portray

play
verb por·tray \pȯr-ˈtrā, pər-\

Definition of portray

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make a picture of :  depict

  3. 2a :  to describe in wordsb :  to play the role of :  enact

portrayer

noun

Examples of portray in a Sentence

  1. The White House has portrayed the President as deeply conflicted over the matter.

  2. The lawyer portrayed his client as a victim of child abuse.

  3. He portrayed himself as a victim.

  4. The painting portrays the queen in a purple robe.

  5. Laurence Olivier portrayed Hamlet beautifully.

Recent Examples of portray from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'portray'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of portray

Middle English portraien, from Anglo-French purtraire, from Latin protrahere to draw forth, reveal, expose — more at protract

Other Fine Arts Terms


PORTRAY Defined for English Language Learners

portray

play
verb

Definition of portray for English Language Learners

  • : to describe (someone or something) in a particular way

  • : to show (someone or something) in a painting, book, etc.

  • : to play (a character) in a film, play, or television show


PORTRAY Defined for Kids

portray

play
verb por·tray \pȯr-ˈtrā\

Definition of portray for Students

portrayed

;

portraying

  1. 1 :  to make a portrait of The artist portrayed the young queen.

  2. 2 :  to describe in words or words and images The story portrays frontier life.

  3. 3 :  to play the role of He portrays the hero in a movie.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up portray? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

sad or melancholy

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!