9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pawr-trit, -treyt, pohr-] /ˈpɔr trɪt, -treɪt, ˈpoʊr-/
a likeness of a person, especially of the face, as a painting, drawing, or photograph:
a gallery of family portraits.
a verbal picture or description, usually of a person:
a biography that provides a fascinating portrait of an 18th-century rogue.
Origin of portrait
1560-70; < Middle French: a drawing, image, etc., noun use of past participle of portraire to portray
Related forms
portraitlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for portrait
  • His value as literary material had been realized in part, but no satisfactory portrait of him had been drawn.
  • But her portrait was always a mosaic, never a simple story of struggle.
  • However, a clearer portrait of pleasure is now emerging.
  • We challenged our readers to give us their best portrait photos and vote on which ones they liked best.
  • The portrait that emerges is of a culture that's insanely obsessed with pedigree.
  • It lacks any pretension to depth as a psychological portrait.
  • He paints a haunting portrait of a people blown to the winds by a forgotten storm.
  • When he was released, he found work as an itinerant portrait photographer.
  • Beyond this, he also succeeds in painting a portrait of his times.
  • The constantly flickering colors attract your attention in a way that the static portrait does not.
British Dictionary definitions for portrait


/ˈpɔːtrɪt; -treɪt/
  1. a painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph, or other likeness of an individual, esp of the face
  2. (as modifier): a portrait gallery
a verbal description or picture, esp of a person's character
(printing) (of a publication or an illustration in a publication) of greater height than width Compare landscape (sense 5a)
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 portrait

1560s, "a figure, drawn or painted," a back formation from portraiture or directly from Middle French portrait, from Old French portret (13c.), noun use of past participle of portraire "to paint, depict" (see portray). Especially of the head and face of a person.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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