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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 designates
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There must be the sentence of death written upon that which Scripture designates as "the old man."

    The Assembly of God C. (Charles) H. (Henry) Mackintosh
  • Sometimes it designates our sensations; at another, the exciting cause of our sensations.

    The Mind and the Brain Alfred Binet
  • The indefinite article a (or an) designates an object as merely one of a general class or kind.

  • He designates the Igigi as belonging to heaven, the Anunnaki as belonging to the earth.

  • The mystic wisdom of Philo designates as seals the eternal cosmic thoughts which come to expression in things.

  • Why may not this man be the same whom Diodorus designates satrap of Cappadocia?

  • All are doctors or designates or holders of some decoration.

    De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) Trans. by Francis Augustus MacNutt
  • And you whom he designates, I command you, in the name of the King, to surrender peaceably.

    Prisoners of Hope Mary Johnston
  • Herbert Spencer designates "the control exercised by public sentiment over conduct at large" as "irresistible."

    Unfettered Sutton E. Griggs
British Dictionary definitions for designates


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 designates



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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