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

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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This end-to-end tactic enables a holistic zero-trust approach to SaaS security that is only now coming into the picture. Maor Bin, Forbes, 10 Aug. 2022 Released in 1994, the original film went on to sweep the Oscars, taking six trophies including best picture and best actor for Tom Hanks. Hilary Fox, ajc, 10 Aug. 2022 With food and energy removed from the picture—prices in those categories can be volatile—CPI was up at a lower rate of 5.9%. WSJ, 10 Aug. 2022 Benson rejected criticism that this framing gave a misleading, one-sided picture of the project. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Aug. 2022 Brown has a picture of Joshua on the lock screen of his phone. Michael Lev, The Arizona Republic, 9 Aug. 2022 There isn't a postage stamp in circulation with John Adams' picture on it. CBS News, 9 Aug. 2022 During Tuesday’s viewing window — which, again, is just a brief 25-minute glimpse into the overall picture for Auburn — Finley looked like the most consistent of Auburn’s quarterbacks. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, 9 Aug. 2022 After the two were spotted out and about a few times, Ora appeared to confirm their romance in an Instagram post in April 2021, posting a picture of herself being embraced by Waititi in a carousel of photos. Carrie Wittmer, Glamour, 9 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To picture the Buzz, imagine that a Toyota Sienna got pregnant by a Tesla. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 Kimberly Rubio keeps trying to picture the classroom through her 10-year-old daughter Lexi’s eyes, haunted by the different ways that May day could have ended. Ellie Silverman, Washington Post, 13 July 2022 Can’t picture Starfield launching with a bunch of holo-billboards for real-life companies, for instance. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 Nonetheless, Coontz said, sometime in the 20th century, there arose a cultural ideal that the moment of a proposal should be surprising—picture a man presenting a ring to a woman whose mouth is agape and whose hands are on her cheeks. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 6 July 2022 If an employee can picture themselves in others’ shoes, the dispute has a better chance of deescalating. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Just picture the Jersey skipper at the pontoon’s helm, cocktail in hand, riding to a rollicking good time on the Cape Coral currents. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 2 July 2022 The designer and philanthropist asked audience members to close their eyes and picture a world in which all women can embrace their ambition. Madison Feller, ELLE, 16 June 2022 Close your eyes and picture yourself taking a deep belly breath with a panoramic view of the San Juan Mountains after a long, satisfying day of hiking, fly-fishing, Kirtan chanting, and your fifth massage of the week. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Travel + Leisure, 29 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of picture


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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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Time Traveler for picture

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

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Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Picture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picture. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for picture


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on picture

Nglish: Translation of picture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of picture for Arabic Speakers


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