pic·​ture | \ˈpik-chər \

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

b : motion picture

c pictures plural : movies

6 : situation took a hard look at his financial picture


pictured; picturing\ˈpik-​chə-​riŋ, 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

icon (also ikon), illustration, image, likeness

Synonyms: Verb

depict, image, portray, represent

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Examples of picture in a Sentence


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.


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

Within moments after touching down, InSight took a picture of the red planet's surface, with its hazy atmosphere in the background. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA does it again by landing safely on Mars—something no one else has done," 26 Nov. 2018 Next time take a picture of the page with your phone and leave the library books intact for the community to enjoy! Seattle Times Readers, The Seattle Times, "Rant & Rave: Recipe ripped out of library book," 20 Nov. 2018 At the top, Visich insisted on taking a picture where, despite the altitude and snow, the men stripped to the waist, and the women wore bright sports bras. Ben Guarino, The Verge, "An academic reported sexual harassment. Her university allegedly retaliated," 12 Nov. 2018 In fact, Prince Harry was the one who took the picture! Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Broke Royal Protocol and Took a Picture with Her "Mini Me"," 18 Oct. 2018 The pair took a picture together and fans of the classic sitcom loved the mini-reunion. Temi Adebowale, Town & Country, "Henry Winkler and Ron Howard Had a Happy Days Reunion at the Emmys," 18 Sep. 2018 Disney's tech-skewering 3D-animation series, Wreck-It Ralph, leans into a misleading subtitle for its first motion-picture sequel: Ralph Breaks the Internet. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Wreck-It Ralph 2 review: Everything we wish Ready Player One had been," 21 Nov. 2018 There is a cool picture about that, but that’s about the extent of that. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: RevUp CEO Steve Spinner on Recode Decode," 12 Nov. 2018 This kids' picture features Dracula and a gang of other classic horror characters teaming up to take over the world. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 29 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, pictured earlier this year, said to a gathering of investors in London Wednesday. Ruth Bender, WSJ, "Bayer Lays Out Plans in Hopes of Easing Investor Headaches," 5 Dec. 2018 But, did Zayn really actually just confirmed the precious cargo the two men pictured were hauling? Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Zayn Malik Potentially Revealed the Truth About a Famous Taylor Swift Conspiracy Theory," 15 Nov. 2018 As for the corner of your living room, taller, low-light picks like rubber plant (pictured) or dragon tree would do the trick. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "QUIZ: Answer These Questions and We’ll Tell You Your Houseplant Soulmate," 21 Aug. 2018 Since the town of Wind Gap, Missouri, isn't a real place, the town pictured is actually Barnesville, Georgia. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "See the Victorian Mansion-Inspired Sets Where 'Sharp Objects' Was Filmed," 5 Aug. 2018 There is positive news regarding Dann however, with the defender having been pictured doing some training with a football including heading practice. SI.com, "Crystal Palace Star Edging Closer to First Team Return as Rehab Continues After Serious Knee Injury," 11 July 2018 Throughout the evening, partygoers posed with quirky props in a photo booth against a vintage black-and-white backdrop picturing the theater, shopped a silent auction, sipped Moscow Mules from a specialty bar and took their chances on a wine raffle. Candace Jordan, chicagotribune.com, "Devil's Ball fires up support for Auditorium Theatre," 10 July 2018 The latter is a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., who’s pictured leading peaceful protests as U2 reach for the rafters with their most mega non-Joshua anthem. Kenneth Partridge, Billboard, "U2 Brings Experience + Innocence to New York's Madison Square Garden," 26 June 2018 Tim Leissner, pictured, had attempted to get Jho Low an account with Goldman’s private bank in Switzerland, but was turned down because of compliance concerns. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Goldman Sachs’s Ex-CEO Lloyd Blankfein Met Malaysian at Center of 1MDB Scandal," 9 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for picture

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for picture

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

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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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on picture

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with picture

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for picture

Spanish Central: Translation of picture

Nglish: Translation of picture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of picture for Arabic Speakers

Comments on picture

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


living or existing for a long time

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