Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent: design a good excuse for not attending the conference.
  • transitive v. To formulate a plan for; devise: designed a marketing strategy for the new product.
  • transitive v. To plan out in systematic, usually graphic form: design a building; design a computer program.
  • transitive v. To create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect: a game designed to appeal to all ages.
  • transitive v. To have as a goal or purpose; intend.
  • transitive v. To create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner.
  • intransitive v. To make or execute plans.
  • intransitive v. To have a goal or purpose in mind.
  • intransitive v. To create designs.
  • n. A drawing or sketch.
  • n. A graphic representation, especially a detailed plan for construction or manufacture.
  • n. The purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details: the aerodynamic design of an automobile; furniture of simple but elegant design.
  • n. The art or practice of designing or making designs.
  • n. Something designed, especially a decorative or an artistic work.
  • n. An ornamental pattern. See Synonyms at figure.
  • n. A basic scheme or pattern that affects and controls function or development: the overall design of an epic poem.
  • n. A plan; a project. See Synonyms at plan.
  • n. A reasoned purpose; an intent: It was her design to set up practice on her own as soon as she was qualified.
  • n. Deliberate intention: He became a photographer more by accident than by design.
  • n. A secretive plot or scheme. Often used in the plural: He has designs on my job.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A plan (with more or less detail) for the structure and functions of an artifact, building or system.
  • n. A pattern, as an element of a work of art or architecture.
  • n. The composition of a work of art.
  • n. Intention or plot.
  • n. The shape or appearance given to an object, especially one that is intended to make it more attractive.
  • n. The art of designing

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To draw preliminary outline or main features of; to sketch for a pattern or model; to delineate; to trace out; to draw.
  • transitive v. To mark out and exhibit; to designate; to indicate; to show; to point out; to appoint.
  • transitive v. To create or produce, as a work of art; to form a plan or scheme of; to form in idea; to invent; to project; to lay out in the mind.
  • transitive v. To intend or purpose; -- usually with for before the remote object, but sometimes with to.
  • intransitive v. To form a design or designs; to plan.
  • n. A preliminary sketch; an outline or pattern of the main features of something to be executed, as of a picture, a building, or a decoration; a delineation; a plan.
  • n. A plan or scheme formed in the mind of something to be done; preliminary conception; idea intended to be expressed in a visible form or carried into action; intention; purpose; -- often used in a bad sense for evil intention or purpose; scheme; plot.
  • n. Specifically, intention or purpose as revealed or inferred from the adaptation of means to an end.
  • n. The realization of an inventive or decorative plan; esp., a work of decorative art considered as a new creation; conception or plan shown in completed work.
  • n. The invention and conduct of the subject; the disposition of every part, and the general order of the whole.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To draw the outline or figure of, especially of a proposed work of art; trace out; sketch, as a pattern or model.
  • To plan or outline in general; determine upon and mark out the principal features or parts of, as a projected thing or act; plan; devise.
  • To contrive for a purpose; project for the attainment of a particular end; form in idea, as a scheme.
  • To devote to mentally; set apart in intention; intend.
  • To purpose; intend; mean: with an infinitive as object: as, he designs to write an essay, or to study law.
  • To mark out by tokens; indicate; point out; designate; appoint.
  • To signify.
  • To do original work in a graphic or plastic art; compose a picture, or make an original plan, as an architect, a landscape-gardener, or an inventor.
  • To invent.
  • To set out or start, with a certain destination in view; direct one's course.
  • n. A drawing, especially in outline or little more; any representation made with pencil, pen, or brush.
  • n. A plan or an outline in general; any representation or statement of the main parts or features of a projected thing or act; specifically, in architecture, a plan of an edifice, as represented by the ground-plans, elevations, sections, and whatever other drawings may be necessary to guide its construction.
  • n. Artistic invention in drawing or sculpture; the practical application of artistic principles or exercise of artistic faculties; the art of designing.
  • n. The arrangement or combination of the details of a picture, a statue, or an edifice.
  • n. A scheme or plan in the mind; purpose; intention; aim.
  • n. Specifically An intention or a plan to act in some particular way; a project; especially, in a bad sense, a plan to do something harmful or illegal: commonly with upon.
  • n. Contrivance; adaptation of means to a preconceived end: as, the evidence of design in a watch.
  • n. The purpose for which something exists or is done; the object or reason for something; the final purpose.
  • n. Synonyms Drawing, outline, draft, delineation.
  • n. Project, Scheme, etc. (see plan, n.), intent, aim, mark, object.
  • n. Specifically, in music, either the melodic pattern, the harmonic process, or the rhythmic and metric form adopted in composition, by which a particular work or a class of works is made coherent and characteristic. In the evolution of artistic music the principles of design have been but slowly perceived and established.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. intend or have as a purpose
  • v. plan something for a specific role or purpose or effect
  • n. an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions
  • n. something intended as a guide for making something else
  • n. the act of working out the form of something (as by making a sketch or outline or plan)
  • n. a preliminary sketch indicating the plan for something
  • v. create designs
  • v. make a design of; plan out in systematic, often graphic form
  • n. a decorative or artistic work
  • n. an arrangement scheme
  • v. create the design for; create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner
  • v. conceive or fashion in the mind; invent
  • n. the creation of something in the mind
  • v. make or work out a plan for; devise

Etymologies

Middle English designen, from Latin dēsignāre, to designate; see designate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French designer, from Latin designare ("to mark out, point out, describe, design, contrive"), from de- (or dis-) + signare ("to mark"), from signum ("mark"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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