Definition of design in English:


Line breaks: de¦sign
Pronunciation: /dɪˈzʌɪn


  • 1A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made: he has just unveiled his design for the new museum
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    • I asked Lara whether crews had discovered problems during construction - poor building plans or designs or materials.
    • Not long time back building designs & drawings was a pain in the neck by the hand using the conventional pen and paper on a drafting table.
    • The location of the Quarter will depend on the developer's plans and designs and scale of buildings.
    plan, blueprint, drawing, scale drawing, sketch, outline, map, plot, diagram, delineation, draft, depiction, representation, artist's impression, scheme, model, prototype, proposal
  • 1.1 [mass noun] The art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan or drawing of something before it is made: good design can help the reader understand complicated information
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    • The result is that component design is rarely conceived of in such a way that lends itself to automated manufacturing.
    • The set and light design, which was conceived of even before the script was written, was being touted as the main focus of the piece.
    • Some plans are difficult to administer, but this is often a result of complex design chosen by the plan sponsor.
  • 1.2 [mass noun] The arrangement of the features of an artefact, as produced from following a plan or drawing: inside, the design reverts to turn-of-the-century luxe
    More example sentences
    • The design of the coin should be clear and precise with unevenness or blurring a sign of counterfeiting.
    • The policy and process for deciding on coin designs for our coins is based on the Mint's Policy on Coin Designs and Issue.
    • Little is known about Greek influences beyond what can be gathered from coins, although, like much of Roman art and politics, Roman coin designs were heavily influenced by Greek styles.


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by design

As a result of a plan; intentionally: I became a presenter by default rather than by design
More example sentences
  • If they did end up saving too little, they'd have done so by design rather than default.
  • Well, it may seem obvious that they both are made by design or intent.
  • Lots of people are starting to suspect that's by design rather than by accident.

have designs on

Aim to obtain (something), typically in an underhand way: he suspected her of having designs on the family fortune
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  • He emerged as sole leader of the opposition in 1263, but his position had weakened, for many magnates suspected him of having designs on the throne.
  • We still have designs on taking that third spot and qualifying for Europe.
  • The only way to avoid deaths on such a grand scale is to ensure someone who has designs on power are dealt with in the strictest manner at the earliest opportunity.
informal Have an undisclosed sexual interest in: a bloke called Kevin who, in Henry’s view, had had designs on Elinor
More example sentences
  • A Geordie bus driver, captivated by my southern charm, had designs on me that weren't entirely honourable.
  • He had designs on two of our daughters, but wasn't able to make a move because he was terrified of me.
  • What he doesn't count on, however, is the children's mean-spirited ability to thwart every red-blooded male who has designs on their mother.


late Middle English (as a verb in the sense 'to designate'): from Latin designare 'to designate', reinforced by French désigner. The noun is via French from Italian.

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