[ pik-suhl, -sel ]
See synonyms for pixel on Thesaurus.com
nounComputers, Television.
  1. the smallest element of an image that can be individually processed in a video display system.

Origin of pixel

1965–70; pix2 (in the sense “pictures”) + el(ement)

Words Nearby pixel

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

How to use pixel in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pixel


/ (ˈpɪksəl) /

  1. any of a number of very small picture elements that make up a picture, as on a visual display unit

Origin of pixel

C20: from pix pictures + el (ement)

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

Scientific definitions for pixel


[ pĭksəl ]

  1. The most basic unit of an image displayed on a computer or television screen or on a printer. Pixels are generally arranged in rows and columns; a given combination among the pixels of various brightness and color values forms an image.♦ A subpixel is one of three components of a pixel used in the representation of a color image. Each subpixel represents the contribution of a single color-red, green, or blue-to the overall color and brightness of the pixel.

a closer look

The images on a computer screen are composed of tiny dots called pixels (short for picture element). The computer controls each pixel individually. Most monitors have hundreds of thousands, or often millions, of pixels that are lit or dimmed to create an image. Each pixel of a color screen is made out of one red, one blue, and one green subpixel, generally arranged in a triangle, adjusted individually to create the combined effect of a single color but treated as a unit pixel for determining resolution. Pixels vary in size according to the size and resolution of the monitor. Smaller pixels provide higher resolution, and therefore sharper images, but require more memory to store the color and intensity data of each pixel and more processing time to refresh the screen. Resolution is frequently referred to in terms of dpi, or dots per inch.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.