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[skech] /skɛtʃ/
a simply or hastily executed drawing or painting, especially a preliminary one, giving the essential features without the details.
a rough design, plan, or draft, as of a book.
a brief or hasty outline of facts, occurrences, etc.:
a sketch of his life.
a short, usually descriptive, essay, history, or story.
a short play or slight dramatic performance, as one forming part of a vaudeville program.
verb (used with object)
to make a sketch of.
to set forth in a brief or general account:
He sketched his own part in the affair.
Metallurgy. (in a steel mill or the like) to mark (a piece) for cutting.
verb (used without object)
to make a sketch or sketches.
Origin of sketch
1660-70; < Dutch schets (noun) ≪ Italian schizzo < Latin schedium extemporaneous poem, noun use of neuter of schedius extempore < Greek schédios
Related forms
sketcher, noun
sketchingly, adverb
sketchlike, adjective
resketch, verb (used with object)
unsketched, adjective
well-sketched, adjective
2. outline. 5. skit, act, routine. 6. draw, outline, design, rough out, delineate, represent. See depict. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sketch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have light enough through this window to sketch by, now and again.

    The Law Inevitable Louis Couperus
  • I arose from my chair and examined the sketch of the starving mountaineer.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • I think that I could draw a sketch of the lady if you would favour me with a pencil.'

  • She tried to settle on a point of view for her sketch, the sketch he was to help her with.

  • In Fig. 121 is given the sketch of a plough plane with the names of the various parts lettered thereon.

    Woodwork Joints William Fairham
British Dictionary definitions for sketch


a rapid drawing or painting, often a study for subsequent elaboration
a brief usually descriptive and informal essay or other literary composition
a short play, often comic, forming part of a revue
a short evocative piece of instrumental music, esp for piano
any brief outline
to make a rough drawing (of)
(transitive) often foll by out. to make a brief description of
Derived Forms
sketchable, adjective
sketcher, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Dutch schets, via Italian from Latin schedius hastily made, from Greek skhedios unprepared
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 sketch

"rough drawing intended to serve as the basis for a finished picture," 1660s, from Dutch schets or Low German skizze, both apparently 17c. artists' borrowings from Italian schizzo "sketch, drawing," which is commonly said to be from Latin *schedius (OED compares schedia "raft," schedium "an extemporaneous poem"), from or related to Greek skhedios "temporary, extemporaneous, done or made off-hand," related to skhema "form, shape, appearance" (see scheme (n.)). But according to Barnhart Italian schizzo is a special use of schizzo "a splash, squirt," from schizzare "to splash or squirt," of uncertain origin.

Extended sense of "brief account" is from 1660s; meaning "short play or performance, usually comic" is from 1789. Sketch-book recorded from 1820. German Skizze, French esquisse, Spanish esquicio are likewise from Italian schizzo.


1690s, "present the essential facts of," from sketch (n.). Meaning "draw, portray in outline and partial shading" is from 1725. Related: Sketched; sketcher; sketching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sketch



A promiscuous woman; slut: That skeezer has no self-respect/ nice women, those who are neither sluts nor skeezers (women who use men for money), should take no offense (1980s+ Students fr black)

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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