[im-ij-ree, im-i-juh-ree]
See more synonyms for imagery on
noun, plural im·age·ries.
  1. the formation of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things, or of such images collectively: the dim imagery of a dream.
  2. pictorial images, as in works of art.
  3. the use of rhetorical images.
  4. figurative description or illustration; rhetorical images collectively.
  5. Psychology. mental images collectively, especially those produced by the action of imagination.

Origin of imagery

1275–1325; Middle English imagerie < Old French. See image, -ery
Related formsim·a·ge·ri·al [im-uh-jeer-ee-uh l] /ˌɪm əˈdʒɪər i əl/, adjectiveim·a·ge·ri·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for imagery

symbolism, representation

Examples from the Web for imagery

Contemporary Examples of imagery

Historical Examples of imagery

British Dictionary definitions for imagery


noun plural -ries
  1. figurative or descriptive language in a literary work
  2. images collectively
  3. psychol
    1. the materials or general processes of the imagination
    2. the characteristic kind of mental images formed by a particular individualSee also image (def. 7), imagination (def. 1)
  4. military the presentation of objects reproduced photographically (by infrared or electronic means) as prints or electronic displays
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 imagery

mid-14c., "piece of sculpture, carved figures," from Old French imagerie (13c.), from imagier "painter," from image (see image (n.)). Meaning "ornate description" (in poetry, etc.) is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

imagery in Medicine


  1. A set of mental pictures or images.
  2. A technique in behavior therapy in which the patient is conditioned to use pleasant fantasies to counteract the unpleasant feelings associated with anxiety.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

imagery in Culture


The mental pictures created by a piece of writing: “The imagery of “The Waste Land” — crumbling towers, dried-up wells, toppled tombstones — conveys the author's sense of a civilization in decay.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.