- to tell or depict in written or spoken words; give an account of: He described the accident very carefully.
- to pronounce, as by a designating term, phrase, or the like; label: There are few people who may be described as geniuses.
- to indicate; be a sign of; denote: Conceit, in many cases, describes a state of serious emotional insecurity.
- to represent or delineate by a picture or figure.
- Geometry. to draw or trace the outline of: to describe an arc.
Origin of describe
1400–50; late Middle English describen < Latin dēscrībere, equivalent to dē- de- + scrībere to write
Synonyms 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- to give an account or representation of in words
- to pronounce or labelhe has been described as a genius
- to draw a line or figure, such as a circle
Word Origin for describe
C15: from Latin dēscrībere to copy off, write out, delineate, from de- + scrībere to write
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
early 13c., descriven, from Old French descrivre, descrire (13c.), from Latin describere "to write down, copy; sketch, represent" (see description). Reconstructed with Latin spelling 16c. Related: Describable; described, describes, describing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper