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 In races that often cost incumbents millions of dollars, such contributions account for just a small fraction of the overall fundraising picture. Josh Boak, Star Tribune, "Business grows skittish about Trump and GOP after riots," 11 Jan. 2021 It's based on a picture of Archer Alexander, who was born into slavery. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Statue of Formerly Enslaved Man Kneeling Before President Lincoln Is Removed in Boston," 30 Dec. 2020 While taking Lawrence is out of the picture, the Jets will have options. Dennis Waszak Jr., courant.com, "Late-season surge has Jets sitting in No. 2 spot in draft," 28 Dec. 2020 Tennessee could also drop to a wild-card spot, or even fall completely out of the playoff picture. Daniel Oyefusi, baltimoresun.com, "Where do the Ravens stand in the AFC playoff race after their win over the Giants?," 28 Dec. 2020 Despite a recent surge, the Bears (7-7) are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. New York Times, "N.F.L. Week 16 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread," 24 Dec. 2020 Even with politics out of the picture, his patriotism would shine through. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Art museum founder, elegant party host Michael Mennello dies at 87," 19 Dec. 2020 For the record: A photo caption in Wednesday’s newsletter incorrectly identified the subjects of a picture accompanying the story about the new Eagle Rock restaurant Chifa. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Vaccinations begin," 15 Dec. 2020 London members of Parliament were being briefed by health officials on the pandemic picture in the city on Monday morning. Alex Morales, Bloomberg.com, "London Mayor Wants Schools to Close to Stem Tide of Coronavirus," 14 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Writing much of his dialogue in the Glasgow patter, Stuart has an ear for the city’s particular blend of warmth, savagery, and wit, even as his story’s more shocking scenes picture a generation devastated by very specific social circumstances. Liam Hess, Vogue, "The Beauty and Brutality of Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain," 8 Dec. 2020 Well, picture your average charcuterie board filled with meat, cheeses, and other salty snacks, and swap them for all things sweet. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Hot Cocoa Charcuterie Boards Are Now a Thing, and They Look Delicious," 10 Dec. 2020 People thinking of tax or financial havens tend to picture Monaco or Panama, while Wilmington lacks either super yachts or a signature hat. New York Times, "After Centuries of Obscurity, Wilmington Is Having a Moment," 6 Dec. 2020 As the poem says, picture your feelings as little guests in your house. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Partner projects feelings of sadness on girlfriend, family," 16 Nov. 2020 Reader can picture themselves in a similar situation, and that adds to the suspense. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "Review: Ruth Ware brings chills with isolated locked door mystery 'One by One'," 9 Sep. 2020 For the sentimental one: A personalized puzzle Is there a family picture your giftee absolutely loves? Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "15 unique puzzles that would make great gifts this year," 4 Dec. 2020 Off the top of his head, Jerolmack could picture a few real-world fractured rocks that didn’t look like rectangles or cubes at all but could still be classified into this larger space. Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Uncover the Universal Geometry of Geology," 19 Nov. 2020 Just picture all of this indoor winter magic amid the backdrop of a roaring fire. Amy Mitchell, Country Living, "When Is the First Day of Winter in 2020?," 16 Nov. 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

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Picture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picture. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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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