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  1. a member of an ancient people of uncertain origin who inhabited parts of northern Britain, fought against the Romans, and in the 9th century a.d. united with the Scots.

Origin of Pict

before 900; back formation from Middle English Pictes (plural) < Latin Pictī literally, painted ones, plural of pictus, past participle of pingere to paint; replacing Middle English Peghttes, Old English Peohtas, PihtasLatin, as above
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pict

Historical Examples

  • And Patsy the Pict felt herself strong enough for these things.


    S. R. Crockett

  • To which division did the Gallic of ancient Gaul, and the Pict belong?

  • No wonder the Pict had fallen victim to his own sort of subtlety.

    Beyond the Black River

    Robert E. Howard

  • But how do you know it was not a Pict with some kind of a hook that rips instead of slicing?

    Beyond the Black River

    Robert E. Howard

  • A bone snapped loudly, and Balthus saw the Pict wince and falter.

    Beyond the Black River

    Robert E. Howard

British Dictionary definitions for pict


  1. a member of any of the peoples who lived in Britain north of the Forth and Clyde in the first to the fourth centuries ad : later applied chiefly to the inhabitants of NE Scotland. Throughout Roman times the Picts carried out border raids

Word Origin

Old English Peohtas; later forms from Late Latin Pictī painted men, from pingere to paint
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

Word Origin and History for pict



an ancient people of Great Britain, late 14c., from Late Latin Picti (late 3c., probably a nickname given them by Roman soldiers), usually taken as derived from picti "painted," but probably ultimately from the Celtic name of the tribe, perhaps Pehta, Peihta, literally "the fighters" (cf. Gaulish Pictavi, a different people, who gave the name to the French city of Poitiers). They painted and tattooed themselves, which may have suggested a Roman folk-etymology alteration of the name. The Old English name for the people was Peohtas.

In Scottish folk-lore the Pechts are often represented as a dark pygmy race, or an underground people; and sometimes identified with elves, brownies, or fairies. [OED]

Related: Pictish; Pictland.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper