A diagram is a drawing that shows the different parts of something and how they work together. If you follow a diagram for assembling bunk beds and finish with parts left over, you should ask for the top bunk, not the bottom one.

Diagram goes back to the Greek verb diagraphein, meaning "to mark out by lines," and a diagram uses line drawings to explain something. Electronic equipment comes with a long instruction booklet and a one-page diagram, and it's usually the diagram that helps most in connecting the device. A diagram can also be a complex drawing, like an engineering plan for airplanes. When you make a line drawing of your own, you can use diagram as a verb, as when you diagram a sentence.

Definitions of diagram
  1. noun
    a drawing intended to explain how something works; a drawing showing the relation between the parts
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    block diagram
    a diagram showing the interconnections between the components of system (especially an electronic system)
    a diagram of the positions of the planets and signs of the zodiac at a particular time and place
    schematic, schematic drawing
    diagram of an electrical or mechanical system
    Venn diagram, Venn's diagram
    a diagram that uses circles to represent mathematical or logical sets pictorially inside a rectangle (the universal set); elements that are common to more than one set are represented by intersections of the circles
    (astrology) a circular diagram representing the 12 zodiacal constellations and showing their signs
    a diagram that shows a sequence of operations or a progression through a process or system
    flow chart
    a diagram that shows a sequence of operations or a progression through a process or system
    wiring diagram
    a schematic drawing of the wiring of an electrical system
    type of:
    a representation of forms or objects on a surface by means of lines
  2. verb
    make a schematic or technical drawing of that shows interactions among variables or how something is constructed
    synonyms: plot
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    plot upon a graph
    type of:
    represent by making a drawing of, as with a pencil, chalk, etc. on a surface
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