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[pik-cher] /ˈpɪk tʃər/
a visual representation of a person, object, or scene, as a painting, drawing, photograph, etc.:
I carry a picture of my grandchild in my wallet.
any visible image, however produced:
pictures reflected in a pool of water.
a mental image:
a clear picture of how he had looked that day.
a particular image or reality as portrayed in an account or description; depiction; version.
a tableau, as in theatrical representation.
pictures, Informal: Older Use. movies.
a person, thing, group, or scene regarded as resembling a work of pictorial art in beauty, fineness of appearance, etc.:
She was a picture in her new blue dress.
the image or perfect likeness of someone else:
He is the picture of his father.
a visible or concrete embodiment of some quality or condition:
the picture of health.
a situation or set of circumstances:
the economic picture.
the image on a computer monitor, the viewing screen of a television set, or a motion-picture screen.
verb (used with object), pictured, picturing.
to represent in a picture or pictorially, as by painting or drawing.
to form a mental picture of; imagine:
He couldn't picture himself doing such a thing.
to depict in words; describe graphically:
He pictured Rome so vividly that you half-believed you were there.
to present or create as a setting; portray:
His book pictured the world of the future.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin pictūra the act of painting, a painting, equivalent to pict(us) (past participle of pingere to paint) + -ūra -ure
Related forms
picturable, adjective
picturableness, noun
picturably, adverb
picturer, noun
mispicture, verb (used with object), mispictured, mispicturing.
self-pictured, adjective
unpictured, adjective
Can be confused
picture, pitcher.
13, 15. delineate, paint, draw, represent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for picture
  • Share your photos, hear from speakers and learn about new techniques that may help you capture that picture perfect moment.
  • To-day, many who will not attend the theatre do attend the moving-picture show.
  • Lots of individual pieces come together to form a complete picture.
  • Despite their ubiquity, cell phones are not known for their ability to take picture-perfect photos.
  • Some would describe the duty to the state as fundamental, and picture the dissenter as a religious or moral fanatic.
  • More than a thousand words, there are a thousand mysteries in a single, sweeping picture.
  • picture a college student appealing for a higher grade in his professor's office.
  • The color captured in the picture and its arrangement was eye engaging.
  • Create a headboard picture frame by using decorative molding from a home improvement store.
  • His lineup picture was set apart by a different background.
British Dictionary definitions for picture


  1. a visual representation of something, such as a person or scene, produced on a surface, as in a photograph, painting, etc
  2. (as modifier) picture gallery, picture postcard, related adjective pictorial
a mental image or impression a clear picture of events
a verbal description, esp one that is vivid
a situation considered as an observable scene the political picture
a person or thing that bears a close resemblance to another he was the picture of his father
a person, scene, etc, considered as typifying a particular state or quality the picture of despair
a beautiful person or scene you'll look a picture
a complete image on a television screen, comprising two interlaced fields
  1. a motion picture; film
  2. (as modifier) picture theatre
(mainly Brit & Austral) the pictures, a cinema or film show
another name for tableau vivant
(informal) get the picture, to understand a situation
in the picture, informed about a given situation
verb (transitive)
to visualize or imagine
to describe or depict, esp vividly
(often passive) to put in a picture or make a picture of they were pictured sitting on the rocks
Word Origin
C15: from Latin pictūra painting, from pingere to paint
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for picture
c.1420, from L. pictura "painting," from pictus, pp. of pingere "to make pictures, to paint, to embroider," (see paint). The verb, in the mental sense, is from 1738; pictures "movies," short for moving pictures, is from 1912. Picture post-card first recorded 1899. Phrase every picture tells a story first attested 1906, in an advertisement for kidney pills; a picture is worth a thousand words (1921), said to be a Confucian proverb, first recorded in a printers' professional journal.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for picture


Related Terms

draw a picture

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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picture in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with picture
In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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