Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


tr.v. de·scribed, de·scrib·ing, de·scribes
1. To give an account of in speech or writing: describe a sea voyage.
2. To convey an idea or impression of; characterize: She described her childhood as a time of wonder and discovery.
3. To represent pictorially; depict: Goya's etchings describe the horrors of war in grotesque detail.
4. To trace the form or outline of: describe a circle with a compass.

[Middle English describen, from Latin dēscrībere, to write down : dē-, de- + scrībere, to write; see skrībh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

de·scrib′a·ble adj.
de·scrib′er n.
Synonyms: describe, narrate, recite, recount, relate, report
These verbs mean to tell the facts, details, or particulars of something in speech or in writing: described the accident; narrated their travel experiences; an explorer reciting her adventures; a mercenary recounting his exploits; related the day's events; reported what she had seen.


vb (tr)
1. to give an account or representation of in words
2. to pronounce or label: he has been described as a genius.
3. to draw a line or figure, such as a circle
[C15: from Latin dēscrībere to copy off, write out, delineate, from de- + scrībere to write]
deˈscribable adj
deˈscriber n



v.t. -scribed, -scrib•ing.
1. to tell or depict in words; give an account of: to describe an accident in detail.
2. to pronounce, as by a designating term or phrase: to describe someone as a tyrant.
3. to represent or delineate by a picture.
4. to draw or trace the outline of: to describe an arc.
[1400–50; < Latin dēscrībere=dē- de- + scrībere to write]
de•scrib′a•ble, adj.
de•scrib′er, n.


The verb describe can be used either with a direct object or with a wh-clause.

1. used with a direct object

When you describe someone or something, you say what they are like.

Can you describe your son?

You can use describe with a direct object and an indirect object. The direct object goes first.

He described the murderer in detail to the police officer.
She described the feeling to me.
2. used with a wh-clause

Describe can be used in front of various kinds of wh-clause.

The man described what he had seen.
He described how he escaped from prison.

You can use describe with an indirect object and a wh-clause. The indirect object goes first.

I can't describe to you what it was like.
I described to him what had happened in Patricia's house.

Be Careful!
When you use describe with an indirect object, you must put to in front of the indirect object. Don't say, for example, 'She described me the feeling' or 'I can't describe you what it was like'.


Past participle: described
Gerund: describing

I describe
you describe
he/she/it describes
we describe
you describe
they describe
I described
you described
he/she/it described
we described
you described
they described
Present Continuous
I am describing
you are describing
he/she/it is describing
we are describing
you are describing
they are describing
Present Perfect
I have described
you have described
he/she/it has described
we have described
you have described
they have described
Past Continuous
I was describing
you were describing
he/she/it was describing
we were describing
you were describing
they were describing
Past Perfect
I had described
you had described
he/she/it had described
we had described
you had described
they had described
I will describe
you will describe
he/she/it will describe
we will describe
you will describe
they will describe
Future Perfect
I will have described
you will have described
he/she/it will have described
we will have described
you will have described
they will have described
Future Continuous
I will be describing
you will be describing
he/she/it will be describing
we will be describing
you will be describing
they will be describing
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been describing
you have been describing
he/she/it has been describing
we have been describing
you have been describing
they have been describing
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been describing
you will have been describing
he/she/it will have been describing
we will have been describing
you will have been describing
they will have been describing
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been describing
you had been describing
he/she/it had been describing
we had been describing
you had been describing
they had been describing
I would describe
you would describe
he/she/it would describe
we would describe
you would describe
they would describe
Past Conditional
I would have described
you would have described
he/she/it would have described
we would have described
you would have described
they would have described
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Verb1.describe - give a description of; "He drew an elaborate plan of attack"
represent - describe or present, usually with respect to a particular quality; "He represented this book as an example of the Russian 19th century novel"
delineate - describe in vivid detail
exposit, set forth, expound - state; "set forth one's reasons"
adumbrate, outline, sketch - describe roughly or briefly or give the main points or summary of; "sketch the outline of the book"; "outline his ideas"
2.describe - to give an account or representation of in wordsdescribe - to give an account or representation of in words; "Discreet Italian police described it in a manner typically continental"
inform - impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to; "I informed him of his rights"
3.describe - make a mark or lines on a surfacedescribe - make a mark or lines on a surface; "draw a line"; "trace the outline of a figure in the sand"
mark - make or leave a mark on; "the scouts marked the trail"; "ash marked the believers' foreheads"
construct - draw with suitable instruments and under specified conditions; "construct an equilateral triangle"
inscribe - draw within a figure so as to touch in as many places as possible
circumscribe - draw a line around; "He drew a circle around the points"
circumscribe - to draw a geometric figure around another figure so that the two are in contact but do not intersect
draw - engage in drawing; "He spent the day drawing in the garden"
draw - represent by making a drawing of, as with a pencil, chalk, etc. on a surface; "She drew an elephant"; "Draw me a horse"
write - mark or trace on a surface; "The artist wrote Chinese characters on a big piece of white paper"; "Russian is written with the Cyrillic alphabet"
4.describe - identify as in botany or biology, for example


2. portray, depict, characterize, call, paint, brand, define, dub, sketch Even his allies describe him as forceful, aggressive and determined.
3. trace, draw, outline, sketch, mark out, delineate The ball described a perfect arc across the field.


1. To give a verbal account of:
2. To present a lifelike image of:
يَصِفيَصِفُيُعَرِّفُ نَفْسَه إنَّه
popsatvydávat secharakterizovat
lÿsasegjast vera; lÿsa sjálfum sér sem
mô tả


[dɪsˈkraɪb] VT
1. [+ scene, person] → describir
describe him for usdescríbenoslo
the feeling is impossible to describela sensación es indescriptible
she describes herself as an executivese define como una ejecutiva
I wouldn't describe her as a feministno la calificaría de or describiría como feminista
2. (Geom) [+ circle] → describir


[dɪˈskraɪb] vtdécrire
to describe how ... → décrire comment ..., décrire de quelle manière ...
to describe what ... → décrire ce que ...
to describe sth to sb → décrire qch à qn
to describe sb to sb → décrire qn à qn
to describe sth as → qualifier qch de
She described the meeting as very productive → Elle a qualifié la réunion de très productive.
to describe sb as → décrire qn comme
to be described as → être décrit(e) comme
to describe o.s. as sth → se qualifier de qch
They describe themselves as liberals → Ils se qualifient de libéraux.


(= give description of)beschreiben, schildern; describe him for usbeschreiben Sie ihn uns (dat); which cannot be describedwas unbeschreiblich ist; to describe oneself/somebody as …sich/jdn als … bezeichnen; he describes himself as an intellectualer bezeichnet sich als Intellektueller; the police describe him as dangerous/a terroristdie Polizei bezeichnet ihn als gefährlich/(einen) Terroristen; he is described as being tall with short fair hairer wird als groß mit kurzen blonden Haaren beschrieben
(Math) → beschreiben


[dɪsˈkraɪb] vtdescrivere
describe him for us → descrivicelo
she describes herself as a teacher → dice di essere insegnante


(diˈskraib) verb
1. to give an account of in words; to tell in words what something or someone is like. He described what had happened; Would you describe her as beautiful?
2. to say that one is something. He describes himself as a salesman.
deˈscription (-ˈskrip-) noun
1. (an) act of describing. I recognized him from your description.
2. an account of anything in words. He gave a description of his holiday.
3. a sort or kind. He carried a gun of some description.

to describe (not describe about) a scene.


يَصِفُ popsat beskrive beschreiben περιγράφω describir kuvailla décrire opisati descrivere 記述する 묘사하다 beschrijven beskrive opisać descrever описывать beskriva อธิบาย betimlemek mô tả 描述


vt. describir, narrar.


vt describir
References in classic literature ?
I love dearly to hear people describe their travels.
Some one of the grotesques had made a deep impression on his mind and he wanted to describe it.
There are no words to describe her save the old ones that have served so often to picture the bygone heroine of romance and the fair lady of our dreams.
We shall not attempt to describe the gratitude to the Almighty Disposer of Events which glowed in the bosoms of the sisters, who were thus unexpectedly restored to life and to each other.
The reader may guess what sorrow filled the hearts of the inhabitants, exceeding any thing that I am able to describe.
The somewhat dim coal fire has an essential Influence in producing the effect which I would describe.
How can I describe that except by saying that instead of growing used to them--and it's a marvel for a governess: I call the sisterhood to witness
And yet I also felt a strange awe of him; but that sort of awe, which I cannot at all describe, was not exactly awe; I do not know what it was.
There is another substance, and a very singular one, which turns up in the course of this business, but which I feel it to be very puzzling adequately to describe.
Every one may not know what breaking in is, therefore I will describe it.
The musicians--how shall one begin to describe them?
It is impossible to describe the scene, as, with tears and sobs, they gathered round the little creature, and took from her hands what seemed to them a last mark of her love.