[ dih-skrahyb ]
See synonyms for: describedescribeddescribesdescribing on

verb (used with object),de·scribed, de·scrib·ing.
  1. to tell or depict in written or spoken words; give an account of: He described the accident very carefully.

  2. to pronounce, as by a designating term, phrase, or the like; label: There are few people who may be described as geniuses.

  1. to indicate; be a sign of; denote: Conceit, in many cases, describes a state of serious emotional insecurity.

  2. to represent or delineate by a picture or figure.

  3. Geometry. to draw or trace the outline of: to describe an arc.

Origin of describe

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English describen, from Latin dēscrībere, equivalent to dē- de- + scrībere “to write”

synonym study For describe

1. Describe, narrate agree in the idea of giving an account of something. To describe is to convey in words the appearance, nature, attributes, etc., of something. The word often implies vividness of personal observation: to describe a scene, an event. To narrate is to recount the occurrence of something, usually by giving the details of an event or events in the order of their happening. Narrate thus applies only to that which happens over time: to narrate an incident.

Other words for describe

Other words from describe

  • de·scrib·a·ble, adjective
  • de·scrib·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • de·scrib·a·bly, adverb
  • de·scrib·er, noun
  • non·de·scrib·a·ble, adjective
  • o·ver·de·scribe, verb (used with object), o·ver·de·scribed, o·ver·de·scrib·ing.
  • pre·de·scribe, verb (used with object), pre·de·scribed, pre·de·scrib·ing.
  • re·de·scribe, verb (used with object), re·de·scribed, re·de·scrib·ing.
  • self-de·scribed, adjective
  • un·de·scrib·a·ble, adjective
  • un·de·scrib·a·ble·ness, noun
  • un·de·scrib·a·bly, adverb
  • un·de·scribed, adjective
  • well-de·scribed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use describe in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for describe


/ (dɪˈskraɪb) /

  1. to give an account or representation of in words

  2. to pronounce or label: he has been described as a genius

  1. to draw a line or figure, such as a circle

Origin of describe

C15: from Latin dēscrībere to copy off, write out, delineate, from de- + scrībere to write

Derived forms of describe

  • describable, adjective
  • describer, noun

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