pic·​to·​ri·​al | \pik-ˈtȯr-ē-əl \

Definition of pictorial 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to a painter, a painting, or the painting or drawing of pictures pictorial perspective

2a : of, relating to, or consisting of pictures pictorial records

b : illustrated by pictures pictorial weekly

c : consisting of or displaying the characteristics of pictographs

d : suggesting or conveying visual images pictorial poetry



Definition of pictorial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a periodical having much pictorial matter

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Other Words from pictorial


pictorially \ pik-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​ə-​lē \ adverb
pictorialness noun

Synonyms for pictorial

Synonyms: Adjective

delineated, graphic (also graphical), picturesque, visual, vivid

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Examples of pictorial in a Sentence


a pictorial record of the trip that photojournalist is planning to do a primarily pictorial report on the famine in Africa

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

With figures and objects materializing in space from darkness and gloom, chiaroscuro could be a pictorial metaphor for enlightenment — the proverbial light bulb moment, or the visual equivalent of something dawning on you. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "Out of the shadows and into the light: 'Chiaroscuro Woodcut' is a sleeper hit at LACMA," 5 July 2018 So the challenge Leonardo faced was finding a way to convey its drama and monumental significance in pictorial form. Robert E. Gordon, WSJ, "A Multi-Layered Drama," 13 July 2018 For the pictorial, Playboy connected Daniele with 1958 Playmate and fellow Bronx native Joyce Nizzari. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Playboy's Playmate of the Year Nina Daniele says she's a feminist: 'We’re not forced to pose nude'," 2 May 2018 Note your immediate emotional reaction: Your instincts will inform your study and strengthen your pictorial memory. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "A Beginner's Guide to Reading Tarot Cards and Understanding Their Meanings," 26 Feb. 2018 The exhibition’s final gallery, hung floor-to-ceiling with both artists’ works on paper, offers spectacular proof of how their gifted draftsmanship underpinned the pictorial powers unleashed in their painting. Mary Tompkins Lewis, WSJ, "‘Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele’ and ‘Obsession’ Reviews: More Than Apocalyptic Visions," 9 July 2018 Trying to be respectful, one immigration official hands her a pictorial schedule without words. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale," 13 June 2018 Experiments or medical tests needed graphical or pictorial output for interpretation, often from an analog oscilloscope which plotted out a voltage or current change over time. Ann Elsner, Smithsonian, "Polaroid Inventor Edwin Land Gave Us More Than Just Instant Photos," 18 May 2018 The forms draw on diverse pictorial legacies — say, a Uruguayan abstractionist like Joaquín Torres-Garcia and a Swiss one like Max Bill or a Russian like El Lissitzky. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "'Made in L.A. 2018': Why the Hammer biennial is the right show for disturbing times," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Playboy temporarily stopped featuring nude pictorials in 2015. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Playboy's Playmate of the Year Nina Daniele says she's a feminist: 'We’re not forced to pose nude'," 2 May 2018

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


1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1844, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pictorial


Late Latin pictorius, from Latin pictor painter — more at picturesque

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Statistics for pictorial

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Time Traveler for pictorial

The first known use of pictorial was in 1646

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More Definitions for pictorial



English Language Learners Definition of pictorial

: of or relating to painting or drawing

: having or using pictures


pic·​to·​ri·​al | \pik-ˈtȯr-ē-əl \

Kids Definition of pictorial

1 : of or relating to pictures pictorial art

2 : having or using pictures a pictorial magazine

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Comments on pictorial

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


playful or foolish behavior

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