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por·​trait ˈpȯr-trət How to pronounce portrait (audio)
: picture
especially : a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face
: a sculptured figure : bust
: a graphic portrayal in words


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: of, relating to, or being a rectangular document having the vertical dimension longer than the horizontal dimension
switching from landscape to portrait mode
compare landscape sense 3

Examples of portrait in a Sentence

Noun The queen posed for her portrait. The book presents a portrait of life in a small town.
Recent Examples on the Web
The portrait is in my office in my apartment in Rome. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 26 Nov. 2023 Compared with Lower Delmas and G9 areas, the graffiti is less revolutionary, more West Coast gangsta; there are portraits of 2Pac and Ice Cube. Jason Motlagh, Rolling Stone, 26 Nov. 2023 The couple’s love story is featured prominently in American Symphony, which paints a portrait of their lives leading up to the September 2022 debut of Batiste’s original symphony at Carnegie Hall. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 The book’s close-up portraits and biographies constitute a chronicle of Black Washington. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 But the historian deftly navigates these gaps in the archives, interrogating the colonialist bias of the records available to present a fuller portrait of cultural exchange at a pivotal moment in world history. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Nov. 2023 The outside of East Iris Studios in Nashville, Tennessee is peppered with portraits of Prince, Tom Petty, Fats Domino, Janis Joplin, Outkast, and other legends who’ve left an indelible imprint on music. Kyle Eustice, SPIN, 16 Nov. 2023 As Arn must know, however, the family portrait was produced shortly after the death of Degas’s aunt’s father. Condé Nast, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 The royal tapped ten artists from around the world to capture portraits of ten pioneering members of the Windrush Generation, which became shorthand for those who relocated to the United Kingdom between 1948 and 1973, especially from Caribbean countries. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 13 Nov. 2023
The small park behind Tahrir Square has been divided by tents, one of which has become a steadily expanding portrait gallery with photographs of those who have been killed by the security forces. Alissa J. Rubin, New York Times, 3 Feb. 2020 Yet for all the darkness, there’s a welcome and important dose of levity too, from a hilarious video of a beauty products fair by María Luisa Bemberg to Regina Vater’s playful, costumed self-portrait photographs. New York Times, 4 July 2018 Arneson sets the tone through a ceramic self-portrait head from 1973, wall-mounted near the entry. Leah Ollman, latimes.com, 3 July 2018 In portrait orientation, the left side of the bottom bar only has space for about three to four app icons. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, 23 June 2018 And even though the demand for photographers in traditional media has declined, there’s still a high-demand for commercial and portrait photographers. Jenny Knizner, USA TODAY, 4 June 2018 Dorothea Tanning’s self-portrait Birthday (1942) shows her bare-breasted, standing with a small winged monster with her back to a house full of open doors. Thomas Hine, Philly.com, 12 Apr. 2018 The heads presage a self-portrait print from 1990, displayed nearby, as well as the soft fabric figurative sculptures that Bourgeois took up in the late ’90s. Roberta Smith, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2017 Portrait sessions for families whose memories were stolen by the wind. Southern Living, 1 May 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'portrait.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle French, from past participle of portraire

First Known Use


1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of portrait was in 1570

Dictionary Entries Near portrait

Cite this Entry

“Portrait.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portrait. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a picture of a person usually showing the face
: a portrayal in words

More from Merriam-Webster on portrait

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