Definition of describe verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    describe

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//dɪˈskraɪb//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈskraɪb//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they describe
    BrE BrE//dɪˈskraɪb//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈskraɪb//
     
    he / she / it describes
    BrE BrE//dɪˈskraɪbz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈskraɪbz//
     
    past simple described
    BrE BrE//dɪˈskraɪbd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈskraɪbd//
     
    past participle described
    BrE BrE//dɪˈskraɪbd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈskraɪbd//
     
    -ing form describing
    BrE BrE//dɪˈskraɪbɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈskraɪbɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1  to say what somebody/something is like describe somebody/something (to/for somebody) Can you describe him to me? The current political situation in Vietnam is described in chapter 8. describe somebody/something as something The man was described as tall and dark, and aged about 20. Jim was described by his colleagues as ‘unusual’. describe how, what, etc… Describe how you did it. describe (somebody/something) doing something Several people described seeing strange lights in the sky. Express YourselfDescribing a pictureIn some exams, you have to describe what you see in a picture or photograph. Here are some useful phrases: The picture shows a family gathered around a kitchen table. This is a picture/​photo of a busy city street. In the foreground/​background, we can see a group of protesters. In the bottom right-hand corner/​top left-hand corner, there's a child sitting alone. On the left/​on the right/​in the middle, someone is standing with a bottle in his hand. In the cartoon, we can see two people looking at a newspaper headline. The cartoonist has drawn the man to represent a typical businessman.
  2. 2describe something (formal or specialist) to make a movement which has a particular shape; to form a particular shape The shark described a circle around the shoal of fish. The road describes a long loop around the town.
  3. Word Origin late Middle English: from Latin describere, from de- ‘down’ + scribere ‘write’.Extra examples He described briefly what happened. He goes on to describe very vividly how Caesar was stabbed to death. He goes on to describe vividly how Lincoln was assassinated. Observers have described the situation in the country as ‘serious’. The shirt was variously described as ‘pink’, ‘salmon’ and ‘rose’. Their daily lives are described in detail. This process is fully described in section three of the book. Words cannot describe our feelings at that moment.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: describe