\ ˈpānt How to pronounce paint (audio) \
painted; painting; paints

Definition of paint

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to apply color, pigment, or paint to
(2) : to color with a cosmetic
b(1) : to apply with a movement resembling that used in painting
(2) : to treat with a liquid by brushing or swabbing paint the wound with iodine
2a(1) : to produce in lines and colors on a surface by applying pigments
(2) : to depict by such lines and colors
b : to decorate, adorn, or variegate by applying lines and colors
c : to produce or evoke as if by painting paints glowing pictures of the farm
3 : to touch up or cover over by or as if by painting
4 : to depict as having specified or implied characteristics paints them whiter than the evidence justifies— Oliver La Farge

intransitive verb

1 : to practice the art of painting
2 : to use cosmetics



Definition of paint (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action of painting : something produced by painting
2 : makeup especially : a cosmetic to add color
3a(1) : a mixture of a pigment and a suitable liquid to form a closely adherent coating when spread on a surface in a thin coat
(2) : the pigment used in this mixture especially when in the form of a cake a box of paints
b : an applied coating of paint
4 or paint horse : a horse marked with patches of white and another color : pinto specifically : american paint horse
6 : color manipulation on a computer screen in a manner reminiscent of painting usually used before another noun a paint program

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Examples of paint in a Sentence

Verb I need to paint the bookcase. We're going to paint the room yellow. The classroom wall was painted with clouds and rainbows. He painted that portrait of his wife. She painted the landscape on a square canvas. I like to draw and my sister likes to paint. The beauty of the world inspires me to paint. He paints mostly in oils. The study paints a bleak picture of the effects of pollution on animal life. Noun Apply paint to the canvas in a series of short strokes. I need more blue paint. The old walls are coated with several layers of paint. a can of latex paint The house needs a fresh coat of paint. The store sells many different paints. Did you chip the paint? The car's paint is cracking.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the last several years, the fossil fuel industry has tried to paint itself as being on a smooth path toward a clean energy future. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "The World Is Waking Up to the Truth That Natural Gas Is Dirty," 7 May 2021 Moyle posits that Anne, or perhaps Cromwell, commissioned Holbein to paint her in a different light. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "Presumed Portrait of Catherine Howard May Actually Depict Anne of Cleves," 7 May 2021 Others, such as Walker and Rep. Ted Budd, a member of the House Freedom Caucus who is also considering a run, are likely to paint themselves deeper into the realm of the former president. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Lara Trump decision looms over GOP nomination fight for open North Carolina Senate seat," 18 Apr. 2021 Throughout the Noor trial, prosecutors sought to paint him as an undisciplined rookie who had violated his training at the Police Academy. Libor Jany, Star Tribune, "Chauvin case draws inevitable comparisons to another high-profile police murder trial," 27 Mar. 2021 In perhaps the closest parallels to whiteflies, aphids snatched DNA from fungi to paint themselves in a rosy red hue, and caterpillars burglarized bacteria to protect themselves from the cyanides in certain plants. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "Whiteflies Pulled Off a Grand Genetic Heist," 25 Mar. 2021 Keep the beads natural to add a touch of farmhouse style to your room or paint them to match your existing decor. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Make a Wood Bead Chandelier for Under $100," 22 Mar. 2021 Meghan cry days before her wedding only to paint herself as the victim to British tabloids. Ineye Komonibo,, "Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Interview With Oprah Just Changed The Royal Family’s Reputation Forever," 8 Mar. 2021 But the fact that someone’s willing to paint themselves as a monster to win a debate point is kind of weird. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "Yes, Chainmail Is Really Hard to Draw," 5 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Quite frankly, he's injured now because of the open season that there's been on Zion Williamson in the paint. Dan Gelston, ajc, "Pelicans' Williamson out indefinitely with fractured finger," 7 May 2021 The Cavaliers stayed close by shooting 48.1% and getting 18 points in the paint. oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers look forward to returning home following 141-105 win at the Cleveland Cavaliers: Game rewind," 6 May 2021 Churning out 74 bench points and 60 points in the paint, Atlanta has seven players reach double figures in spitting its home-away series with Phoenix. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns wilt under Atlanta Hawks' offensive explosion in 32-point loss," 5 May 2021 And Utah wound up outscoring San Antonio 66-46 on points in the paint, in spite of the vast majority of the Spurs’ shots coming in the midrange. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert builds a fortress down low that fatigued Spurs give up trying to penetrate," 3 May 2021 Antetokounmpo finished with 32 points and scored six of his 10 field goals inside the paint, but also missed five shots within 10 feet. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "Clippers look like a different team in blowing out Bucks for sixth straight win," 29 Mar. 2021 Santos-Silva’s six points, on 3-5 shooting, were the only points Tech was able to score inside the paint. Dallas News, "3 takeaways from Texas Tech’s first-round win: Defense the key to victory for the Red Raiders," 19 Mar. 2021 Star of the game: Kyle dominated inside the paint early and finished with a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, including four offensive boards. Bill Lumpkin Iii, al, "Decatur Heritage routs Jacksonville Christian for 1A regional basketball title," 24 Feb. 2021 Memphis’ Ja Morant, maybe the league’s fastest point guard but also one of the position’s least reliable shooters from deep, was zooming into the paint at will and knocking down a career-high-tying four three-pointers. Houston Mitchell Assistant Sports Editor, Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: Short-handed Clippers defeat Grizzlies," 22 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paint.' 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 paint


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for paint


Middle English, from Anglo-French paint, peint, past participle of peindre, from Latin pingere to tattoo, embroider, paint; akin to Old English fāh variegated, Greek poikilos variegated, pikros sharp, bitter

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Learn More about paint

Time Traveler for paint

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for paint

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Paint.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for paint



English Language Learners Definition of paint

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cover (something) with paint : to put paint on (something)
: to make (a picture or design) by using paints
: to describe (someone or something) in a particular way



English Language Learners Definition of paint (Entry 2 of 2)

: a liquid that dries to form a thin colored layer when it is spread on a surface
: a layer of dried paint on a surface


\ ˈpānt How to pronounce paint (audio) \
painted; painting

Kids Definition of paint

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cover a surface with or as if with paint I'm painting the wall.
2 : to make a picture or design by using paints
3 : to describe clearly The report painted an encouraging picture of restored habitats.

Other Words from paint

painter noun



Kids Definition of paint (Entry 2 of 2)

: a mixture of coloring matter with a liquid that forms a dry coating when spread on a surface

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