language William S. Balch
  • They take the orders, designate raw materials, equipment, manpower.

    The Success Machine Henry Slesar
  • Will it be believed that the General used it to designate the family of this virtuous country gentleman?

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for designate


verb (transitive) (ˈdɛzɪɡˌneɪt)
to indicate or specify
to give a name to; style; entitle
to select or name for an office or duty; appoint
adjective (ˈdɛzɪɡnɪt; -ˌneɪt)
(immediately postpositive) appointed, but not yet in office: a minister designate
Derived Forms
designative, designatory (ˌdɛzɪɡˈneɪtrɪ) adjective
designator, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dēsignātus marked out, defined; see design
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 designate

1640s, from Latin designatus, past participle of designare (see design (v.)).


As a verb, from 1791, from designate (adj.) or else a back-formation from designation. Related: Designated; designating.


As a verb, from 1791, from designate (adj.) or else a back-formation from designation. Related: Designated; designating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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