follow Dictionary.com

Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!

portray

[pawr-trey, pohr-] /pɔrˈtreɪ, poʊr-/
verb (used with object)
1.
to make a likeness of by drawing, painting, carving, or the like.
2.
to depict in words; describe graphically.
3.
to represent dramatically, as on the stage:
He portrayed Napoleon in the play.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English portrayen < Middle French portraire < Late Latin prōtrahere to depict, Latin: to draw forth, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + trahere to draw
Related forms
portrayable, adjective
portrayer, noun
nonportrayable, adjective
preportray, verb (used with object)
unportrayable, adjective
unportrayed, adjective
Synonyms
1, 2. picture, delineate, limn. See depict.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for portrayed
  • They also said that the way the invention was described in court was different from how it was portrayed in the patent.
  • Amer here, as it is important that these issues be portrayed accurately.
  • One ad portrayed a well-dressed marksman firing at a target in his living room fireplace while a dog lounged at his feet.
  • The tigers are sometimes portrayed as paragons of free-market policies.
  • But the relief effort is moving more smoothly and efficiently than has been portrayed in news reports, he said.
  • They never have liked how they were portrayed on the pyramid.
  • Still others believed the media portrayed the crowd's reaction as more hostile than it truly was.
  • But not everyone agrees with the history portrayed in the site.
  • The presidential visit was portrayed as putting the icing on the cake of dialogue.
  • Shark experts charge that sharks are unfairly portrayed in the media as aggressive hunters of humans.
British Dictionary definitions for portrayed

portray

/pɔːˈtreɪ/
verb (transitive)
1.
to represent in a painting, drawing, sculpture, etc; make a portrait of
2.
to make a verbal picture of; depict in words
3.
to play the part of (a character) in a play or film
Derived Forms
portrayable, adjective
portrayal, noun
portrayer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French portraire to depict, from Latin prōtrahere to drag forth, bring to light, from pro-1 + trahere to drag
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for portrayed

portray

v.

mid-13c., "to draw, paint" (something), from Anglo-French purtraire, Old French portraire "to draw, to paint, portray" (12c.), literally "trace, draw forth," from por- "forth" (from Latin pro-; see pro-) + traire "trace, draw," from Latin trahere "to drag, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Meaning "depict in words, describe" is from late 14c. Related: Portrayed; portraying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for portray

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for portrayed

15
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with portrayed