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noun pic·ture \ˈpik-chər\

Simple Definition of picture

  • : a painting, drawing, or photograph of someone or something

  • : an idea of how something or someone looks, of what something is like, etc.

  • : a general situation

Full Definition of picture

  1. 1 :  a design or representation made by various means (as painting, drawing, or photography)

  2. 2 a :  a description so vivid or graphic as to suggest a mental image or give an accurate idea of something <the book gives a detailed picture of what is happening> b :  a mental image

  3. 3 :  image, copy <he was the picture of his father> <she was the very picture of health>

  4. 4 a :  a transitory visible image or reproduction b :  motion picture c plural :  movies

  5. 5 :  tableau 2

  6. 6 :  situation <took a hard look at his financial picture>

Examples of picture

  1. I hung the picture on the wall.

  2. The book has a lot of pictures.

  3. Draw a picture of your house.

  4. The staff looked at the financial picture of the company.

  5. The overall economic picture is improving.

Origin of picture

Middle English, from Latin pictura, from pictus, past participle of pingere to paint — more at paint

First Known Use: 15th century

Other Fine Arts Terms

Rhymes with picture



verb pic·ture

Simple Definition of picture

  • : to have a thought, understanding, or idea about (something or someone)

  • : to show or represent (someone or something) in a painting, drawing, or photograph

  • : to describe (something or someone) in a particular way

Full Definition of picture

pic·turedpic·tur·ing play \ˈpik-chə-riŋ, ˈpik-shriŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to paint or draw a representation, image, or visual conception of :  depict; also :  illustrate

  3. 2 :  to describe graphically in words

  4. 3 :  to form a mental image of :  imagine

Examples of picture

  1. I can still picture the house I grew up in.

  2. I can't picture changing jobs at this point in my life.

  3. Picture what it would be like if you didn't own a car.

  4. Can you picture him as a teacher?

15th Century

First Known Use of picture

15th century

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up picture? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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