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[pik-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-ee-uh l] /pɪkˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr i əl/
pertaining to, expressed in, or of the nature of a picture.
illustrated by or containing pictures:
a pictorial history.
of or relating to the art of painting and drawing pictures, the pictures themselves, or their makers:
the pictorial masterpieces of the Renaissance.
having or suggesting the visual appeal or imagery of a picture:
a pictorial metaphor.
a periodical in which pictures constitute an important feature.
a magazine feature that is primarily photographic.
Origin of pictorial
1640-50; < Latin pictōri(us) of painting (pic-, variant stem of pingere to paint + -tōrius -tory1) + -al1
Related forms
pictorially, adverb
pictorialness, noun
nonpictorial, adjective
nonpictorially, adverb
semipictorial, adjective
semipictorially, adverb
unpictorial, adjective
unpictorially, adverb
4. picturesque, vivid, striking, telling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pictorial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They tend to partake of the methods of pictorial caricature.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • The least change in our point of view, gives the whole world a pictorial air.

    Nature Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Mrs. Denyse pointed majestically to the pictorial blur in the paper.

    Little Miss Grouch Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • Nor is there any pictorial representation of the interior of the playhouse.

    Shakespearean Playhouses

    Joseph Quincy Adams
  • The first is taken from the Sunday pictorial, of all papers.

    The World in Chains John Mavrogordato
  • We are fortunate in having a pictorial representation of such a papakhu.

  • For pictorial work or special effects other papers are preferable.

  • They are too racial, and in parts too pictorial to be dissected in narrative style.

    The Pianolist Gustav Kobb
British Dictionary definitions for pictorial


relating to, consisting of, or expressed by pictures
(of books, newspapers, etc) containing pictures
of or relating to painting or drawing
(of language, style, etc) suggesting a picture; vivid; graphic
  1. a magazine, newspaper, etc, containing many pictures
  2. (capital when part of a name): the Sunday Pictorial
Derived Forms
pictorially, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin pictōrius, from Latin pictor painter, 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
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Word Origin and History for pictorial

1640s, from Latin pictorius "of a painter," from pictor "painter," from past participle stem of pingere "to make pictures" (see paint (v.)) + -al (1). The noun meaning "journal in which pictures are the main feature" is first recorded 1844. Related: Pictorially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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