[ verb dez-ig-neyt; adjective dez-ig-nit, -neyt ]
See synonyms for: designatedesignateddesignatesdesignating on

verb (used with object),des·ig·nat·ed, des·ig·nat·ing.
  1. to mark or point out; indicate; show; specify.

  2. to denote; indicate; signify.

  1. to name; entitle; style.

  2. to nominate or select for a duty, office, purpose, etc.; appoint; assign.

  1. named or selected for an office, position, etc., but not yet installed (often used in combination following the noun it modifies): ambassador-designate.

Origin of designate

1640–50; <Latin dēsignātus, past participle of dēsignāre.See design, -ate1

Other words from designate

  • des·ig·na·tive, des·ig·na·to·ry [dez-ig-nuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, dez-ig-ney-tuh-ree], /ˈdɛz ɪg nəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, ˌdɛz ɪgˈneɪ tə ri/, adjective
  • des·ig·na·tor, noun
  • de·des·ig·nate, verb (used with object), de·des·ig·nat·ed, de·des·ig·nat·ing.
  • non·des·ig·nate, adjective
  • non·des·ig·na·tive, adjective
  • re·des·ig·nate, verb (used with object), re·des·ig·nat·ed, re·des·ig·nat·ing.
  • un·des·ig·nat·ed, adjective
  • un·des·ig·na·tive, adjective
  • well-des·ig·nat·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use designate in a sentence

  • An attendant in a gaily-colored holiday tunic, (designator) corresponds with our box-opener or usher.

  • The order of the procession was arranged by the designator, master of ceremonies, and it closely resembled a triumphal procession.

    The Historical Child | Oscar Chrisman
  • At funerals, his office corresponded with that of the Roman dominus funeris or designator, referred to by Horace, Ep.

    Dealings with the Dead, Volume I (of 2) | A Sexton of the Old School
  • Such was the usage in Rome, where the director was styled dominus funeris or designator.

    Dealings with the Dead, Volume I (of 2) | A Sexton of the Old School

British Dictionary definitions for designate


verb(ˈdɛzɪɡˌneɪt) (tr)
  1. to indicate or specify

  2. to give a name to; style; entitle

  1. to select or name for an office or duty; appoint

adjective(ˈdɛzɪɡnɪt, -ˌneɪt)
  1. (immediately postpositive) appointed, but not yet in office: a minister designate

Origin of designate

C15: from Latin dēsignātus marked out, defined; see design

Derived forms of designate

  • designative or designatory (ˌdɛzɪɡˈneɪtrɪ), adjective
  • designator, 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