- 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
Examples from the Web for portraying
Were you playing up or, on the flip side, shying away from portraying a romantic attraction?Inside the Lifetime Whitney Houston Movie’s Lesbian Lover Storyline
December 16, 2014
Or one portraying the former KGB officer as a superhero surrounded by doves?Hipster Putin Propaganda
Lizzie Crocker, Emil Lendof
October 17, 2014
Do you feel they did an ample job of portraying his troubled later years—in particular, the violence towards women?Octavia Spencer on Hollywood and Race: The Film Roles I’m Offered Are Too Small
July 31, 2014
What goes into portraying one of the most terrifying villains on TV?OITNB’s New Villain Vee, Played By Lorraine Toussaint, Speaks for the First Time
June 13, 2014
This season has raised the bar on portraying psychotic breakdowns.Some 4 a.m. Brainstorming on How to Make Obama Tougher Than Putin
May 23, 2014
He began by portraying in ardent language the sufferings he had undergone.The Swedish Revolution Under Gustavus Vasa
Paul Barron Watson
"Those devouring eyes and that portraying hand," Emerson says.Fresh Fields
He saw that she was portraying what she had in her mind's eye.The Red and the Black
In this work his individual manner of portraying a face is entirely formed.Auguste Rodin
Rainer Maria Rilke
But they are useless from the point of view intended, as portraying a man.The Christ Myth
- 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 portraying
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.