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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 sketches
  • He essentially sketches a two-pronged approach to progress in social disputes.
  • How these sketches and monologues can help with your calculations remains a statement waiting for a proof.
  • He once scribbled a note on one of his sketches to make a small wax version of one of his drawings of a horse.
  • The photos, which you can see in this gallery, come with brief biographical sketches of the fridge owners.
  • Using his field notes, sketches and photographs during these excursions he captures the feeling of being a part of nature.
  • The whole series of autobiographical sketches are now in print.
  • These brown- ink sketches, probably of panthers, were done quickly and pack a punch.
  • The book sketches briefly the activities of many people who have found ways to improve the lives of others.
  • In his brief sketches, he finds a pattern of common failings.
  • The stories are good and the book is framed by two especially fine autobiographical sketches.
British Dictionary definitions for sketches


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 sketches



"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 sketches



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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