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See also: démarcation


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First recorded c.1752, from Spanish línea de demarcación and/or Portuguese linha de demarcação, the demarcation line laid down by the Pope on May 4, 1493, dividing the New World between Spain and Portugal on a line 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. Both derive from demarcar, from de- + marcar (to mark), from Italian marcare, from the same Germanic root as march.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌdɛmɑːˈkeɪʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


demarcation (countable and uncountable, plural demarcations)

  1. The act of marking off a boundary or setting a limit, notably by belligerents signing a treaty or ceasefire.
  2. A limit thus fixed, in full demarcation line.
    • 1831, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Romance and Reality. [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, [], →OCLC, pages 48–49:
      About sunset, he was leaning on the remains of an old wall, which had once probably surrounded a Roman encampment, and now served as a line of demarcation between two villages, as jealous of each other's claims as near neighbours usually are.
  3. Any strictly defined separation.
    There is an alleged, in fact somewhat artificial demarcation in the type of work done by members of different trade unions.
    • 1983, Richard Ellis, The Book of Sharks, Knopf, →ISBN, page 7:
      In the sea there is no demarcation between the hunter and the hunted, as there is on the African plains.

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