por·​trait | \ ˈpȯr-trət How to pronounce portrait (audio) , -ˌtrāt \

Definition of portrait

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : picture especially : a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face
2 : a sculptured figure : bust
3 : a graphic portrayal in words



Definition of portrait (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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: Noun The portrait featured, against a patterned backdrop, a man in a polished white suit and thick-rimmed glasses delicately presenting a single flower to the viewer. Jacqui Palumbo, CNN, 29 Apr. 2022 The artist’s signature places the portrait in the French capital in the year before the Revolution. Cynthia Saltzman, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 A year later Warhol, with his manager Fred Hughes and Cola-cello, traveled to Tehran for the portrait sitting. Cyrill Matter, Town & Country, 28 Apr. 2022 The portrait of the collector painted in the film is multifaceted: as touched upon throughout its 92-minute run time, a vinyl collector is not only the stereotypical overweight, stringy-haired honkey male. Mike Postalakis, SPIN, 27 Apr. 2022 Vicuna painted the portrait while the family was in exile after the violent military coup in Chile against President Salvador Allende. Colleen Barry, ajc, 25 Apr. 2022 The portrait shows Her Majesty standing in between two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 20 Apr. 2022 This time, foster son Jamar was featured in the image to round out the then-and-now family portrait. Antonia Debianchi, PEOPLE.com, 20 Apr. 2022 So much so that, in 2021, the museum exhibited the gown alongside the portrait. Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 19 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'portrait.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of portrait


1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1975, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for portrait


Middle French, from past participle of portraire

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Time Traveler for portrait

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The first known use of portrait was in 1570

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Dictionary Entries Near portrait

Port Phillip Bay


portrait attachment

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Statistics for portrait

Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Portrait.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portrait. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for portrait


por·​trait | \ ˈpȯr-trət How to pronounce portrait (audio) , -ˌtrāt \

Kids Definition of portrait

: a picture of a person usually showing the face

More from Merriam-Webster on portrait

Nglish: Translation of portrait for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of portrait for Arabic Speakers


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