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See more synonyms for describe on Thesaurus.com
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.
  3. to indicate; be a sign of; denote: Conceit, in many cases, describes a state of serious emotional insecurity.
  4. to represent or delineate by a picture or figure.
  5. Geometry. to draw or trace the outline of: to describe an arc.
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Origin of describe

1400–50; late Middle English describen < Latin dēscrībere, equivalent to dē- de- + scrībere to write
Related formsde·scrib·a·ble, adjectivede·scrib·a·bil·i·ty, nounde·scrib·a·bly, adverbde·scrib·er, nounnon·de·scrib·a·ble, adjectiveo·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, adjectiveun·de·scrib·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·scrib·a·ble·ness, nounun·de·scrib·a·bly, adverbun·de·scribed, adjectivewell-de·scribed, adjective


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Synonym study

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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for undescribable

Historical Examples

  • That is why Plato193 says of (Unity) that it is unspeakable and undescribable.

    Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 1

    Plotinos (Plotinus)

  • The sins of this system are enormous and undescribable; but, thank God!

    Cottage Economy

    William Cobbett

  • On such a night, Grace, there is undescribable peace, and yet these influences pass away and regrets press upon one.

    Mrs. Dorriman, Volume 3 of 3

    Julie Bosville Chetwynd

  • Every night will be for it a winter, a winter of undescribable frost, which it could only endure in the form of spores.

  • But now quiet, save for an undescribable, whispering overtone that seemed to permeate the air.

    The Whispering Spheres

    Russell Robert Winterbotham

British Dictionary definitions for undescribable


verb (tr)
  1. to give an account or representation of in words
  2. to pronounce or labelhe has been described as a genius
  3. to draw a line or figure, such as a circle
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Derived Formsdescribable, adjectivedescriber, noun

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for undescribable



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper