Etymology
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designate (adj.)

early 15c., "marked out, indicated" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin designatus, past participle of designare "mark out, devise, choose, designate, appoint," from de "out" (see de-) + signare "to mark," from signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)). Meaning "appointed or nominated but not yet installed" is from 1640s.

designate (v.)

1791, "appoint or select for a particular purpose," from designate (adj.) or else a back-formation from designation, or formed from Latin designatus. Meaning "to mark out or indicate" is from 1801; that of "distinguish from others by a name, give a name to" is by 1818. Related: Designated; designating.

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Definitions of designate
1
designate (v.)
assign a name or title to;
Synonyms: denominate
designate (v.)
give an assignment to (a person) to a post, or assign a task to (a person);
Synonyms: delegate / depute / assign
designate (v.)
indicate a place, direction, person, or thing; either spatially or figuratively;
Synonyms: indicate / point / show /
designate (v.)
decree or designate beforehand;
Synonyms: destine / fate / doom
designate (v.)
design or destine;
Synonyms: intend / destine / specify
2
designate (adj.)
appointed but not yet installed in office;
From wordnet.princeton.edu