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

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 Public health experts say that can make for impressive-looking testing totals but does not give a true picture of how the virus is spreading. The Christian Science Monitor, "Can you trust COVID-19 test data? In these states, maybe not.," 21 May 2020 The report also brings up a worrying trend: Health officials in at least four states have been combining Covid-19 data on diagnostic tests and antibody tests, which skews results and potentially gives a muddied picture of the virus' spread. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for May 21: Pandemic, testing, economy, Amphan, Roe v. Wade," 21 May 2020 Public health experts say that can make for impressive-looking testing totals but does not give a true picture of how the virus is spreading. Author: Michelle R. Smith, Colleen Long, Jeff Amy, Anchorage Daily News, "States accused of fudging or bungling COVID-19 testing data," 20 May 2020 Public health experts say that can make for impressive-looking testing totals but does not give a true picture of how the virus is spreading. BostonGlobe.com, "Coronavirus patients to be allowed visitors in N.Y.," 19 May 2020 Overall, the three studies paint a consistent picture: across countries, the restrictions being put in place by governments are effective to slow the pandemic. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "3 different countries, 1 result: Stay-at-home orders work," 18 May 2020 But O’Mara says the homeowner’s call to 911 paints a different picture. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Family Of Teen Killed In Florida Shooting Retain Zimmerman Lawyer For Representation," 13 May 2020 After midnight, projections based on actual vote counts should start giving a clearer picture. Alessandro Speciale, Bloomberg.com, "Italy Regions Vote in Test of Salvini Surge: Election Day Guide," 10 May 2020 The distance of time gives a more accurate picture of the work, which may have been released during an congruent era. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "10 great ‘bad’ albums by legendary rock bands," 8 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pence, tasked with leading the Coronavirus Task Force instantly sparked criticism online when he was pictured without a mask near masked staff members and a masked patient at the Mayo Clinic. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Pence forgoes a face mask at Mayo Clinic, appearing to violate policy," 29 Apr. 2020 The one pictured above has a body of orange Australian opossum, purchased years ago from the late Fran Betters, who invented the Haystack at his fly shop in the Adirondacks. Morgan Lyle, Field & Stream, "9 Simple Flies for Catching Early-Season Trout," 30 Mar. 2020 Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health (not pictured): the testing guy. Lev Facher, STAT, "‘A number of new stars’: The definitive guide to the Trump administration’s coronavirus response team," 20 Mar. 2020 Rumors of their engagement spread that month when Stone was pictured with a diamond on her ring finger. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, "Emma Stone and Dave McCary are engaged! Here's a timeline of their relationship," 5 Dec. 2019 But according to the Mirror, the 29-year-old is on the verge of what would be a shock move to Super Lig club Trabzonspor after he was pictured at a local airport. SI.com, "Daniel Sturridge Pictured in Turkey Ahead of Move to Trabzonspor," 20 Aug. 2019 This is very easy to do when picturing a partner or child, a parent or dear friend. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "There’s a mindfulness exercise that the strongest leaders need to try," 31 July 2019 Cooke, drawing on his Jesuit training, recalls an image of St. Ignatius Loyola, in which the order's founder is pictured leaning into the wind. Patricia Montemurri, Detroit Free Press, "Clida Ellison, fixture at Gesu, mother of lawyers, doctor and a ground-breaking politician," 10 May 2020 Our reporter suggests picturing the pandemic as a wave that keeps going. Penn Bullock, New York Times, "Jobs Report, Ahmaud Arbery, Mother’s Day: Your Friday Evening Briefing," 8 May 2020

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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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

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Picture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picture. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for picture


How to pronounce picture (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for picture

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with picture

Spanish Central: Translation of picture

Nglish: Translation of picture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of picture for Arabic Speakers

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