[pik-tuh-graf, -grahf]
See more synonyms for pictograph on Thesaurus.com
  1. a pictorial sign or symbol.
  2. a record consisting of pictorial symbols, as a prehistoric cave drawing or a graph or chart with symbolic figures representing a certain number of people, cars, factories, etc.

Origin of pictograph

1850–55; < Latin pict(us) painted (see picture) + -o- + -graph
Related formspic·to·graph·ic [pik-tuh-graf-ik] /ˌpɪk təˈgræf ɪk/, adjectivepic·to·graph·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pictographic

Contemporary Examples of pictographic

  • Neither do his pictographic dramas have any resemblance to the covers from which his characters hail.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Pulp Fictions

    Philip Gefter

    September 10, 2009

Historical Examples of pictographic

British Dictionary definitions for pictographic


  1. a picture or symbol standing for a word or group of words, as in written Chinese
  2. a chart on which symbols are used to represent values, such as population levels or consumption
Derived Formspictographic (ˌpɪktəˈɡræfɪk), adjectivepictography (pɪkˈtɒɡrəfɪ), noun

Word Origin for pictograph

C19: from Latin pictus, 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 pictographic



"picture or symbol representing an idea," 1851, from Latin pictus "painted," past participle of pingere "to paint" (see paint (v.)) + -graph "something written." First used in reference to American Indian writing. Related: Pictography.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper