\ ˈskech \

Definition of sketch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a rough drawing representing the chief features of an object or scene and often made as a preliminary study
b : a tentative draft (as for a literary work)
2 : a brief description (as of a person) or outline
3a : a short literary composition somewhat resembling the short story and the essay but intentionally slight in treatment, discursive in style, and familiar in tone
b : a short instrumental composition usually for piano
c : a slight theatrical piece having a single scene especially : a comic variety act


sketched; sketching; sketches

Definition of sketch (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make a sketch, rough draft, or outline of

intransitive verb

: to draw or paint a sketch

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Other Words from sketch


sketcher noun

Synonyms for sketch

Synonyms: Noun

cartoon, delineation, drawing

Synonyms: Verb

define, delineate, outline, silhouette, trace

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Examples of sketch in a Sentence


He made a sketch of his house. He wrote up a sketch of the plot. There is a biographical sketch of the author on the book's back cover.


He sketched the trees outside his window. He likes to sit outside and sketch. She sketched the plan for us.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Investigators are asking that anyone who may recognize the woman in the sketch, or have any knowledge of the case, call them at 706-382-5050. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Body found in landfill was cut into multiple pieces, sheriff says," 15 Aug. 2018 Authorities had previously released a sketch of the child with a phone number to call with tips. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Charges: Mom said she dumped boy's body in ocean when he died after head injury," 21 June 2018 In the sketch, Mikey Day's Prince Harry takes a camera man around the reception, introducing the guests on video. NBC News, "Tina Fey revives Sarah Palin impersonation for star-studded 'SNL' season finale," 20 May 2018 In the sketch, Hader plays Horus, the elderly husband of one of the girlfriends attending game night who tags along uninvited. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The Best Sketches from Bill Hader's Return to 'SNL'," 18 Mar. 2018 The detective tracked down a couple who resembled the one in the sketch., "CHAPTER 5: THE GIRL IN THE CAFÉ," 27 Sep. 2017 In fact, Kushner has spoken so rarely that Saturday Night Live parodied his reserved nature in a sketch back in April. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "A History of Jared Kushner Speaking in Public," 19 June 2017 In one corner, a student live-sketches children; in another, Chinese painter Junli Du is painting a new work. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Touring Germany’s Most Festive Christmas Markets," 18 Dec. 2018 Fletcher’s daughter, who has had the animal for four years, also drew an adorable sketch of Hornzy. J.d. Capelouto,, "The search for ‘Hornzy Twigs’: Tweet over stuffed animal lost in Logan Airport goes viral," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At the same time, Mr. Beck and his lieutenants have publicly sketched out a longer-term strategy to attract U.S. military payloads and potentially even spy satellites. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Rocket Lab Successfully Launches Its First Commercial Payload Into Orbit," 11 Nov. 2018 Sir Michael Kadoorie, the charismatic elder statesman, heir, visionary of today's Peninsula Hotels—and storied car collector himself—sketched out the Quail, now in its 16th year, as a tonic to the storied, more formal dowager, the Concours. Alex Hitz, Town & Country, "The Quail Is the Highlight of Monterey Car Week," 6 Sep. 2018 At the end of 2017, Bouchet and Eric Woillez, also at ENS, sketched out their own theoretical account of how two-dimensional fluid flow can describe a rotating system such as the atmosphere of a planet. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "Flattened Fluids Help Scientists Understand Oceans and Atmospheres," 7 July 2018 Scientists sketch out research bases that could take root on the Red Planet. 'Mysterious radio bursts' in outer space detected by alien-hunting artificial intelligence. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: 'Monster' Florence could bring historic flooding; McConnell warns GOP faces midterm 'knife fight'," 12 Sep. 2018 The foursome sketched out the plan over the course of their summer vacation after freshman year, using nicknames from Reservoir Dogs to identify each other., "American Animals," 20 June 2018 This isn't your standard pumpkin display—each week, a team of 75 carvers spends their days intricately sketching, etching, and cutting away at a whopping 5,000 gourds to create that week's look. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "You've Never Seen A Jack O'Lantern Display Like This Before," 12 Oct. 2018 Dad approached him about about the possibility of Pretscher sketching something for him. Nedra Rhone, ajc, "Paintings from German POW in Georgia bring lessons in grace," 23 May 2018 Totally sketched out Get yourself into a sketchy situation at the Story Arc Sketch Comedy Fest kicking off this Thursday, June 1 at 8 p.m. The two-week fest, which runs through June 10, will combine the worlds of sketch and theater. Rianne Coale, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do in Chicago this weekend," 1 June 2017

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

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First Known Use of sketch


1668, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1694, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sketch


Dutch schets, from Italian schizzo, literally, splash, from schizzare to splash, of imitative origin

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Statistics for sketch

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for sketch

The first known use of sketch was in 1668

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More Definitions for sketch



English Language Learners Definition of sketch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a quick, rough drawing that shows the main features of an object or scene

: a short description of something

: a short, funny performance



English Language Learners Definition of sketch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a quick, rough drawing of (something)

: to describe (something) briefly


\ ˈskech \

Kids Definition of sketch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a rough outline or drawing showing the main features of something
2 : a short written work (as a story or essay)
3 : a short comic performance


sketched; sketching

Kids Definition of sketch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make a drawing, rough draft, or outline of
2 : to describe or outline (something) briefly Should the scheme he had now sketched prove feasible, Silver … would not hesitate to adopt it.— Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

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More from Merriam-Webster on sketch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sketch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sketch

Spanish Central: Translation of sketch

Nglish: Translation of sketch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sketch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sketch

Comments on sketch

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