1550s, "to mark out in lines," from Latin delineatus, past participle of delineare "to sketch out," from de- "completely" (see de-) + lineare "draw lines," from linea "line" (see line (n.)). From c. 1600 as "represent pictorially;" 1610s as "describe, represent to the mind or understanding, portray in words." Related: Delineated; delineator; delineating.
1560s, "act of representing or depicting;" 1590s, "representation, description;" a native formation from delineate, or else from Late Latin delineationem (nominative delineatio) "sketch, description," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin delineare (see delineate).
mid-13c., descriven, "interpret, explain," a sense now obsolete; c. 1300, "represent orally or by writing," from Old French descrivre, descrire (13c.) and directly from Latin describere "to write down, copy; sketch, represent," from de "down" (see de-) + scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut").
From late 14c. as "form or trace by motion;" c. 1400 as "delineate or mark the form or figure of, outline." Reconstructed with Latin spelling from c. 1450. Related: Described, describes, describing.
1610s, "an illustrative figure giving only the outlines or general scheme of the object;" 1640s in geometry, "a drawing for the purpose of demonstrating the properties of a figure;" from French diagramme, from Latin diagramma "a scale, a musical scale," from Greek diagramma "geometric figure, that which is marked out by lines," from diagraphein "mark out by lines, delineate," from dia "across, through" (see dia-) + graphein "write, mark, draw" (see -graphy). Related: Diagrammatic; diagrammatically.
The verb, "to draw or put in the form of a diagram," is by 1822, from the noun. Related: Diagrammed; diagramming.
Meaning "move along, pass over" (a path, etc.) is attested from c. 1400; that of "track down, follow the trail of" is early 15c. Meaning "copy a drawing on a transparent sheet laid over it" is recorded from 1762. Related: Traced; tracing.
also (and originally) kapnography, "the art of drawing by means of smoke" (or carbon deposited by a flame), 1871, from Greek kapnos "smoke" (see capnomancy) + -graphy. Related: Capnographic; kapnographic.
Kapnography—if we are called on to christen the new Art—may be said to be the very reverse of photography. In the one, the subtle play and reflexion of light is imprisoned by the magic chemistry of the sunbeam ; in the other the human imagination guides the hand to trace designs on the very type of change and emblem of destruction. To fix the faces seen in the fire, or to delineate the ever-changing forms of the clouds, does not seem to be a more unpromising task, than that of producing Alps and glaciers, forests and châlets, waterfalls and wood-hung streams, out of very vapour of combustion—the smoke of a candle. [The Art-Journal, vol. X, 1871]