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pic·​to·​ri·​al pik-ˈtȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce pictorial (audio)
: of or relating to a painter, a painting, or the painting or drawing of pictures
pictorial perspective
: of, relating to, or consisting of pictures
pictorial records
: illustrated by pictures
pictorial weekly
: consisting of or displaying the characteristics of pictographs
: suggesting or conveying visual images
pictorial poetry
pictorially adverb
pictorialness noun


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: a periodical having much pictorial matter

Example Sentences

Adjective 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
And during the Renaissance, ornate, pictorial designs were considered markers of wealth for well-off Romans who splurged on the tiny luxuries of their time. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 18 Jan. 2023 Islamic art historians ask their students to compare these two paintings while encouraging them to slow down, look carefully, train their eyes to detect pictorial elements, and infer meaning. Christiane Gruber, The Conversation, 9 Jan. 2023 One hundred years ago the Evening Tribune published this page as a pictorial review of the major news events of 1922. San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Dec. 2022 Instagram dropped images from Vanity Fair’s fashion pictorial with five drivers and Vanity Fair posted a charming interview with the guys to its YouTube channel. Sophie Brookover, Vulture, 22 Mar. 2022 The photographer sets off these pictorial elements with dramatic skies, mostly dark but punctuated by backlighted clouds and, in one case, what appears to be a low-hanging moon. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 8 July 2022 This is slyly accomplished by—to describe a typical Smith collage—a small pictorial souvenir from popular culture coupled with a few typewritten words from, for example, a Raymond Chandler L.A. detective novel. Peter Plagens, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2022 Even a simple alphabet by the graffiti artist known as Worm is sensuously pictorial, since it’s rendered in bulbous, smeary and hot-colored letters. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2022 On a pictorial level, visually and rhythmically, the series is a pleasure. Mike Hale, New York Times, 4 Aug. 2022
Scrolling through Sisson's Instagram is now a loving pictorial of Arizona running, from the Valley canals up to Flagstaff and places in between. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 7 Aug. 2021 His direction emphasizes the pictorial over the physical. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 9 June 2021 Probert was not particularly fond of cats, but this pictorial appealed to him as an advertising logo. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, 9 Jan. 2020 The Wall preened for magazine pictorials and played the heavy in spy novels. Time, 8 Nov. 2019 As EW’s Marc Snetiker analyzed, the four pictorials probably represent either the four classical elements (water, earth, fire, air) or the four Gregorian seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter). Christian Holub, EW.com, 10 June 2019 Playboy temporarily stopped featuring nude pictorials in 2015. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, 2 May 2018 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1844, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pictorial was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near pictorial

Cite this Entry

“Pictorial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pictorial. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


: of or relating to painting or drawing
pictorial art
: consisting of or illustrated by pictures
pictorial magazines
: suggesting or communicating vivid mental images
pictorial poetry

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