Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent.
  • intransitive verb To formulate a plan for; devise.
  • intransitive verb To make a graphic or schematic representation of (something), especially as a plan for its structure.
  • intransitive verb To create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect.
  • intransitive verb To have as a goal or purpose; intend.
  • intransitive verb To make or execute plans.
  • intransitive verb To create designs.
  • noun A drawing or sketch.
  • noun A graphic representation, especially a detailed plan for construction or manufacture.
  • noun An ornamental pattern. synonym: figure.
  • noun The purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details.
  • noun A particular plan or method: synonym: plan.
  • noun The art or practice of designing or making designs.
  • noun A reasoned purpose; an intent.
  • noun Deliberate intention.
  • noun A secretive or underhanded plot or scheme.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • 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.
  • noun A drawing, especially in outline or little more; any representation made with pencil, pen, or brush.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Artistic invention in drawing or sculpture; the practical application of artistic principles or exercise of artistic faculties; the art of designing.
  • noun The arrangement or combination of the details of a picture, a statue, or an edifice.
  • noun A scheme or plan in the mind; purpose; intention; aim.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Contrivance; adaptation of means to a preconceived end: as, the evidence of design in a watch.
  • noun The purpose for which something exists or is done; the object or reason for something; the final purpose.
  • noun Synonyms Drawing, outline, draft, delineation.
  • noun Project, Scheme, etc. (see plan, n.), intent, aim, mark, object.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To form a design or designs; to plan.
  • intransitive verb [Obs.] to intend to go to.
  • transitive verb To draw preliminary outline or main features of; to sketch for a pattern or model; to delineate; to trace out; to draw.
  • transitive verb To mark out and exhibit; to designate; to indicate; to show; to point out; to appoint.
  • transitive verb 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 verb To intend or purpose; -- usually with for before the remote object, but sometimes with to.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English designen, from Latin dēsignāre, to designate; see designate.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

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