\ 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

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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

The vintage-looking cards are based on sketches by Matt Cruickshank, an animator and artist on the Google Doodles team. Currie Engel, Time, "Google Doodle Scores a Home Run With Its Instantly Addictive Fourth of July Baseball Game," 3 July 2019 Many sketches feature Castro’s comic, and often botched, attempts to address subtle bigotry. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "Off-Kilter Humor on “Los Espookys” and “Alternatino”," 1 July 2019 In early May, the Washington Post reported that police were feeding forensic sketches to their facial recognition software. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "The Strange Politics of Facial Recognition," 28 June 2019 Five of his productions emerge before our eyes — from rough sketches to storyboards, polished designs and a bit of video footage — in those unmistakably Sendakian colors, watery and vivid at once. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Discovering Maurice Sendak, the Opera Designer," 27 June 2019 Critics thought of the works as incomplete sketches but audiences slowly fell in love with the movement. Ryan Patrick Hooper, Detroit Free Press, "Impressionist innovators like Monet and Renoir highlight DIA's 'Humble and Human' exhibit," 26 June 2019 That sketch was never part of the material turned over to Stinson's defense attorney. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Prosecutor felt suspect was innocent, but dentists convinced him bite marks proved otherwise. They were wrong.," 26 June 2019 The president and managing partner of Republic Urban Properties wore lederhosen during an opening sketch with industry colleagues Chris Neale and Case Swenson about developing Coyote Valley into a vast cannabis farm. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "This Paper Plane bartender put San Jose on national mixology map," 25 June 2019 On G Street, the pavement was divided into different sections for people to draw on, from a kid’s competition, to murals and a free sketch area. Author: Lauren Ellenbecker, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage artists leave downtown street chalk-full of color," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Beethoven was sketching out preliminary plans for the symphony and carefully weighing his opinions of Napoleon. National Geographic, "How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic," 24 Apr. 2019 More in CFO Journal Foreign companies ranging from auto makers to solar panel manufacturers have sketched out plans to expand their U.S. manufacturing footprints in response to trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "German Forklift Maker Kion Plans U.S. Expansion to Avoid China Tariffs," 18 Jan. 2019 Anyone can sketch out a romantic, enticing, opulent, fantastic — and unrealistic — concept for many years into the future. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "The future of electric car design has yet to be written," 5 Oct. 2018 Before his death, the elder Zottola had sketched out a colorful career in close contact with some of New York’s more infamous latter-day mobsters. Tim Elfrink,, "An execution looked like a Mafia vendetta. But the man’s son planned the hit, feds say.," 19 June 2019 Another sketches a stuntman whose body barely works anymore. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Bruce Springsteen Takes His Car to the Old Town Road," 13 June 2019 Today Clos Lucé is a living monument to Leonardo, set in a sprawling park filled with sage and other plants Leonardo sketched. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019 In her first speech as prime minister in July 2016, May sketched out plans for an ambitious policy agenda. Washington Post, "Diligent Theresa May failed to solve the UK’s Brexit puzzle," 7 June 2019 One particularly artistic fan, 15-year-old Natalya Nuñez, even sketched some BTS members in a notebook for the occasion. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "The BTS ARMY Explained What It Was Like to See BTS For the First Time Live on "Good Morning America"," 15 May 2019

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

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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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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a small bunch of flowers

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