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Design | Definition of Design by Merriam-Webster



verb Save Word de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn \ designed ; designing ; designs

Definition of design

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan : devise , contrive design a system for tracking inventory 2 a : to conceive and plan out in the mind he designed the perfect crime b : to have as a purpose : intend she designed to excel in her studies c : to devise for a specific function or end a book designed primarily as a college textbook a suitcase designed to hold a laptop computer 3 archaic : to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name 4 a : to make a drawing, pattern, or sketch of … a curious woman whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage … Oscar Wilde b : to draw the plans for design a building designing a new bike

intransitive verb

1 : to conceive or execute a plan 2 : to draw, lay out, or prepare a design was trained to design for homes and offices



Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

1 a : a particular purpose or intention held in view by an individual or group He has ambitious designs for his son. b : deliberate purposive planning more by accident than design 2 : a mental project or scheme in which means to an end are laid down was never part of my design 3 a : a deliberate undercover project or scheme : plot a declaration of a design upon his life John Locke b designs plural : aggressive or evil intent used with on or against he has designs on the money 4 : a preliminary sketch or outline showing the main features of something to be executed the design for the new stadium 5 a : an underlying scheme that governs functioning, developing, or unfolding : pattern , motif the general design of the epic b : a plan or protocol for carrying out or accomplishing something (such as a scientific experiment) also : the process of preparing this 6 : the arrangement of elements or details in a product or work of art … his sense of structure, both in the general design of Paradise Lost and Samson , and in his syntax … T. S. Eliot 7 : a decorative pattern a floral design 8 : the creative art of executing aesthetic or functional designs studied design in college Other Words from design Synonyms Choose the Right Synonym More Example Sentences Learn More About design

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Other Words from design


designedly \ di-​ˈzī-​nəd-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms for design

Synonyms: Verb

aim , allow [ chiefly Southern & Midland ] , aspire , calculate , contemplate , go [ chiefly Southern & Midland ] , intend , look , mean , meditate , plan , propose , purport , purpose

Synonyms: Noun

arrangement , blueprint , game , game plan , ground plan , master plan , plan , program , project , road map , scheme , strategy , system Visit the Thesaurus for More

Choose the Right Synonym for design


intention , intent , purpose , design , aim , end , object , objective , goal mean what one intends to accomplish or attain. intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about. announced his intention to marry intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness. the clear intent of the statute purpose suggests a more settled determination. being successful was her purpose in life design implies a more carefully calculated plan. the order of events came by accident, not design aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing. her aim was to raise film to an art form end stresses the intended effect of action often in distinction or contrast to the action or means as such. willing to use any means to achieve his end object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need. his constant object was the achievement of pleasure objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable. their objective is to seize the oil fields goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship. worked years to reach her goals

plan , design , plot , scheme , project mean a method devised for making or doing something or achieving an end. plan always implies mental formulation and sometimes graphic representation. plans for a house design often suggests a particular pattern and some degree of achieved order or harmony. a design for a new dress plot implies a laying out in clearly distinguished sections with attention to their relations and proportions. the plot of the play scheme stresses calculation of the end in view and may apply to a plan motivated by craftiness and self-interest. a scheme to defraud the government project often stresses imaginative scope and vision. a project to develop the waterfront

Examples of design in a Sentence

Verb A team of engineers designed the new engine. Who designed the book's cover? He designed the chair to adjust automatically. They thought they could design the perfect crime. design a strategy for battle Noun There are problems with the design of the airplane's landing gear. I like the design of the textbook. I love the sculpture's design . The machine had a flawed design . the design and development of new products Correcting mistakes is part of the design process. a number of design concepts See More Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Zanardi helped design his own prosthetic legs and began walking again. Nat Newell, The Indianapolis Star , 2 July 2021 Inside Amazon, the Flex program is considered a great success, whose benefits far outweigh the collateral damage, said a former engineer who helped design the system. Spencer Soper Bloomberg News, Star Tribune , 28 June 2021 Diana Perkins, the founder of includesign, helped design the LapSnap, which allows wheelchair users accomplish tasks more independently, such as grocery shopping and laundry, while still being able to use both hands to maneauver their wheelchair. BostonGlobe.com , 28 June 2021 Some believe this massive data dump is helping cybercriminals design phishing campaigns that appear extremely authentic and are highly targeted. Perry Carpenter, Forbes , 17 June 2021 That kind of precision takes a lot of coordination with other artists and technicians, who design the different elements of animating the characters. The Salt Lake Tribune , 17 June 2021 The famed coachbuilder looks ready to do more than just design a beautiful hyper car, though. Bryan Hood, Robb Report , 12 June 2021 Architects design custom homes, which represent a fraction of Portland houses, said Ballestrem of the Architectural Heritage Center. oregonlive , 11 June 2021 In addition to more public events, the non-profit is also in the midst of examining ways to fund and design a massive project to place lights on the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge. al , 11 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Different learning opportunities will be available to interested applicants, including policy, media relations, graphic and print design , fiscal analysis, member services and a spot working with the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus. Post-tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com , 6 July 2021 Boston added another feature to Chicago’s basic design — a 10 percent bump to the composite scores of students attending schools where at least half of the students are economically disadvantaged. BostonGlobe.com , 6 July 2021 The company went through seven prototypes to get to this final design where the back is a straight as possible as well as allowing the head to be angled while not tilting or falling to its side. Jeremy White, Wired , 5 July 2021 The rescue became part of training sessions with lifeguards at SeaWorld and upgraded safety measures at the lagoon, renamed Aquatica San Antonio, an attraction Morrow helped design . Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News , 5 July 2021 Featuring lumbar support and an overall ergonomic design , this Twillery Co. chair will keep you comfortable all day long and make back pain a thing of the past. Kara Cuzzone, Forbes , 5 July 2021 Old American: The Tripp Davis-Justin Leonard design hosting the VOA for the fourth season had to deal with challenging weather events in the spring to make the course tournament-ready. Randy Jennings, Dallas News , 4 July 2021 According to Insider, Moelis was focussed on improving day-to-day operations at Great Jones, while Tishgart devoted herself to the kind of marketing and design that would help accelerate growth. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker , 3 July 2021 New documents show potential flaws in condo's original design Condo board members told residents the 40-year-old building had no waterproofing layers over the garage, exposing it to water intrusion from the time construction was completed in 1981. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY , 3 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'design.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback .

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First Known Use of design


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3


1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for design

Verb and Noun

Middle English, to outline, indicate, mean, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French designer to designate, from Medieval Latin designare , from Latin, to mark out, from de- + signare to mark — more at sign

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Time Traveler for design

The first known use of design was in the 14th century

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Phrases Related to design

by design

have designs on

Statistics for design

Last Updated

8 Jul 2021

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Cite this Entry

“Design.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/design. Accessed 16 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

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More Definitions for design



English Language Learners Definition of design

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to plan and make decisions about (something that is being built or created) : to create the plans, drawings, etc., that show how (something) will be made : to plan and make (something) for a specific use or purpose : to think of (something, such as a plan) : to plan (something) in your mind



English Language Learners Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

: the way something has been made : the way the parts of something (such as a building, machine, book, etc.) are formed and arranged for a particular use, effect, etc. : the process of planning how something will look, happen, be made, etc. : the process of designing something : a drawing of something that is being planned or created

See the full definition for design in the English Language Learners Dictionary


verb de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn \ designed ; designing

Kids Definition of design

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to think up and plan out in the mind Our engineers have designed a new engine. 2 : to set apart for or have as a special purpose : intend The Web site is designed for fun. 3 : to make a pattern or sketch of She designs clothes.



Kids Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an arrangement of parts in a structure or a work of art The design of the house suits a large family. 2 : the art or process of planning and creating something His job is Web page design . 3 : a sketch, model, or plan of something made or to be made Architects studied the design for the building. 4 : a decorative pattern 5 : plan entry 1 sense 1 , scheme 6 : a planned intention As if by design , they both stopped at the same spot … Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee 7 : a secret purpose : plot I know you have designs on my money.


noun de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn \

Medical Definition of design

: a plan or protocol for carrying out or accomplishing something (especially a scientific experiment) also : the process of preparing this

Other Words from design

design transitive verb

More from Merriam-Webster on design

Nglish: Translation of design for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of design for Arabic Speakers



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