pic·​ture | \ ˈpik-chər How to pronounce picture (audio) \

Definition of picture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a design or representation made by various means (such as painting, drawing, or photography)
2a : 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 : image, copy he was the picture of his father she was the very picture of health
4a : a transitory visible image or reproduction
c pictures plural : movies
6 : situation took a hard look at his financial picture


pictured; picturing\ ˈpik-​chə-​riŋ How to pronounce picture (audio) , ˈpik-​shriŋ \

Definition of picture (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to paint or draw a representation, image, or visual conception of : depict also : illustrate
2 : to describe graphically in words
3 : to form a mental image of : imagine

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Synonyms for picture

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of picture in a Sentence

Noun I hung the picture on the wall. The book has a lot of pictures. Draw a picture of your house. The staff looked at the financial picture of the company. The overall economic picture is improving. Verb I can still picture the house I grew up in. I can't picture changing jobs at this point in my life. Picture what it would be like if you didn't own a car. Can you picture him as a teacher?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Prosecutors, however, painted a more sinister picture, of someone who actively took part in wrongdoing. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Feds want 2-year sentence for ex-UAW President Williams," 4 May 2021 The Premonition paints a picture of breakthrough initiatives coming up against institutional resistance. Cody Delistraty, WSJ, "Michael Lewis’s ‘The Premonition’: A Closer Look at How the Pandemic Response Went Awry," 3 May 2021 Their board typically paints a better picture of who the best players are. Stephen Means, cleveland, "What Kye Stokes’ commitment means for Ohio State football: Buckeyes Recruiting," 3 May 2021 Charlotte's birthday isn't technically until tomorrow (May 2), but the Palace released her new birthday picture on Saturday afternoon, like an early gift to royal fans everywhere for the occasion. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Princess Charlotte Looks *So* Grown Up in Her 6th Birthday Portrait," 2 May 2021 Thus, copper paints a worrisome picture for overall inflation. Bill Conerly, Forbes, "Commodity Prices Warn Of Coming Inflation—But That’s Not Certain," 27 Apr. 2021 The report paints a stark picture of sub-Saharan Africa’s immediate future. Carlos Mureithi, Quartz, "One of the biggest challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa this year, in one chart," 26 Apr. 2021 The Associated Press paints a heartbreaking picture of hospital oxygen supplies running out, intensive care units operating at full capacity, and nearly all ventilators in use. BostonGlobe.com, "What you need to know about the deadly coronavirus surge in India," 21 Apr. 2021 The quarterly report paints a more positive picture than one issued in January that found residents weren't receiving enough programming, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lincoln Hills independent review finds improvement at Wisconsin facility for teen offenders," 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tudor, which had off-putting interiors (picture a canary yellow bedroom with a green closet and purple bath) that had scared off other prospective buyers. Grace Haynes, Southern Living, "This Decorating Duo Revived a 1940s Tudor in Knoxville With Garden-Inspired Style," 15 Apr. 2021 Girls fans might picture Shoshanna or Jessa, but the looks also align with Dunham’s modern magpie aesthetic. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "With Her Size-Inclusive 11 Honoré Collection, Lena Dunham Introduces a New Character," 7 Apr. 2021 Funnily enough, the siblings didn’t picture the Morse as a repository at first — because of its worldwide reputation in another area. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Family’s blue-and-white legacy will brighten Morse Museum," 5 Apr. 2021 Steve May can still picture the moment he was introduced to Kyrsten Sinema, nearly 20 years ago. Melanie Mason Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "For Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, being in the majority puts her maverick instincts to the test," 22 Mar. 2021 Baxter can still feel the embraces in the postgame locker room, can still picture Driesell thrusting his left fist triumphantly in the air. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Thirty five years later, Len Bias’ masterpiece in the Dean Dome remains his valedictory statement," 19 Feb. 2021 Fans know the holes and can picture memorable moments with striking clarity. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, "Masters offers storied stage, and stiff challenge, for S.F. native Will Zalatoris," 7 Apr. 2021 Well, there were a couple things Drew probably didn't picture. Dave Skretta, ajc, "Bearing down: Baylor routs Houston 78-59 to reach title game," 4 Apr. 2021 Well, there were a few things Drew probably didn't picture. Dave Skretta, Star Tribune, "Bearing down: Baylor routs Houston 78-59 to reach title game," 3 Apr. 2021

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for picture


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

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Learn More about picture

Time Traveler for picture

Time Traveler

The first known use of picture was in the 15th century

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Statistics for picture

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Picture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picture. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for picture



English Language Learners Definition of picture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



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

: 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


pic·​ture | \ ˈpik-chər How to pronounce picture (audio) \

Kids Definition of picture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an image of something or someone formed on a surface (as by drawing, painting, printing, or photography)
2 : an idea of what someone or something might look like or be like The book gives a picture of frontier life.
3 : a perfect example of something She is the picture of health.
5 : an image on the screen of a television set


pictured; picturing

Kids Definition of picture (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to show or represent in a drawing, painting, or photograph The artist pictured her leaning on a fence.
2 : to form an idea or mental image of : imagine I can't picture myself skiing.
3 : to describe in a particular way The story pictured him as a gentle person.

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