American English

Definition of design noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] the general arrangement of the different parts of something that is made, such as a building, book, machine, etc. The basic design of the car is very similar to that of earlier models. special new design features The machine's unique design prevents it from overheating. The magazine will appear in a new design from next month.
  2. drawing/plan/model
  3. 2[uncountable] the art or process of deciding how something will look, work, etc. by drawing plans, making models, etc. a course in art and design a design studio computer-aided design the design and development of new products see also interior design
  4. 3[countable] design (for something) a drawing or plan from which something may be made designs for aircraft new and original designs
  5. pattern
  6. 4[countable] an arrangement of lines and shapes as a decoration synonym pattern floral/abstract/geometric designs The tiles come in a huge range of colors and designs.
  7. intention
  8. 5[uncountable, countable] a plan or an intention It happened—whether by accident or design—that the two of them were left alone after all the others had gone. It is all part of his grand design.
  9. Idioms
    have designs on somebody (formal or humorous)
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    to want to start a sexual relationship with someone He was quite aware of her marital designs on him.
    have designs on something (formal)
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    to be planning to get something for yourself, often in a way that other people do not approve of Rumors spread that the Duke had designs on the crown (= wanted to make himself king).
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: design