Definition of delineate in English:



[with object]
  • 1Describe or portray (something) precisely.

    ‘the law should delineate and prohibit behaviour which is socially abhorrent’
    • ‘The term is perfect for delineating the process of the video medium and for describing history in relation to the body.’
    • ‘I was of the opinion that it was wise to delineate clearly the boundary of responsibility in this aspect.’
    • ‘This framework and a job description delineate the nurse's realm and boundaries.’
    • ‘He describes the sociological evidence delineating the impact of fatherlessness upon children.’
    • ‘Its efficacy, safety, and indications have yet to be delineated.’
    • ‘A good student will show the examiner an overall knowledge of the area and be able to put the law in perspective when delineating the options available to the disgruntled buyer.’
    • ‘In-depth interviews of women with subclinical eating disorders delineate these characteristic behaviors.’
    • ‘While this does not change the basic modular structure of networks, it makes it more difficult to delineate the exact boundaries of these characters.’
    • ‘This is not intended to be an exhaustive list; building secure software requires much more than what we delineate here.’
    • ‘With both testimony and judgment, however, we are still in the carefully delineated domain of law.’
    • ‘The dividing lines among the ethnic groups are still clearly delineated.’
    • ‘More importantly, the date marks the actual moment of transition; it delineates the boundary between life and death, between temporal and eternal.’
    • ‘First, labor law must more clearly delineate such threats as illegal, and impose big enough penalties to deter employers from making them.’
    • ‘Before that period there were no Jews in Britain for about three hundred years; and earlier, their legal position had been very clearly delineated.’
    • ‘Over the course of the century, the city obviously evolved in various directions, and the exhibition delineates particular angles and themes that preoccupied succeeding eras.’
    • ‘The genetic model delineated in the previous section can serve as the basis to explore the population genetics of dominance evolution.’
    • ‘This section delineates organizational and operational responsibilities of the public health sector that are essential to achieve the goals of TB control in the United States.’
    • ‘It is precisely this awareness that delineates a separation between spectator and performer as insider/outsider.’
    • ‘Further studies are needed to identify these factors and to delineate their precise mechanism of action.’
    • ‘The Hindu religious texts describe varna ashrama dharma, the religious/social law delineating duties of four castes.’
    describe, set forth, set out, present, outline, depict, portray, represent, characterize
    View synonyms
  • 2Indicate the exact position of (a border or boundary)

    ‘his finger found a precisely outlined section delineated in red marker’
    • ‘It's always been a volatile border, and not terribly well delineated, because the tide comes up and down, and the actual border changes when that happens.’
    • ‘Facial features are indicated three-dimensionally but are not delineated in color.’
    • ‘Tunnel margins were best delineated on the radiographic view, and this view was used for all tunnel measurements.’
    • ‘The outlines were so vague, not delineated clearly at all.’
    • ‘The blue outline delineates the border of the Greenland ice sheet.’
    • ‘Exposed skin sites that exhibit erythema can be clearly delineated from unexposed skin by sharp boundaries.’
    • ‘This could be a fault that delineates the present-day eastern boundary of the West Siberian Basin.’
    • ‘I have discovered that on these, the boundaries of hereditaments were often carelessly delineated and only outlined with coloured crayon.’
    • ‘He also changed the position of the lines used to delineate the alleged ‘paleosol’.’
    • ‘The designated ice field may need to be delineated in advance with a skin marker pen, because freezing may blur pretreatment lesion margins.’
    • ‘Across southern and western England are several linear dyke systems of the later first millennium AD, which delineate or defend territorial boundaries.’
    • ‘The southern boundary's exact location is not clearly delineated.’
    • ‘The boundary of the Great Plains, as delineated by Macneal, was used to determine the soil composition of the historic grassland.’
    • ‘A stone wall forms the boundary to one side while a new fence delineates the other, and there are mature trees dotted around.’
    • ‘And over the past few decades it has become ever more difficult to delineate these boundaries.’
    • ‘The beltlines crisply delineate the upper and lower body sections, and combine with the panel curvature to add tension to the surprisingly plain sides.’
    • ‘In the 19th century Africans were conquered, colonized and arranged into appendages of European nation-states, with random boundaries they had no voice in delineating.’
    • ‘The edges were carefully delineated, hedged with bushes and beds of obviously carefully-tended smaller shrubs.’
    • ‘Because the two institutions stand apart, they can decide whether to recognize the legitimacy of the other but they cannot delineate each others boundaries.’
    • ‘At the initial mapping, a 400 m baseline, delineating the deepest edge of the shoal, was established and marked with permanent metal stakes.’
    outline, trace, draw the lines of, draw, sketch, block in, mark, mark off, mark out, delimit, mark the boundaries of, mark the limits of
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘trace the outline of something’): from Latin delineat- ‘outlined’, from the verb delineare, from de- ‘out, completely’ + lineare (from linea ‘line’).