thumb·​nail | \ ˈthəm-ˌnāl How to pronounce thumbnail (audio) , -ˈnāl \

Definition of thumbnail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the nail of the thumb
2 : a miniature computer graphic sometimes hyperlinked to a full-size version



Definition of thumbnail (Entry 2 of 2)

: concise, brief a thumbnail sketch

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Examples of thumbnail in a Sentence

Noun You can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on the thumbnail. Adjective a thumbnail outline of the plot of the novel
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If the game is on, tap the game thumbnail to watch live. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 3 June 2021 But now for the first time in millennia, a mama devil living outside of captivity has given birth to a litter of joeys, in this case, seven thumbnail-sized, hairless infants, reports Gemma Conroy for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 May 2021 The thumbnail image and eight-word title promoting the video indicated Mr. Robinson was assaulted by a Black man outside a train station. New York Times, 15 Apr. 2021 Incidentally, the legal case for platforms being in violation of copyright law for showing links with headlines, snippets, and thumbnail photographs is unsettled, but precedent seems to indicate that the platforms are protected under fair-use rules. Jessica Melugin, National Review, 18 May 2021 Now imagine drawing a vertical line on your thumbnail that’s only 2 millimeters wide. Rhett Allain, Wired, 10 May 2021 When her daughter Monique was 10 years old, Aurelia Mock noticed a brown line underneath her daughter's thumbnail. Devon Abelman, Allure, 3 May 2021 The thumbnail of the video is an image of Cosby wearing a suit and walking with a police officer. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, 1 May 2021 Some show their face in a thumbnail in the corner of the screen so viewers can see their reactions. Helena Madden, Robb Report, 2 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective So the thumbnail version that gets repeated is that the concept of telework was invented by a guy called Jack Nilles, who was a NASA engineer who’s actually still alive. The Politics Of Everything, The New Republic, 13 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thumbnail.' 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 thumbnail


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1852, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for thumbnail

Time Traveler

The first known use of thumbnail was in 1604

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Statistics for thumbnail

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thumbnail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for thumbnail



English Language Learners Definition of thumbnail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the hard covering at the end of a thumb : the fingernail of a thumb
computers : a very small copy of a larger picture on a computer



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

: very short or brief


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