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

Definition of portray

transitive verb

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

Other Words from portray

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 Morocco sought in recent decades to portray itself as a standout in the region on human rights, beginning in the 1990s when the late king Hassan II — known for his brutal repression of dissidents — began to soften his rule. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 Across Arizona, Republican candidates tried to draw on the conflict to portray themselves as defenders of children. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 28 July 2022 And also just trying to portray him as honestly as possible. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 26 July 2022 The equivocation left the door open for political opponents to portray her as a flip-flopper. Stacey Barchenger, The Arizona Republic, 12 July 2022 Officials in Tehran confirmed Mora's visit, seeking to portray it as proof of Iran's diplomatic engagement and attention to economic problems. Nasser Karimi, ajc, 10 May 2022 Vucic, a former ultranationalist who has boasted of his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has sought to portray himself as a guarantor of stability amid the turmoil raging in Europe due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NBC News, 4 Apr. 2022 Beyond policy announcements, though, the moment, staged at the shuttered Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, is intended to carry symbolic weight and portray the president on the cusp of bold moves. Sabrina Shankman, BostonGlobe.com, 19 July 2022 The film will aim to document the late English singer’s spectacular rise and fall, and Twitter was instantly abuzz with speculations around which actor will portray the iconic singer-songwriter (a current fan-favorite? Christian Allaire, Vogue, 14 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of portray

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for portray

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

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Time Traveler for portray

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for portray

Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Portray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portray. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for portray


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

Kids Definition of portray

1 : to make a portrait of The artist portrayed the young queen.
2 : to describe in words or words and images The story portrays frontier life.
3 : to play the role of He portrays the hero in a movie.

More from Merriam-Webster on portray

Nglish: Translation of portray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of portray for Arabic Speakers


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