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 Medium Skies should partially clear on Saturday and, with a little luck, showers should be out of the picture. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 Finally redux: Was any sourdough bread harmed during the making of this picture? Maya Singer, Vogue, 9 June 2021 The couple’s relationship ended in 1916—a fact that may have led the artist to literally paint his ex-lover out of the picture. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 June 2021 In a picture from January 2020, Menk is seen canoodling with a woman. Natalie Morin, refinery29.com, 8 June 2021 Try to focus on your subject’s eye — it’s the most important part of the picture to be in focus. Ciarra Luster, orlandosentinel.com, 6 June 2021 The timestamp merely indicates the date and time of the picture. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 5 June 2021 Think of the iconic picture of teenage Bill Clinton shaking hands with John F. Kennedy. Patrick Condon, Star Tribune, 5 June 2021 Levin explores that question with a level head — looking at both sides of the picture. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 5 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When Americans think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, many still picture the period known as the Second Intifada, when Israeli tanks crashed through Palestinian towns and Palestinian bombs detonated in Israeli cafes and buses. New York Times, 24 May 2021 It’s not so hard to picture the worst days of 2020 now. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, 23 May 2021 DuPay can picture the scene at Manning’s home that day in September 1975. oregonlive, 3 May 2021 When most people close their eyes and picture a family, there’s usually a mother, a father, a couple of kids, maybe a dog and a white picket fence. Udi Ledergor, Quartz, 27 Apr. 2021 Perhaps being able to picture his birth parents without the Pearsons, as opposed to strangers and the Pearsons, will help Randall's healing. Amanda Ostuni, EW.com, 14 Apr. 2021 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, 15 Apr. 2021 Girls fans might picture Shoshanna or Jessa, but the looks also align with Dunham’s modern magpie aesthetic. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 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, 5 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

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Picture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picture. Accessed 13 Jun. 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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