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[pik-chuh-resk] /ˌpɪk tʃəˈrɛsk/
visually charming or quaint, as if resembling or suitable for a painting:
a picturesque fishing village.
(of writing, speech, etc.) strikingly graphic or vivid; creating detailed mental images:
a picturesque description of the Brazilian jungle.
having pleasing or interesting qualities; strikingly effective in appearance:
a picturesque hat.
Origin of picturesque
1695-1705; < French pittoresque < Italian pittoresco (pittor(e) painter1 + -esco -esque), with assimilation to picture
Related forms
picturesquely, adverb
picturesqueness, noun
unpicturesque, adjective
unpicturesquely, adverb
unpicturesqueness, noun
Can be confused
picaresque, picturesque.
2. Picturesque, graphic, vivid apply to descriptions that produce a strong, especially a visual, impression. Picturesque is a less precise term than the other two. A picturesque account, though striking and interesting, may be inaccurate or may reflect personal ideas: He called the landscape picturesque. A graphic account is more objective and factual: it produces a clear, definite impression, and carries conviction. A vivid account is told with liveliness and intenseness; the description is so interesting, or even exciting, that the reader or hearer may be emotionally stirred. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for picturesqueness
Historical Examples
  • It was roomy, cool, and comfortable, with a picturesqueness all its own.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • The picturesqueness of this scene has been remarked by many writers.

    The Siege of Boston Allen French
  • What they did was greatly to further the picturesqueness and joy of life.

  • The ill-temper had lost its picturesqueness, and become worse than grotesque.

    Kept in the Dark

    Anthony Trollope
  • The picturesqueness of the place and people were only equalled by the stinks.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • In the towns civilization has robbed the wedding of its picturesqueness.

    Peeps at Many Lands: Norway A.F. Mockler-Ferryman
  • He had his little affectations of speech as of style, and they added to its picturesqueness.


    Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • Always it has been the picturesqueness of tyranny that has kept it up.

    Old Familiar Faces Theodore Watts-Dunton
  • The ricsha furnishes the streets with an additional element of picturesqueness.

    A Visit to Java W. Basil Worsfold
  • The picturesqueness of human thought may console us for its imperfection.

    The Sense of Beauty George Santayana
British Dictionary definitions for picturesqueness


visually pleasing, esp in being striking or vivid: a picturesque view
having a striking or colourful character, nature, etc
(of language) graphic; vivid
Derived Forms
picturesquely, adverb
picturesqueness, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French pittoresque (but also influenced by picture), from Italian pittoresco, from pittore painter, from Latin pictor
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 picturesqueness



1703, on pattern of French pittoresque, a loan-word from Italian pittoresco, literally "pictorial" (1660s), from pittore "painter," from Latin pictorem (nominative pictor); see painter (n.1). As a noun from 1749. Related: Picturesquely; picturesqueness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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