tr.v. de·lin·e·at·ed, de·lin·e·at·ing, de·lin·e·ates
a. To draw or depict: "In black and white wash, he delineated the gnarled roots of a tree" (Sally Holmes Holtze).
b. To describe or characterize in words: "the specter of the bored and isolated housewife, which Friedan delineated so brilliantly" (Mary V. Dearborn).
a. To mark, form, or show the outline or border of: The police delineated the crime scene with yellow tape. A hedge delineates one plot of land from the other.
b. To establish the position of (a border): The treaty delineates the border between Spanish and American territory.
c. To show or contain a distinguishing characteristic of; distinguish: "The first game ... delineated the differences between the two teams" (Stuart Miller).
[Latin dēlīneāre, dēlīneāt- : dē-, de- + līnea, line, thread; see LINE1.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.