\ ˈskech How to pronounce sketch (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sketch


sketcher noun

Synonyms for sketch

Synonyms: Noun

cartoon, delineation, drawing

Synonyms: Verb

define, delineate, outline, silhouette, trace

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has released a sketch of a woman who was found dead outdoors in Kirkland during last week’s heavy snowfall. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Do you know who she is? Sketch released of woman who died in Kirkland.," 20 Feb. 2019 In an effort to identify the child, police released a sketch of his face and images of his dead body. Harriet Sokmensuer,, "Texas Mom Claims She Abused Son, Dumped Naked Body After Head Injury Made Him Behave Badly: Reports," 25 June 2018 When no one came forward with any leads in the next few weeks, the Galveston Police Department released a sketch of the boy, in hopes that someone who knew him would come forward. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Naked boy washed up on Texas beach 8 months ago. His mom, her girlfriend are in jail," 20 June 2018 The next day Miami police released a sketch of her. David J. Neal And Charles Rabin, miamiherald, "Friend of murdered Barry University student charged with her shooting death," 5 June 2018 Earlier, Phoenix police released a sketch of what appeared to be an older white man wearing a hat. Manuel Torres,, "Suspect in six Arizona shootings attacked victims tied to his divorce, police say," 5 June 2018 Investigators released a sketch of the suspect in the three killings. Melissa Daniels,, "Suspect in 4 Phoenix-area slayings kills himself as police swarm hotel where he was staying," 4 June 2018 His department released a sketch of a suspect the day after the killing. Christina Caron, New York Times, "Fatal Shootings of Psychiatrist and Paralegals Linked as Police Investigate Third Attack," 2 June 2018 The Interior Ministry released a sketch of a bearded man wearing a baseball cap, and described him as being in his early 40s, between 175 and 180 centimeters tall, of average build and with gray in his beard. Angela Dewan, Antonia Mortensen And Denis Lapin, CNN, "Russia, Ukraine blame each other for journalist killing," 30 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In this game, each player gets a turn to sketch a quick picture of one of your teachers. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "20 Fun and Creative Graduation Party Games You’ll Definitely Want to Play," 7 June 2019 Authorities have allowed Little to sketch portraits of his victims and released dozens of the drawings to the press. Cameron Knight,, "'Nothing but evil': Serial killer Samuel Little indicted in 2 Cincinnati murders," 7 June 2019 Thanks for telling me about how artist Enrique Alferez used to come to the Coffee Pot in the French Quarter and surreptitiously sketch the customers. Doug Maccash,, "Chef Leah Chase explained why art is like a prayer," 3 June 2019 Since then, the Boring Company has been selected to build tunnels for Chicago and Washington DC, and has sketched out plans to build a larger network of tunnels under LA, with the aim of reducing congestion. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Elon Musk shows off the Boring Company ‘disturbingly long’ LA tunnel in a short video," 4 Nov. 2018 But there are bullet holes in the drawing that Marine officer John W. Thomason Jr. sketched — holes made by Thomason’s .45-caliber pistol. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "The Battle of Belleau Wood was brutal, deadly and forgotten. But it forged a new Marine Corps.," 31 May 2018 Browse the gallery to get inspiration, then tap into the planning services to get help with measuring your space, sketching out your dream, and choosing the finishes and final products. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "All You Need," 11 Feb. 2019 At the time, Nadolny had been sketching logos and designs on his own, as well as designing and tagging with Crispin. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "The Label Poser Offers Up Martial Arts–Quality Clothes With an Intergalactic Edge," 30 July 2018 Gavin Newsom and John Cox used their victory speeches to draw clear contrasts and begin sketching national themes ahead of their face-off in the race to be California’s next governor this fall. Christina Bellantoni,, "California primary results portend a general election with national themes," 6 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sketch

Statistics for sketch

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sketch

The first known use of sketch was in 1668

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce sketch (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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