verb (used with object), des·ig·nat·ed, des·ig·nat·ing.

  1. to mark or point out; indicate; show; specify.
  2. to denote; indicate; signify.
  3. to name; entitle; style.
  4. to nominate or select for a duty, office, purpose, etc.; appoint; assign.


  1. named or selected for an office, position, etc., but not yet installed (often used in combination following the noun it modifies): ambassador-designate.

verb (ˈdɛzɪɡˌneɪt) (tr)

  1. to indicate or specify
  2. to give a name to; style; entitle
  3. to select or name for an office or duty; appoint

adjective (ˈdɛzɪɡnɪt, -ˌneɪt)

  1. (immediately postpositive) appointed, but not yet in officea minister designate

1640s, from Latin designatus, past participle of designare (see design (v.)).


As a verb, from 1791, from designate (adj.) or else a back-formation from designation. Related: Designated; designating.

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