verb (used with object), de·lin·e·at·ed, de·lin·e·at·ing.

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 formsde·lin·e·a·ble [dih-lin-ee-uh-buh l] /dɪˈlɪn i ə bəl/, adjectivepre·de·lin·e·ate, verb (used with object), pre·de·lin·e·at·ed, pre·de·lin·e·at·ing.un·de·lin·e·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·lin·e·at·ed, adjectivewell-de·lin·e·at·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for delineate

Contemporary Examples of delineate

Historical Examples of delineate

  • I dare not attempt to delineate the paroxysm of emotion which it excited in every heart.

    Patrick Henry

    Moses Coit Tyler

  • Again his pencil moved, and I knew he was attempting to delineate her features.

    Ernest Linwood

    Caroline Lee Hentz

  • He will be able to delineate the characters, consciences, and conduct of his neighbours.

  • I have endeavoured to delineate his character so that it will be as an open book.

    The Girl on the Boat

    Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

  • We are not, but his ability we are in duty bound to delineate truthfully.

    Hidden Treasures

    Harry A. Lewis

British Dictionary definitions for delineate


verb (tr)

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 Formsdelineable, adjectivedelineation, noundelineative, adjective

Word Origin for delineate

C16: from Latin dēlīneāre to sketch out, from līnea line 1
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

Word Origin and History for delineate

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