- 1a : an act of describing; specifically : discourse intended to give a mental image of something experienced
- b : a descriptive statement or account
- 2: kind or character especially as determined by salient features <opposed to any tax of so radical a description>
Description is one of four rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse), along with exposition, argumentation, and narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and each has its own purpose and conventions.
The purpose of description is to re-create or visually present a person, place, event, or action so that the reader may picture that which is being described. Descriptive writing may be found in the other rhetorical modes.
The word description can be used interchangeably with the word theory in physics. When an observer is said to describe an event, experiment, or observation, this is a direct reference, which means a theory describes the event, experiment, or observation.