[pik-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-ee-uhl]


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 formspic·to·ri·al·ly, adverbpic·to·ri·al·ness, nounnon·pic·to·ri·al, adjectivenon·pic·to·ri·al·ly, adverbsem·i·pic·to·ri·al, adjectivesem·i·pic·to·ri·al·ly, adverbun·pic·to·ri·al, adjectiveun·pic·to·ri·al·ly, adverb

Synonyms for pictorial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pictorial

Contemporary Examples of pictorial

Historical Examples of pictorial

  • They tend to partake of the methods of pictorial caricature.

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


    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

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 Formspictorially, adverb

Word Origin for pictorial

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

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