Meaning of DESIGN in English

I. də̇ˈzīn, dēˈ- verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle French designer, from Latin designare, literally, to mark out, from de- + signare to mark — more at sign

transitive verb


a. : to conceive and plan out in the mind

a savage on seeing a watch would at once conclude that it was designed — Samuel Butler †1902

b. : devote , consign , destine

a city designed to destruction

grants designed in his will for making amends

c. : to make up one's mind to set apart : settle in mind to reserve

mementos of his travels that he had designed for friends

d. : to plan or have in mind as a purpose : intend , purpose , contemplate

he was sociable by disposition, and I believe he designed particularly to shine in the world of talk and manners — Osbert Sitwell

when some other foreign power designed division or seizure — Roger Burlingame

e. archaic : to have in mind or include as a matter of consideration

f. : to devise or propose for a specific function

a book designed primarily as a college textbook

a program obviously designed as a first approach to this problem

g. : to create, plan, or calculate for serving a predetermined end : prepare or lay out deliberately

the challenging problem of designing a college curriculum for young women

a little group of members which is designed for study, propaganda, and energetic canvassing — R.M.Dawson

designed to form a frame for what was to come after — E.M.Lustgarten


a. obsolete : to indicate with a distinctive mark or sign

b. archaic : to indicate by name or distinctive phrase

c. : to designate for office or function

designing a friend to act as substitute

the other parties named and designed in the summons

d. archaic : assign , grant


[Middle French desseigner, from Italian disegnare, from Latin designare ]

a. archaic : to make a drawing or sketch of (an object or scene)

b. : to outline or sketch in proportion for creating a work of art or to serve as a pattern in the practical arts

she has designed the dances for several Broadway hits

a curious woman whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage — Oscar Wilde

c. : to plan and plot out the shape and disposition of the parts of and the structural constituents of : draw the plans for

he designed many buildings and bridges

d. : to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan

he was also a clever artist and designed scenes with a flair for color — Winifred Bambrick

buildings of the institution are so designed that each patient's room opens upon a porch — American Guide Series: Michigan

e. : to originate, draft, and work out, set up, or set forth : devise , contrive

a landscaping authority to design the city's park system

can start to design and execute a foreign policy without fear — H.W.Barber

like most Communist propaganda it was very cleverly designed — Patrick McMahon

knows how to design a part so that it develops and acquires momentum in performance — Brooks Atkinson

f. : to plan or produce with special intentional adaptation to a specific end — used in passive or participial form

statutes are designed to meet the fugitive exigencies of the hour — B.N.Cardozo

slogans are normally designed to get action without reflection — A.E.Stevenson b.1900

marriage was a social institution designed to fit instinct into a legal framework — Bertrand Russell

would do it for $5000, a price … designed to discourage offers — Elsa Maxwell

intransitive verb

1. : to conceive a plan for making something

2. : to draw, lay out, or otherwise prepare a design or designs

those who design for the home

in designing for motion pictures there is also the problem of geography — Cedric Gibbons

a. : to draw a preliminary figure, outline, or sketch (as for a machine, structure, or work of art)

b. : to fashion a work of art

c. : to fashion a decorative figure or pattern

3. : to plan or intend to start out on a trip or course

this ship designs for Guam

the young man designs for law

Synonyms: see intend , plan I

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle French dessein, from Italian disegno, from disegnare to mark out

1. : a mental project or scheme in which means to an end are laid down : plan

morality also, like religion, is a product of human design — Benjamin Farrington

had no rivals among the secular rulers of Europe for largeness of designs — R.W.Southern


a. : a particular purpose held in view by an individual or group : a planned intention

my design in writing this preface is to forestall certain critics

he has ambitious designs for his son

b. : deliberate purposive planning

what superficially may appear to be a masterpiece of design was likely to have been just an empirical policy of muddling through — Times Literary Supplement

his clumsiness is due to inattention rather than design

battle was joined apparently more by accident than design — John Buchan

also : direction toward an ultimate end

the teleological, which shows the marks of design in nature, and from them argues to a great designer — Encyc. Americana

— opposed to accident


a. : a deliberate undercover project or scheme entertained with discreditable or hostile and often dishonest, treacherous, sinister, or seductive intent

each camp accusing the other of imperialist designs

eager to ferret out any subversive design

a declaration of a design upon his life — John Locke

b. designs plural : such a scheme contemplating some rapacious or disruptive aggression or some illicit encroachment — used with on or against

the United States has no … designs against any of its neighbors anywhere — A.H.Vandenberg †1951

has designs on the money

4. : a preliminary sketch or outline (as a drawing on paper or a modeling in clay) showing the main features of something to be executed : delineation

a textile design and its specifications constitute the complete working plan for the manufacture of a fabric — Alfred Higgins & R.L.La Vault


a. : a painter or sculptor's preliminary drawing or model

he made two or three charming and blasphemous designs — W.B.Yeats

b. : a scheme for the construction, finish, and ornamentation of a building as embodied in the plans, elevations, and other architectural drawings pertaining to it

c. : a conceptual outline or sketch according to which the elements of a literary or dramatic composition or series are disposed

his sense of structure, both in the general design of Paradise Lost and Samson, and in his syntax — T.S.Eliot

it is now widely agreed that such compositions as Moby Dick and Billy Budd are complete designs — Nathalia Wright

the main designs of the poem, an imaginative control of dispersed material — Times Literary Supplement

d. : a settled coherent program followed or imposed ; usually : an underlying scheme that governs functioning, developing or unfolding : pattern , motif

his ad-libbing … is not unfortified by design because he is far too fine a professional ever to trust entirely to chance — John Mason Brown

whether or not there be a design , … in nature, a man's biography frequently discloses haunting glimpses of a pattern — Perry Miller


a. : the arrangement of elements that make up a work of art, a machine, or other man-made object

systematic art instruction begins with the study of design , which includes little except the perception and creation of formal relations — Hunter Mead

made her decide to introduce choreographic design into her free skating — Current Biography

b. : the process of selecting the means and contriving the elements, steps, and procedures for producing what will adequately satisfy some need

industrial design

included in design are the arrangement of the basic text page, choice of typeface, title page, and special pages — Joseph Blumenthal

specifically : the drawing up of specifications as to structure, forms, positions, materials, texture, accessories, decorations in the form of a layout for setting up, building, or fabrication

the design of the ship's bridge

his experiments were noted for their simple design

the problems of stability were corrected by better design in duplicating equipment — R.O.Jordan

c. : structural constitution or fundamental framework of a musical composition

unacceptable to our sense of melodic design — P.H.Lang

inflated music with ambitious and mystical programmatic designs — Nicolas Slonimsky


a. : a visual arrangement or disposition of lines, parts, figures, details usually unified by an implicit key or clue of signification or an artistic motif (as in engravings, medals, textiles, metalwork)

linoleum in a great number of designs

the designs on the reverse of our coins

an iron balustrade with a design of bows and arrows that rises from the eaves of the house — American Guide Series: Maine

b. : a pattern or figuration applied to a surface (as of a vase) : decoration

porcelain with carved or engraved floral designs

a gold-tooled design impressed on bookbindings

Synonyms: see intention , plan

III. adjective

: used as a basis for anticipating practical problems and solving them at the engineering stage — used chiefly in highway designing

the design speed of a highway

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.