Meaning of descriptor in English:


Pronunciation /dɪˈskrɪptə/

See synonyms for descriptor on

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  • 1Linguistics
    A word or expression used to describe or identify something.

    ‘Values are expressed as mean [+ or -] SD, and the word descriptors are expressed as [chi square] or by p value.’
    • ‘Next, I determined whether the literature distribution is different across different key word descriptors describing environmental endocrine disruption.’
    • ‘The descriptor words themselves appeared one or more times within a particular obituary or across different obituaries.’
    • ‘Word descriptors reflect the distinct qualities of the language of breathlessness, and as health professionals, we must ask the correct symptom questions to determine the appropriate interventions.’
    • ‘We included single words, short and long phrases, rhymes, names of numbers, and other descriptors and action word phrases.’
  • 2Computing
    A piece of stored data that indicates how other data is stored.

    ‘Since Linux stores the process descriptor and the kernel mode process stack in a single 8KB memory area, we can use this fact and avoid allocating memory for labeling the subjects.’
    • ‘Method of scheduling interrupts to the linked lists of transfer descriptors scheduled at intervals on a serial bus’
    • ‘Scanning an array of descriptors or waiting for data consumes processing time.’
    • ‘The use of the descriptor to steer the data into the transmit buffer or out of the receive buffer allows a simplified hardware implementation as compared to prior art methods that must examine and count the data as it is transferred.’
    • ‘System calls also serve this generalization function across programming languages; e.g., the read system call will read data from a file descriptor.’


Early 16th century (in sense ‘person or thing that describes something’): from Latin, literally ‘describer’, from descript- ‘written down’, from the verb describere (see describe).