portray

verb

por·​tray pȯr-ˈtrā How to pronounce portray (audio)
pər-
portrayed; portraying; portrays

transitive verb

1
: to make a picture of : depict
2
a
: to describe in words
b
: to play the role of : enact
portrayer noun

Examples of portray in a Sentence

The White House has portrayed the President as deeply conflicted over the matter. The lawyer portrayed his client as a victim of child abuse. He portrayed himself as a victim. The painting portrays the queen in a purple robe. Laurence Olivier portrayed Hamlet beautifully.
Recent Examples on the Web And Cohen, as the face of the network, has drawn particular scrutiny, portrayed by his detractors in lawsuits and in interviews as a reality TV Svengali who pits women against one another. Stacy Perman, Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2024 The Israeli soldiers at Al-Shifa on Sunday portrayed the raid as a success. Patrick Kingsley Avishag Shaar-Yashuv, New York Times, 2 Apr. 2024 Frank Vitale, a commercial digital artist in Phoenix, has been working as a freelancer for 25 years, helping businesses portray their products or services in ways that help educate customers, employees or others. The Arizona Republic, 2 Apr. 2024 Prior to the Prime Video series, the actor portrayed the lovable Ambrose Spellman, Sabrina’s (Kiernan Shipka) cousin, in Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Christy Piña, The Hollywood Reporter, 30 Mar. 2024 Jaafar is playing Michael in an upcoming biopic Jermaine's son Jaafar is continuing the Jackson family legacy in a unique way: by portraying his late uncle in the upcoming biopic Michael. Haley Van Horn, Peoplemag, 30 Mar. 2024 Some depict Biblical scenes, including one portraying Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and another with an image of baby Jesus. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 28 Mar. 2024 There are also appearances by actors portraying Snap, Crackle, and Pop, Chef Boyardee, and an accent-heavy impression of John F. Kennedy. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 28 Mar. 2024 The landscapes portray ideas as much as places, and high-tech fact as much as fiction. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 22 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of portray was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near portray

Cite this Entry

“Portray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portray. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

portray

verb
por·​tray pōr-ˈtrā How to pronounce portray (audio)
pȯr-
1
: to make a portrait of
2
a
: to describe in words
b
: to play the role of
portrayer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on portray

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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