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 picturing (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

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

But two league sources said that Caldwell was actually taking more of a hands-off, bigger-picture approach to coaching the quarterbacks. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, "With two weeks left in NFL training camps, several teams still unsettled at quarterback," 17 Aug. 2019 Now double it: picture, across a 360-metre-wide canal, its mirror image. The Economist, "Climate change is a remorseless threat to the world’s coasts," 17 Aug. 2019 Ivey lists Edward Hopper, James McNeil Whistler and J.M.W. Turner as his principal inspirations for these pictures, made between 1988 and this year. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: At two Washington spaces, art of a political caliber," 16 Aug. 2019 Known for pushing big-picture initiatives to increase diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math and increase the rate of drug development, Collins, observers say, has been one of the most influential directors ever to shape NIH. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Francis Collins’ decade, the upside of melting Arctic ice, and ‘ethical’ eggs," 16 Aug. 2019 Though that’s positive for his big-picture growth, the arrival of DeSean Jackson rekindles the inner downfield playmaker in Wentz, who is one of football’s best, particularly from within the pocket. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "DeSean Jackson Adds Value to the Eagles' Downfield Passing Attack," 15 Aug. 2019 That’s small-picture stuff, just like most of that put out there is. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde5: Will this scheduling note play into Dolphins’ QB decision?," 15 Aug. 2019 The free event will include tours of the history center, information on the history of Park Ridge from its beginnings as Pennyville, and pictures, artifacts and exhibits. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "What’s happening in Park Ridge: Vine Street BBQ returns to Hodges Park; ‘Bubble Run’ supports cancer foundation," 14 Aug. 2019 Just picture opening up your luggage to find all of your packed necessities labeled in perfect monochrome. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Off-White's Monochrome Pouches Are the Packing Cubes We Didn't Know We Needed," 13 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Um Mazen and her husband run a small supermarket (pictured above) in northern Gaza. The Economist, "How to eat well while living under siege," 2 Aug. 2019 To read more about the Sportsmobile van pictured above, head over here. Megan Barber, Curbed, "7 van conversion companies that can build your dream camper," 24 Sep. 2018 Baby Simba is quite the cutie (pictured above), as is the kid version of his best friend and future partner, Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph). Sonia Rao, Washington Post, "How do the ‘Lion King’ movies compare? A closer look at 6 key elements.," 19 July 2019 The Volta, pictured above, is Byar Bicycle’s first e-bike. Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "Byar Volta is a shaft-driven e-bike that might never need charging," 17 July 2019 The Panna Meena Ka Kund stepwell (pictured above), also near Jaipur, is another elaborate masterpiece. The Economist, "India’s magnificent stepwells are relics of a nuanced history," 13 July 2019 The pair has turned the farmhouse into the four-room South Harbor Inn (pictured above). Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Visit in August," 26 June 2019 A few of these colonial flags, some carried into battle during the Revolution, are pictured above. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Flag Day," 14 June 2019 The Aspen inn offers al fresco dining at 11,212 feet (pictured above) or near the pool with views of a living wall of flowers, unarguably the retreat's pièce de résistance. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "8 of the Most Beautiful Hotel Gardens in North America," 2 Oct. 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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Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

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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 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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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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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