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[graf-iks] /ˈgræf ɪks/
(used with a singular verb) the art of drawing, especially as used in mathematics, engineering, etc.
(used with a plural verb) graphic arts (def 1).
(used with a plural verb) Movies, Television. the titles, credits, subtitles, announcements, etc., shown on the screen before, or as part of, a film or television program.
(used with a singular verb) the science of calculating by diagrams.
(used with a singular or plural verb) Computers. computer graphics.
Computers. pertaining to pictorial information displayed, plotted, or printed by a computer:
When you draw a picture on a graphics tablet the computer displays the same picture on the screen.
Origin of graphics
1885-90; see graphic, -ics


[graf-ik] /ˈgræf ɪk/
adjective, Also, graphical
giving a clear and effective picture; vivid:
a graphic account of an earthquake.
pertaining to the use of diagrams, graphs, mathematical curves, or the like; diagrammatic.
of, relating to, or expressed by writing:
graphic symbols.
written, inscribed, or drawn.
depicted in a realistic or vivid manner:
graphic sex and violence.
containing graphic descriptions:
a graphic movie.
Geology. (of a rock) having a texture formed by the intergrowth of certain minerals so as to resemble written characters.
Mathematics. pertaining to the determination of values, solution of problems, etc., by direct measurement on diagrams instead of by ordinary calculations.
of or relating to the graphic arts.
a product of the graphic arts, as a drawing or print.
a computer-generated image.
1630-40; < Latin graphicus of painting or drawing < Greek graphikós able to draw or paint, equivalent to gráph(ein) to draw, write + -ikos -ic; cognate with carve
Related forms
graphically, adverb
graphicalness, graphicness, noun
nongraphic, adjective
nongraphical, adjective
nongraphically, adverb
nongraphicalness, noun
ungraphic, adjective
ungraphical, adjective
ungraphically, adverb
1. striking, telling; detailed. See picturesque. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for graphics
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This would have placed "graphics" alongside of the copy-book and the spelling-book.

    In the School-Room John S. Hart
  • But in that case you are tied to call, and this fixity of programme is objected to by 'graphics.'

    Yachting Vol. 2 Various.
  • Two damaged word puzzles have been restored in a graphics program, using the page-scans of the damaged originals as patterns.

  • He turned our baggage out on to a mat, and evidently meant to overhaul it thoroughly, when a few Daily graphics caught his eye.

  • A friend had lent me two graphics, which I left on my blanket for a few minutes while I went the rounds.

    A Yeoman's Letters P. T. Ross
British Dictionary definitions for graphics


(functioning as sing) the process or art of drawing in accordance with mathematical principles
(functioning as sing) the study of writing systems
(functioning as pl) the drawings, photographs, etc, in the layout of a magazine or book, or in a television or film production
(functioning as pl) the information displayed on a visual display unit or on a computer printout in the form of diagrams, graphs, pictures, and symbols


vividly or clearly described: a graphic account of the disaster
sexually explicit
of or relating to writing or other inscribed representations: graphic symbols
(maths) using, relating to, or determined by a graph: a graphic representation of the figures
of or relating to the graphic arts
(geology) having or denoting a texture formed by intergrowth of the crystals to resemble writing: graphic granite
Derived Forms
graphically, graphicly, adverb
graphicalness, graphicness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin graphicus, from Greek graphikos, from graphein to write; see carve
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 graphics

1889, in reference to the use of diagrams, from graphic; also see -ics. Layout and typography sense attested from 1960; of computers by 1966.



"vivid," 1570s (implied in graphically), from Latin graphicus "picturesque," from Greek graphikos "of or for writing, belonging to drawing, picturesque," from graphe "writing, drawing," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Meaning "of or pertaining to drawing" is from 1756. Related: Graphically. Graphic design is attested by 1956. Graphic equalizer is from 1969.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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graphics in Science
The representation of data in a way that includes images in addition to or instead of text. Computer-aided design, typesetting, and video games, for example, involve the use of graphics.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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graphics in Technology

Any kind of visible output including text, images, movies, line art and digital photographs; stored in bitmap or vector graphic form.
Most modern computers can display non-text data and most use a graphical user interface (GUI) for virtually all interaction with the user. Special hardware, typically some kind of graphics adaptor, is required to allow the computer to display graphics (as opposed to, say, printing text on a teletype) but since GUIs became ubiquitous this has become the default form of visual output. The most demanding applications for computer graphics are those where the computer actually generates moving images in real time, especially in video games.
There are many kinds of software devoted to manipulating graphical data, including image editing (e.g. Photoshop), drawing (e.g. Illustrator), user interface toolkits (e.g. X Window System), CAD, CGI.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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