por·​tray | \ pȯr-ˈtrā How to pronounce portray (audio) , pər- \
portrayed; portraying; portrays

Definition of portray

transitive verb

1 : to make a picture of : depict
2a : to describe in words
b : to play the role of : enact

Other Words from portray

portrayer noun

Examples of portray in a Sentence

The White House has portrayed the President as deeply conflicted over the matter. The lawyer portrayed his client as a victim of child abuse. He portrayed himself as a victim. The painting portrays the queen in a purple robe. Laurence Olivier portrayed Hamlet beautifully.
Recent Examples on the Web Presenting narratives in the YA category that accurately portray the struggles and joy of queerness let young LGBTQ+ people feel seen, and feel empowered in their identity. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 24 June 2022 Some portray the artist’s longtime muse, the coyote — a character in many Native American myths. BostonGlobe.com, 23 June 2022 Trump’s post-election interaction with top DOJ officials portray a president pressing for specific investigations that could potentially help him keep his grip on power. Alexander Mallin, ABC News, 22 June 2022 Most surf films portray riding waves in a purely positive light. Andrew S. Lewis, Outside Online, 10 June 2022 These ads portray a vote in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump for inciting the 2021 attack on the Capitol as a negative. Ben Kamisar, NBC News, 10 June 2022 Some of the most poignant scenes portray the unlikely friendship that develops between Issam and Frank (Mark Camacho), the family’s initially gruff sponsor. Vanessa H. Larson, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 Oftentimes, stereotypes portray outdoor adventurers to look a certain way or have a specific background. oregonlive, 2 June 2022 Few gambling movies portray gambling less as a talent and more as a coping mechanism, like Paul Schrader’s 2021 crime drama The Card Counter. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 30 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of portray

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for portray

Middle English portraien, from Anglo-French purtraire, from Latin protrahere to draw forth, reveal, expose — more at protract

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Time Traveler for portray

Time Traveler

The first known use of portray was in the 14th century

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Statistics for portray

Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Portray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portray. Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for portray


por·​tray | \ pȯr-ˈtrā How to pronounce portray (audio) \
portrayed; portraying

Kids Definition of portray

1 : to make a portrait of The artist portrayed the young queen.
2 : to describe in words or words and images The story portrays frontier life.
3 : to play the role of He portrays the hero in a movie.

More from Merriam-Webster on portray

Nglish: Translation of portray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of portray for Arabic Speakers


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