im·​age | \ ˈi-mij How to pronounce image (audio) \

Definition of image

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a visual representation of something: such as
(1) : a likeness of an object produced on a photographic material
(2) : a picture produced on an electronic display (such as a television or computer screen)
b : the optical counterpart of an object produced by an optical device (such as a lens or mirror) or an electronic device
2a(1) : a mental picture or impression of something had a negative body image of herself
(2) : a mental conception held in common by members of a group and symbolic of a basic attitude and orientation a disorderly courtroom can seriously tarnish a community's image of justice— Herbert Brownell
b : idea, concept
3 : a popular conception (as of a person, institution, or nation) projected especially through the mass media promoting a corporate image of brotherly love and concern— R. C. Buck
4a : exact likeness : semblance God created man in his own image — Genesis 1:27 (Revised Standard Version)
b : a person strikingly like another person she is the image of her mother
5a : a tangible or visible representation : incarnation the image of filial devotion
b archaic : an illusory form : apparition
6 : a vivid or graphic representation or description
7 : a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing especially : an imitation in solid form : statue
9 : a set of values given by a mathematical function (such as a homomorphism) that corresponds to a particular subset of the domain


imaged; imaging

Definition of image (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to create a representation of also : to form an image of imaged Jupiter's rings image the bone using X-rays
b : to represent symbolically
2 : to call up a mental picture of : imagine
3 : to describe or portray in language especially in a vivid manner
4a : reflect, mirror
b : to make appear : project
5 : to make a disk image of Many computer forensics programs now include the option of imaging a suspect drive.— Yvonne Jewkes

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Other Words from image


imager \ ˈi-​mi-​jər How to pronounce image (audio) \ noun

Examples of image in a Sentence

Noun She studied her image in the mirror. The kids sat staring at the images on the TV screen. painters capturing images of war black-and-white images of the city His poem evokes images of the sea and warm summer days. He is trying hard to improve his image. The law suit has negatively affected the company's public image. a politician who cares more about image than about telling the truth Verb in the painting Sacagawea is imaged as an intrepid woman pointing the way for Lewis and Clark the brochure images a vacation at the resort in language that makes you want to make a reservation this instant
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After withdrawing the fiscal reform plan, further concessions to demonstrators could weaken that image. Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, "Colombia's bloody protests could be a warning to the region," 5 May 2021 But among the over 5,600 comments and nearly 4,000 shares the new cover photo has already received were plenty of critics who called the image tone-deaf. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky State Police's 'color' and 'gender' Facebook cover photo draws criticism," 5 May 2021 The lasting image of Ramparts’ second incarnation was a cover depicting a burning bank branch in Southern California. Ronald Radosh, The New Republic, "Our Friend, the Trump Propagandist," 5 May 2021 Space will be a place of violence, of struggle, of selfishness and occasional grace—a place, that is to say, that bears both the image and the brunt of flawed humanity. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Human Condition Goes to Space," 5 May 2021 The image of a child, seemingly at rest, began to emerge. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, "Scientists Discover Oldest Known Human Grave in Africa," 5 May 2021 Lawson’s adviser, the conceptual artist Sarah Charlesworth, singled out that image as special. New York Times, "The Artist Upending Photography’s Brutal Racial Legacy," 5 May 2021 Speaking of Targaryens, meanwhile, take another look at the image above of the man and woman with white hair. Andy Meek, BGR, "This is your first official look at HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel," 5 May 2021 After a year of pandemic shutdowns, racial justice protests and demonstrations that resulted in property damage, Portland’s national image has shifted. oregonlive, "Portland-filmed ‘Shrill’ brings Aidy Bryant and the cast back for an unsettled final season," 5 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The excess light doesn’t help image the sample; in fact, all that bright light may quickly burn the cell and kill it. Jen Christiansen, Scientific American, "No-Kill, High-Resolution 3-D Movies of Cells Now Possible," 21 May 2013 Some Hurons are used in the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles, pointing antennas toward the ground to capture cell phone and other wireless signals, synthetic aperture radars to image enemy locations, and other sensors. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Skunk Works Reveals Its Secret 'Speed Racer' Aircraft," 2 Mar. 2021 Valero proposed two instruments: a camera called EPIC to image clouds and other climate-influencing factors such as pollution, volcanic ash and seasonal vegetation; and a radiometer named NISTAR to measure the energy coming from Earth. Mark Zastrow, Scientific American, "Al Gore's Dream Spacecraft Gears Up for Launch," 15 Jan. 2015 The researchers hope that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope may directly image Vega and provide more evidence to backup their detection. Jamie Carter, Forbes, "Bright Star Vega, Source Of The Alien Signal In The Movie ‘Contact,’ May Have A ‘Hot Puffy Planet’ In Orbit," 11 Mar. 2021 But another technology used to image the planet, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), is heating up, following a surge in public and private satellite launches. Meagan Cantwell, Science | AAAS, "A technique to track Earth’s subtle movements with orbiting radars is heating up," 5 Mar. 2021 Some of these could image and search for signs of life on small rocky planets around Alpha Centauri as well as many other nearby stars. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Is It a Planet? Astronomers Spy Promising Potential World around Alpha Centauri," 10 Feb. 2021 On July 11, 2020, during the Parker Probe's third orbit around Venus, researchers used the WISPR instrument to image the planet. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, "NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Snaps Luminous Photo of Venus," 5 Mar. 2021 Taken together, Sentinel-1, NISAR, and the other civil satellites will image most places on Earth at least every 12 hours, Rosen says. Julia Rosen, Science | AAAS, "Fleets of radar satellites are measuring movements on Earth like never before," 25 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'image.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of image


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for image


Middle English, "effigy, figure, mental impression of something observed, reflection, resemblance," borrowed from Anglo-French, shortened from imagene, borrowed from Latin imāgin-, imāgō "representation, reflection, apparition, semblance, copy, visible form," from imā- (probably the stem of an otherwise unattested verb *imārī with the same base as imitārī "to follow as a pattern, copy") + -gin-, -gō, denominal or deverbal noun suffix — more at imitate


Middle English imagen, in part derivative of image image entry 1, in part borrowed from Middle French ymagier "to imagine," derivative of image

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Time Traveler for image

Time Traveler

The first known use of image was in the 13th century

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Statistics for image

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Image.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for image



English Language Learners Definition of image

: a picture that is produced by a camera, artist, mirror, etc.
: a mental picture : the thought of how something looks or might look
: the idea that people have about someone or something


im·​age | \ ˈi-mij How to pronounce image (audio) \

Kids Definition of image

1 : a picture or reflection of something produced by a device (as a mirror or lens) We watched the images on the screen.
2 : someone who looks very much like another She is the image of her mother.
3 : the thought of how something looks An image appeared in his head of his parents hugging each other and crying.— Louis Sachar, Holes
4 : a representation (as a picture or statue) of something
5 : an idea of what someone or something is like He has an image as a troublemaker.


im·​age | \ ˈim-ij How to pronounce image (audio) \

Medical Definition of image

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the optical counterpart of an object produced by an optical device (as a lens or mirror) or an electronic device — see real image, virtual image
b : a likeness of an object produced on a photographic material
2 : a mental picture or impression of something had a negative body image of herself : as
a(1) : a mental conception held in common by members of a group and symbolic of a basic attitude and orientation the compassionate small-town family doctor, an image that the AMA deeply admiresCurrent Biography
(2) : an idealized conception of a person and especially a parent that is formed by an infant or child, is retained in the unconscious, and influences behavior in later life the overwhelming influence of the mother image— John Messenger

called also imago

b : the memory of a perception in psychology that is modified by subsequent experience also : the representation of the source of a stimulus on a receptor mechanism


imaged; imaging

Medical Definition of image (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to call up a mental picture of : imagine
2 : to create a representation of also : to form an image of the liver was imaged the animals were anesthetized and imaged with a gamma camera — R. T. Proffitt et al.

intransitive verb

: to form an image

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