Definition of demarcation in English:



mass noun
  • 1The action of fixing the boundary or limits of something.

    ‘the demarcation of the maritime border’
    • ‘Along the police demarcation line at 14th Street, people did their best to get closer to the scene.’
    • ‘The factors responsible for encroachment such as lack of political will, victimisation of forest officials, poor boundary demarcation and alienation of regularised land should be addressed.’
    • ‘The line of demarcation was the colonial border between the British Solomons and German New Guinea that later became an Australian protectorate after World War I.’
    • ‘Technical experts on the delimitation and demarcation of the maritime boundary between Namibia and Angola finalised the treaty last year.’
    • ‘The mountain of trash seemed to stretch very far, then gradually without perceptible demarcation or boundary it became something else.’
    • ‘In addition, the recent demarcation of municipal boundaries represents an attempt to break up racially segregated lands that are vestiges of apartheid's Group Areas Act.’
    • ‘The demarcation of national boundaries, in cultural terms, will be engulfed by the general fluidity of exchange between nations.’
    • ‘The boundary line of demarcation between the groups was 19 millimeters, or 3/4 inch, with very little overlap.’
    • ‘At best, it shows lack of proper planning on the part of those responsible for managing municipal boundary demarcation.’
    • ‘This clear demarcation of boundaries seems to be one of the evolving characteristics of cooperation.’
    • ‘In future, people will not consider the river any sort of demarcation line, which, in some people's minds, it still is.’
    • ‘Occasional outbursts of violence along the demarcation line occur.’
    • ‘The most obvious geomorphological boundary on the Earth's surface is the shoreline, a line of demarcation that divides land from water, be it of the sea, of a lake, or a lagoon.’
    • ‘Municipalities were emerging from a prolonged period of uncertainty resulting from the boundary demarcation changes implemented last year.’
    • ‘Dissatisfaction over demarcation of boundaries which resulted in some schools being far from district offices.’
    • ‘A project has begun which might re-define the original demarcation line between New South Wales and Queensland.’
    • ‘The agreement, which halted hostilities along the demarcation line between two Koreas until a peaceful settlement is achieved, bans naval blockades by the warring parties.’
    • ‘The Colonial treaties which are the basis of the Algiers Agreement and which should have been the key basis for the delimitation and demarcation of the boundary leave Badme inside Ethiopia.’
    • ‘During the summer of 1942, Tito's force of 4,000-5,000 fighters moved westwards along a route that followed the German - Italian demarcation line.’
    separation, distinction, differentiation, division
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A dividing line.
      ‘a horizontal band that produces a distinct demarcation two inches from the top’
      figurative ‘the demarcation between teachers and learners’
      • ‘I intend my typology to serve as an intellectual tool for purposes of discussion, not to indicate absolute demarcations or a rigid classification.’
      • ‘Their demarcations have been blurred by our limited perception and our limited knowledge.’
      • ‘In terms of traditional demarcations of skilled and unskilled work, manual employment can be said to have been deskilled, as production jobs have given way to personal service employment.’
      • ‘But look a little harder and a pattern emerges, or rather, a line of demarcation.’
      • ‘Various temporal demarcations appear under the form of closing periods and are crystallized in balance sheets and income statements.’
      • ‘Locating more accurate demarcations between these domains can help both political spectator and participant alike to understand the subtle and routine ethical challenges of politics.’
      • ‘A fresh sense of moral inquisitiveness has seized the genre, and the era of the neatly solved whodunnit, with its strict demarcations between good and evil, is apparently at an end.’
      • ‘The line of demarcation is so thin that they merge seamlessly.’
      • ‘He calls instead, in effect, for a return to traditional governance, with its checks and balances and its clear demarcations between officials and politicians.’
      • ‘Differences of age, gender, class, and ethnicity were not eliminated but remained as demarcations of identity and status.’
      • ‘There has been friction between some obstetricians and midwives for similar reasons - the blurring of demarcation lines.’
      • ‘Uniquely, all facilities are shared by staff and trainees so that no artificial lines of demarcation exist within the unit.’
      • ‘Thus, while the perceptual line of distinction remains the same for these commentators, the conceptual demarcations made verbally differ in significant ways.’
      • ‘Yet it always makes me wonder what criteria they use for drawing the line of moral demarcation.’
      • ‘An aspect of that is the way she observes a line of demarcation between her private life and her public life.’
      • ‘But when you look at those organisms with genetics, what you can see is that there are in fact sharp demarcations between populations from one place to the next.’
      boundary, border, borderline, frontier, bound, limit
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2British The practice of requiring that specific jobs be assigned to members of particular trade unions.
      ‘strikes over job demarcation’
      • ‘It's no longer acceptable that demarcations and disputes can stand in the way of improvements for patients.’
      • ‘The dispute that aroused the greatest passion, however, was over union demarcation and members.’
      • ‘Reforming consultants' contracts so that they give the state value for money and breaking down the rigid professional demarcations that create inefficiencies in wards and clinics is a difficult business.’
      • ‘Management were concerned with the ‘complete flexibility and mobility’ of labour through a reduction in job demarcation.’
      • ‘As I said on Saturday, shift patterns, responsibilities, work duties and demarcations were frozen in time.’


Early 18th century: from Spanish demarcación, from demarcar ‘mark the bounds of’, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to mark. Originally used in the phrase line of demarcation ( Spanish línea de demarcación, Portuguese linha de demarcação), the word denoted a line dividing the New World between the Spanish and Portuguese, laid down by the Pope in 1493.