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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 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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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'.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012


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
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. relate, tell, report, present, detail, explain, express, illustrate, set out, specify, chronicle, recount, recite, impart, narrate, set forth, give an account of, put in words We asked her to describe what she had seen.
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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. To give a verbal account of:
2. To present a lifelike image of:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[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.
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= 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
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[dɪsˈkraɪb] vtdescrivere
describe him for us → descrivicelo
she describes herself as a teacher → dice di essere insegnante
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


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
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


vt. describir, narrar.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


vt describir
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
His dramatic power, also, at its best, is superb; in his great scenes and crises he is masterly as narrator and describer. In the presentation of the characters there is often much of the same superficiality as in the poems, but there is much also of the highest skill.
Audio describers work in a soundproof box, where they perform the script live.
The current fake is a second generation, which Wellcome describers as a true hologram, although it is not as bright as the genuine hologram.
``Disabled people who deal with service providers also encounter communication barriers through a lack of sign language interpreters, hearing loops, minicoms and audio describers.''
The first two describe, and are called Epithets (or Describers) in functional grammar.
The social range extends, therefore, from those who formed and implemented high power politics to compilers of travel accounts and describers of urban life, both the static appearance of cities and the violent upheavals of civic strife.
Structured Abstract: Introduction: The study presented here evaluated the usability of the audio description software LiveDescribe and explored the acceptance rates of audio description created by amateur describers who used LiveDescribe to facilitate the creation of their descriptions.
Noun groups can be expanded in a number of ways by adding determiners, quantifiers, describers (subjective and objective), intensifiers, classifiers and qualifiers.
City museums have also become involved to offer a series of tours supported with either sign language, or one of only four trained audio describers in the north west.
For creating word banks: Numerous written, spoken and visual texts can be utilised to create 'banks' of words such as time connectives, conjunctions and describers. These can then be used in reading activities related to the text type being studied, becoming part of an 'active' wall space, where children can make sentences and form descriptions.
We believe that audio description is a creative process, and from working firsthand on live audio description projects we learned how cognitively demanding live description is on a describer. We recognize that audio describers are generally volunteers and have a genuine interest in making the theater accessible to individuals with visual impairments.
But there has to be common ground where the creators and describers of ideas, meet those to whom they wish to convey their message.