Definition of design in English:


Syllabification: de·sign
Pronunciation: /dəˈzīn


  • 1A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made: he has just unveiled his design for the new museum
    More example sentences
    • 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, sketch, outline, map, plot, diagram, draft, representation, scheme, model
  • 1.1The art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan or drawing: good design can help the reader understand complicated information the cloister is of late-twelfth-century design
    More example sentences
    • 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.
  • 1.2An arrangement of lines or shapes created to form a pattern or decoration: pottery with a lovely blue and white design
    More example sentences
    • Some crystal or fine glassware has a gilt design or edge on the rim of glass or as a decorative design or a patterned glass dish.
    • It featured exuberant decorative patterns, designs in the brickwork and wooden attachments.
    • It was used by my grandmother and her mother before her as a means of chalking decorative patterns and designs upon the slate hearthstone and doorstep.
    pattern, motif, device; style, composition, makeup, layout, construction, shape, form


[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object), typically by making a detailed drawing of it: a number of architectural students were designing a factory [as adjective with submodifier]: (designed) specially designed buildings
    More example sentences
    • So the building was deliberately designed to function both as a station and as a fort.
    • A competition will be launched to decide who will design the new buildings.
    • Of course buildings must be designed with consideration of how they will fit in.
    plan, outline, map out, draft, drawinvent, originate, create, think up, come up with, devise, formulate, conceive; make, produce, develop, fashion
    informal dream up
  • 1.1Do or plan (something) with a specific purpose or intention in mind: [with object and infinitive]: the tax changes were designed to stimulate economic growth
    More example sentences
    • The new website is designed to help students plan how they get to school or college.
    • This equips the researchers to design studies in vitro that will allow them to improve animal welfare and reduce variability.
    • Many brands and types of products are specifically designed to protect and restore your leather goods.
    intend, aim; devise, contrive, purpose, plan; tailor, fashion, adapt, gear; mean, destine


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 desired), typically in a secret and dishonest way: he suspected her of having designs on the family fortune
More example sentences
  • 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.


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.

More definitions of design

Definition of design in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrəˈgāSHən
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space