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

The fashion designer most recently celebrated her soccer star husband on Father’s Day with a sweet picture of him with their three youngest kids. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "David and Victoria Beckham Celebrate 20th Wedding Anniversary with Epic Throwback Photos," 4 July 2019 Salesmen traveled the country with pictures rather than hauling a weighty inventory. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "With this glittering display of silver, a Providence rags-to-riches tale," 3 July 2019 Some came in clear plastic bags without branding; others, from Jobst, the company started by Conrad, were packaged in flat little boxes with pictures of beautiful young models on coffee dates and at business meetings. Andrea Denhoed, The New Yorker, "A Word of Thanks for My Compression Socks," 2 July 2019 Huawei as defender of intellectual property rights is at odds with the picture of the company some of its competitors have painted over the years. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Surprise! Huawei Can Actually Innovate—and Win Fans," 1 July 2019 Both Ertz and Bird took to Twitter on Friday to celebrate the USWNT's victory with pictures of their significant others, Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe, respectively. Alaa Abdeldaiem, SI.com, "Zach Ertz and Sue Bird in Awe of Their USWNT Stars," 28 June 2019 Inside the house, the walls were filled with pictures of Kenton from before the explosion — sky-diving, motorcycle-riding, accepting a Sailor of the Year award, posing with family. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A bomb blast, a phone call and a Navy family forever changed," 28 June 2019 After a picture of ranch dressing-flavored Pop-Tarts tossed out the idea on social media, Hidden Valley Ranch was all in on whipping up such a snack. Frances Yue, USA TODAY, "Sorry, ranch dressing-flavored Pop-Tarts won't become a thing, Kellogg says," 28 June 2019 Sara announced the exciting news on her Instagram along with three adorable pictures of her baby boy. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Where Is Sara Haines? Here's What Will Happen to 'Strahan and Sara' Now That She's on Maternity Leave," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Voters can picture Warren crushing Trump on the debate stage. Natalie Gontcharova, refinery29.com, "Here's What Women Actually Want To Hear About In The Democratic Debates," 25 June 2019 Troop members not pictured are Brooke Sutherland, Maggie Burger and Renee Roberts. Ramona Sentinel, "Girl Scouts help seniors provide food for their pets," 24 June 2019 In photos shared on social media, Ibeneme says he is pictured with friends and colleagues pinning the medal on him, rather than African Union officials. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "As Ebola takes hold in DRC, a Nigerian doctor reminds us of the sacrifices made in West Africa’s crisis," 21 June 2019 The copycat paradox Take the iconic Chanel 2.55 handbag (pictured above). Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Every invention you use has one thing in common," 18 June 2019 For years, Licia Ronzulli, an Italian member of the European Parliament, was regularly pictured with her young daughter on her lap. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "Countries are finally having to confront the idea of giving politicians parental leave," 14 June 2019 On Tuesday, prosecutors in Stuttgart, Germany, raided Porsche's headquarters, reportedly including the offices of CEO Oliver Blume (pictured above), chief financial officer Lutz Meschke, and HR chief Andreas Haffner. Jens Meiners, Car and Driver, "Porsche CEO's Office Raided by German Prosecutors," 29 May 2019 But the most important piece of this leaderboard is not pictured here. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "The Most Interesting Things I Found On Baseball-Reference Monday Night," 18 June 2019 There's also a whole slew of Sharks and Jets not pictured, played by legends like Rita Moreno (who portrayed Anita in the 1961 movie) and dancers like Maddie Ziegler. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "The First Look At Your New Tony, Maria & The Gang Is Finally Here," 18 June 2019

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

9 Jul 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).


to complain fretfully

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