[ pik-cher ]
See synonyms for picture on Thesaurus.com
  1. a visual representation of a person, object, or scene, as a painting, drawing, photograph, etc.: I carry a picture of my grandchild in my wallet.

  2. any visible image, however produced: pictures reflected in a pool of water.

  1. a mental image: a clear picture of how he had looked that day.

  2. a particular image or reality as portrayed in an account or description; depiction; version.

  3. a tableau, as in theatrical representation.

    • a movie: He signed a three-picture deal to star in the new franchise.

    • pictures, Older Use. movies collectively, as an art; cinema: So, you want to be in pictures?

  4. a person, thing, group, or scene regarded as resembling a work of pictorial art in beauty, fineness of appearance, etc.: She was a picture in her new blue dress.

  5. the image or perfect likeness of someone else: He is the picture of his father.

  6. a visible or concrete embodiment of some quality or condition: the picture of health.

  7. a situation or set of circumstances: the economic picture.

  8. the image on a computer monitor, the viewing screen of a television set, or a motion-picture screen.

verb (used with object),pic·tured, pic·tur·ing.
  1. to represent in a picture or pictorially, as by painting or drawing.

  2. to form a mental picture of; imagine: He couldn't picture himself doing such a thing.

  1. to depict in words; describe graphically: He pictured Rome so vividly that you half-believed you were there.

  2. to present or create as a setting; portray: His book pictured the world of the future.

Origin of picture

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Latin pictūra “the act of painting, a painting,” equivalent to pict(us) (past participle of pingere “to paint” ) + -ūra noun suffix; see paint, -ure

Other words for picture

Other words from picture

  • pic·tur·a·ble, adjective
  • pic·tur·a·ble·ness, noun
  • pic·tur·a·bly, adverb
  • pic·tur·er, noun
  • mis·pic·ture, verb (used with object), mis·pic·tured, mis·pic·tur·ing.
  • self-pic·tured, adjective
  • un·pic·tured, adjective

Words that may be confused with picture

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use picture in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for picture


/ (ˈpɪktʃə) /

    • a visual representation of something, such as a person or scene, produced on a surface, as in a photograph, painting, etc

    • (as modifier): picture gallery; picture postcard Related adjective: pictorial

  1. a mental image or impression: a clear picture of events

  1. a verbal description, esp one that is vivid

  2. a situation considered as an observable scene: the political picture

  3. a person or thing that bears a close resemblance to another: he was the picture of his father

  4. a person, scene, etc, considered as typifying a particular state or quality: the picture of despair

  5. a beautiful person or scene: you'll look a picture

  6. a complete image on a television screen, comprising two interlaced fields

    • a motion picture; film

    • (as modifier): picture theatre

  7. the pictures mainly British and Australian a cinema or film show

  8. another name for tableau vivant

  9. get the picture informal to understand a situation

  10. in the picture informed about a given situation

  1. to visualize or imagine

  2. to describe or depict, esp vividly

  1. (often passive) to put in a picture or make a picture of: they were pictured sitting on the rocks

Origin of picture

C15: from Latin pictūra painting, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with picture


In addition to the idiom beginning with picture

  • picture is worth a thousand words, one

also see:

  • get the message (picture)
  • in the picture
  • pretty as a picture
  • take a picture
  • the picture

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.