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 Flicking my thumbnail against the match head was most satisfying but also required a half-dozen tries. Keith Mccafferty, Field & Stream, "What Is the Best Match for Starting a Survival Fire?," 3 June 2020 Ask each of your employees to include a thumbnail photo in their communications. Anchorage Daily News, "How to best manage virtual workplace teams during the coronavirus crisis," 20 Apr. 2020 The widget will also display the title and artist of the current track, along with a small thumbnail of the album art. David Nield, Popular Science, "Eleven essential widgets for your Android home screen," 4 Feb. 2020 Such thumbnail indictments of the nonintellectual masses seemed to stem from Hofstadter’s own mounting sense of political and cultural homelessness in the postwar world. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, "What Richard Hofstadter Got Wrong," 16 Apr. 2020 The screen is on you, while the Twitter thumbnail of your guests also appears in the image. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus: From Facebook to YouTube, live video is back. How the apps compare," 27 Mar. 2020 And nail pro Jessica Washick echos that the thumbnail accent is a subtle way to upgrade any simple manicure. Megan Decker,, "Move Over Ring Finger, Thumbs Are The New Accent Nails," 24 Mar. 2020 YouTube is experimenting with making video thumbnails much larger on its homepage, according to several screenshots that appeared on Twitter and Reddit this morning. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "YouTube tests bigger thumbnails, and people hate it," 13 Aug. 2019 In each document, choose View > Thumbnails to show page thumbnails in the sidebar. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "How To Combine Pesky PDF Files," 1 Mar. 2020

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

21 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thumbnail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for thumbnail


How to pronounce thumbnail (audio)

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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