- to make a likeness of by drawing, painting, carving, or the like.
- to depict in words; describe graphically.
- to represent dramatically, as on the stage: He portrayed Napoleon in the play.
Origin of portray
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordsdepict, render, characterize, describe, paint, interpret, illustrate, delineate, picture, draw, figure, mimic, image, sketch, reproduce, duplicate, limn, simulate, impersonate, copy
Examples from the Web for portray
Once in power, they often hired gifted artists to portray them in flattering and benevolent poses.Great Renaissance Art Thrived Amid Filth
December 3, 2014
The Kremlin likes to portray these as sinister Western conspiracies.Putin’s Health Care Disaster
November 30, 2014
The results played right into the hands of those who wanted to portray the opposition as unreliable.Digital Doublethink: Playing Truth or Dare with Putin, Assad and ISIS
Christopher Dickey, Anna Nemtsova
November 16, 2014
The media and academics love to portray these voters as the typical independent when they represent less than half of them.Yes, Independent Swing Voters Are Real. And May Decide Who Wins Elections
November 3, 2014
She ended up praying with me and giving me her blessing to portray her Dad.David Oyelowo on Playing Martin Luther King Jr., Ebola Fears, and Race in Hollywood
October 15, 2014
I thought him as true a representative of the people as ever theory could portray.Biographical Sketches
It is this greatness of soul in Cleopatra which Shakespeare has now to portray.The Man Shakespeare
The nature they portray is not human, but super- or subter-human, which you will.Another Sheaf
Now let us portray the events which preceded the masked bridal.The Masked Bridal
Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
They were from a feudalistic world and tried to portray the Aztecs in such terms.Adaptation
Dallas McCord Reynolds
- to represent in a painting, drawing, sculpture, etc; make a portrait of
- to make a verbal picture of; depict in words
- to play the part of (a character) in a play or film
Word Origin and History for portray
mid-13c., "to draw, paint" (something), from Anglo-French purtraire, Old French portraire "to draw, to paint, portray" (12c.), literally "trace, draw forth," from por- "forth" (from Latin pro-; see pro-) + traire "trace, draw," from Latin trahere "to drag, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Meaning "depict in words, describe" is from late 14c. Related: Portrayed; portraying.