What does "described" mean in the sentence?

"Two contenders are from the genus Patu: males of Patu digua described in Colombia had a body length of 0.37 millimeters (0.014 inches)"

this was taken from https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/smallest-spider

I couldn't find anything about this on https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/describe

  • When you get a phrase with a participle following a noun, you can often insert "which is/was/are/wer" before the participle to get the same meanings. So which were described in Colombia.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 12, 2021 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


It means precisely what your dictionary link says - 'to say or write what someone or something is like'. You perhaps don't recognise the way the verb has been used in the sentence structure of your example as it isn't a simple subject, verb, object sentence like "John described Mary as having long hair".

In your example, "described in Columbia" is modifying the subject noun 'males of Patu digua'. So, the sentence means that two specimens found in Columbia were described (presumably by those who found them) as having a body length of 0.37 mm.

  • but It's described in
    – coolguy
    Jan 12, 2021 at 14:45
  • @coolguy yes, the specimens from columbia were described as having a body length of 0.37mm. "Specimens described" is like "cakes eaten", or "money spent".
    – Astralbee
    Jan 12, 2021 at 15:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .