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[peynt] /peɪnt/
a substance composed of solid coloring matter suspended in a liquid medium and applied as a protective or decorative coating to various surfaces, or to canvas or other materials in producing a work of art.
an application of this.
the dried surface pigment:
Don't scuff the paint.
the solid coloring matter alone; pigment.
facial cosmetics, especially lipstick, rouge, etc., designed to heighten natural color.
Chiefly Western U.S. a pied, calico, or spotted horse or pony; pinto.
verb (used with object)
to coat, cover, or decorate (something) with paint:
to paint a fence.
to produce (a picture, design, etc.) in paint:
to paint a portrait.
to represent in paint, as in oils, tempera, or watercolor:
to paint an actress as the Muse of tragedy.
to depict as if by painting; describe vividly in words:
The ads painted the resort as a winter wonderland.
to color by or as if by painting:
Sunset painted the clouds pink.
to apply a substance to, as a liquid medicine or a cosmetic:
to paint a cut with iodine.
verb (used without object)
to coat or cover anything with paint.
to engage in painting as an art:
She has begun to paint in her spare time.
to put on or use facial cosmetics.
paint the town red, Informal. to celebrate boisterously, especially by making a round of stops at bars and nightclubs.
Also, paint the town.
Origin of paint
1200-50; Middle English peinten (v.) < Old French peint, past participle of peindre < Latin pingere to paint; see picture
Related forms
paintable, adjective
paintless, adjective
outpaint, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for paint
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He will paint the same scene under a dozen conditions of light.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • Why did Shakespeare want to paint this unpleasant bitter-tongued wife?

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • He could paint you Bassanio or Benedick or Mercutio to the life.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • His passion is so intense that he has no desire to paint her seduction as greater than it was.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • S' fur 's the pitcher goes, it's about as good 's kin be did with paint, I guess.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
British Dictionary definitions for paint


a substance used for decorating or protecting a surface, esp a mixture consisting of a solid pigment suspended in a liquid, that when applied to a surface dries to form a hard coating
a dry film of paint on a surface
the solid pigment of a paint before it is suspended in liquid
(informal) face make-up, such as rouge
short for greasepaint
to make (a picture) of (a figure, landscape, etc) with paint applied to a surface such as canvas
to coat (a surface) with paint, as in decorating
(transitive) to apply (liquid) onto (a surface): her mother painted the cut with antiseptic
(transitive) to apply make-up onto (the face, lips, etc)
(transitive) to describe vividly in words
(informal) paint the town red, to celebrate uninhibitedly; go on a spree
Derived Forms
painty, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French peint painted, from peindre to paint, from Latin pingere to paint, adorn
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 paint

early 13c., "represent in painting or drawing, portray;" early 14c., "paint the surface of, color, stain;" from Old French peintier "to paint," from peint, past participle of peindre "to paint," from Latin pingere "to paint, represent in a picture, stain; embroider, tattoo," from PIE root *peig-/*peik- "to cut" (cf. Sanskrit pimsati "hews out, cuts, carves, adorns," Old Church Slavonic pila "file, saw," Lithuanian pela "file"). Sense evolution between PIE and Latin was, presumably, from "decorate with cut marks" to "decorate" to "decorate with color." Cf. Sanskrit pingah "reddish," pesalah "adorned, decorated, lovely," Old Church Slavonic pegu "variegated;" Greek poikilos "variegated;" Old High German fehjan "to adorn;" Old Church Slavonic pisati, Lithuanian piesiu "to write." Probably also representing the "cutting" branch of the family is Old English feol (see file (n.)).

To paint the town (red) "go on a spree" first recorded 1884; to paint (someone or something) black "represent it as wicked or evil" is from 1590s. Adjective paint-by-numbers "simple" is attested by 1970; the art-for-beginners kits themselves date to c.1953.


late 13c. (in compounds), "that with which something is painted," from paint (v.). Of rouge, make-up, etc., from 1650s. Paint brush attested from 1827.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paint in Medicine

paint (pānt)
A solution or suspension of one or more medicaments applied to the skin with a brush or large applicator. v. paint·ed, paint·ing, paints
To apply medicine to; swab.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for paint



(also paint cards) Playing cards, esp picture cards (1931+)

Related Terms

red paint, war paint

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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