Definition of designate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdeziɡˌnāt/
[with object]
1Appoint (someone) to a specified position: he was designated as prime minister
More example sentences
  • Their draft code urges each organisation to set up and publish details of a system for dealing with complaints; and to appoint or designate a member of staff to act as ombudsman.
  • If the parent is fit to take care of a child, here in family court, you designate that parent as the guardian.
  • Financial experts suggest consulting a professional to create a detailed estate plan, which will put in writing where you want assets to go and designate a family member, relative, or trusted adult to execute it.
appoint, nominate, depute, delegate;
select, choose, pick, elect, name, identify, assign
1.1Officially assign a specified status or ascribe a specified name or quality to: [with object and complement]: certain schools are designated “science schools” a personality disorder that Adler designates the Ruling Type
More example sentences
  • The engineering status will be designated to the school from September.
  • We follow the general rules of zebrafish nomenclature for designating locus and allele names.
  • Perhaps it might increase the awareness of the problem if we were officially to designate a day in the year in testimony to them.
classify, class, label, tag;
name, call, entitle, term, dub
formal denominate
1.2Signify; indicate: the term “brainstem” designates the medulla, pons, and mesencephalon
More example sentences
  • In anatomy, the term "brain" designates the portion of the vertebrate central nervous system that is enclosed within the cranium, continuous with the spinal cord, and composed of grey matter and white matter.
  • Although the term "chapbook" was not coined until the early nineteenth century, the term designates works of popular literature sold for a few pence.
  • Another use of the term engraving designates an impression made from an engraved plate.


Pronunciation: /ˈdeziɡnət/
Pronunciation: /ˈdeziɡˌnāt/
Appointed to an office or position but not yet installed: the Director designate
More example sentences
  • He was appointed director designate in February, but was originally not to take over until December.
  • Much has been made of the suggestion that the supposedly moderate prime minister designate intends to disband the militias.
  • Our cameras now take you to the Central Polling Office to hear from the Prime Minister designate.



Pronunciation: /-ˌnātər/
Example sentences
  • It is routine administrative traffic full of alphanumeric designators that mean little without a cue sheet, a recitation of mileages, case numbers and criminal histories.
  • Military personnel should use their support group designator and address when indicating their current assignment.
  • They need the night-vision systems and these laser designators for targeting, so we see an increase here, too.


Mid 17th century (as an adjective): from Latin designatus 'designated', past participle of designare, based on signum 'a mark'. The verb dates from the late 18th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: des·ig·nate

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