Definition of description in English:



  • 1A spoken or written representation or account of a person, object, or event.

    ‘people who had seen him were able to give a description’
    • ‘"None of the members of staff fit the description given by the girls."’
    • ‘Don't read this book if you want a detailed description of any particular mission to space.’
    • ‘Each chapter is preceded by the author's description of why and how she decided to study volcanoes.’
    • ‘He added that police did not yet have a description of the attacker.’
    • ‘Write a brief description of the type of photographs that appear in each section.’
    • ‘But they honored my decision to keep the man's description vague.’
    • ‘He said the victim was only able to give a brief description of her attacker.’
    • ‘Tabloid newspapers also favour emotive words over objective descriptions of events.’
    • ‘Thereafter the description of events is dependent upon her account only.’
    • ‘With five bedrooms, gymnasium and a Jacuzzi, it is certainly does not fit the description of the average croft.’
    • ‘Brief physical descriptions are, however, supplied where appropriate in the discussion of specific occurrences.’
    • ‘If that plot description sounds a little confusing, have no fear.’
    • ‘Additional information that is of value includes a brief description of the methods used to construct the library.’
    • ‘Detailed descriptions are provided in the project report.’
    • ‘But at times, it is important to intertwine poetic phrases and vivid descriptions.’
    • ‘Detailed job descriptions are provided to encourage teacher participation in the association.’
    • ‘The vivid descriptions in the books helped him greatly.’
    • ‘Cassini wrote a detailed description of precisely how the longitude measurements were to be carried out.’
    • ‘The girls gave officers an apt description of the vehicle and the registration number.’
    • ‘When he began to write about cricket most reporters wrote spare, parched descriptions of the play.’
    account, explanation, elucidation, illustration, representation, interpretation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The action of giving a spoken or written representation or account.
      ‘teaching by demonstration and description’
      • ‘Research into health inequality now aims to move away from description and towards explanation.’
      • ‘Above all, the emphasis was placed firmly on explanation rather than description.’
      • ‘Despite its apparently narrow extent, knowledge by acquaintance is supposed to provide the foundation for knowledge by description.’
      • ‘Everyone exclaims about your great powers of description, how vivid and alive your writing is.’
      • ‘She is a master of exposition and description, with a ready ear for a telling anecdote.’
  • 2A sort, kind, or class of people or things.

    ‘ships of every description’
    • ‘The place has one of the longer bars in York, boasting beers, bottles and spirits of all descriptions.’
    • ‘On the way back, I could see the kite fest was starting to get going and the sky was beginning to fill with kites of all descriptions.’
    • ‘Yet there are parents who seek out professional tutors of all descriptions for children who are barely old enough to hold a book.’
    • ‘The dry goods stores are a heaven to visit, full of chillies of all descriptions and sizes.’
    • ‘There will be a selection of bedding plants, shrubs and plants of every description on sale.’
    • ‘I remember seeing the long line of people waiting with pots and pans of all descriptions.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, we came across storks, ruffs and egrets, and herons of all descriptions.’
    • ‘Go into Klagenfurt, a beautiful town, full of public squares and boutiques of every description.’
    • ‘I've tried countless competitions of all descriptions for years with no success.’
    • ‘On the tube yesterday, travellers of every description could be heard auditing their families.’
    • ‘Our major concerns are pollution of all descriptions, both airborne and noise.’
    • ‘There will be comedy routines, monologues and young people playing music of all descriptions and tastes.’
    • ‘Every available area is taken up by paintings of all descriptions and all styles.’
    • ‘Boats of all descriptions were motoring and sailing by, looking for at least one of the reported 500.’
    • ‘Fresh seafood of all descriptions is available everywhere and at affordable prices.’
    • ‘This rivalry had involved civil wars, peasant uprisings, and religious strife of every description.’
    • ‘The old church building was packed with at least a hundred furs of every description.’
    • ‘My family have had boats of every description on the lake for the past 100 years.’
    • ‘He has received dozens of invitations this week from clubs of all descriptions.’
    • ‘The Web can help you walk, talk and make ponchos of all descriptions.’
    sort, variety, kind, style, type, category, order, breed, species, class, designation, specification, genre, genus, brand, make, character, ilk, kidney, grain, stamp, mould
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  • beyond description

    • To a great and astonishing extent.

      ‘his face was swollen beyond description’
      • ‘This time, the nightmarish anxiety alone was beyond description.’
      • ‘‘The thrill, the mad delirium of being free is beyond description,’ he writes.’
      • ‘The sight was magnificent beyond description.’
      • ‘Seeing people's lives changed and transformed is both exciting and rewarding beyond description.’
      • ‘However, due to limited mobility, any entertainment that comes to them brings pleasure beyond description.’
      • ‘Wherever he went were piles of dust deep multiple inches deep, cobwebs of size beyond description, and heaps of rubble where the ceiling had collapsed or walls had caved in.’
      • ‘It's a tragedy beyond description and I want the full country and the medical profession to realise just how dreadful this whole story is.’
      • ‘And I'm certainly not worried about being in England - to be honest, I'm excited beyond description.’
      • ‘Her kindness, warmth and gentle nature went beyond description.’
      • ‘What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best.’
  • defy description

    • Be so unusual or remarkable as to be impossible to describe.

      ‘the sheer scale of the Requiem defies description’
      • ‘The manner and magnitude of the attack defy description.’
      • ‘It's all true, his work almost defies description, scene after vivid scene pulls you headlong through the pages and then suddenly, it's all over, and I really didn't want it to end.’
      • ‘The courage shown by passengers in that flight defies description.’
      • ‘The sheer wickedness of what you have done defies description.’
      • ‘The prospects sound fabulous but seem to defy description.’
      • ‘The poverty and simplicity of these tribals defies description.’
      • ‘The bishop's statement continued as follows: ‘The extent and scale of the horror defies description.’’
      • ‘That building is so ugly that it defies description.’
      • ‘It's a psychological bond and a real establishment of a cultural commitment and connection that defies description.’
      • ‘However, in this piece, she played a brash American, with an accent which defies description.’
  • answer (to)(or fit) the description

    • Have the qualities specified.

      • ‘Creeping phlox answers the description, and the pink candy striped variety will blend well with the pink tones of most Helleborus orientalis.’
      • ‘His searching glance falls upon a simple cottage, which answers the description given him by the villagers, and as he approaches, the fluttering sound of a bevy of children from within greets his ears.’
      • ‘Well, accept that as a basis that these people have offended on a number of occasions, over a long period, and one or more of their offences answers the description in section 203 of the Act.’
      • ‘In fact, Marcus is the only forward who answers the description and he won't have quite the same energy he brings off the bench.’
      • ‘If answered correctly, and the appearance of the person sufficiently answers the description, this, with the presentation of the pass book, is considered sufficient evidence to pay on.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin descriptio(n-), from describere ‘write down’.