[ skech ]
/ skɛtʃ /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: sketch / sketched / sketches on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
to make a sketch or sketches.
There's an ocean of difference between the way people speak English in the US vs. the UK. Are your language skills up to the task of telling the difference? Let's find out!
Question 1 of 7
True or false? British English and American English are only different when it comes to slang words.

Origin of sketch

1660–70; <Dutch schets (noun) ≪ Italian schizzo<Latin schedium extemporaneous poem, noun use of neuter of schedius extempore <Greek schédios

synonym study for sketch

6. See depict.


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


What is a basic definition of sketch?

A sketch is a drawing or painting that is usually made quickly and lacks finer details. Sketch is also used to mean to create a sketch of something. A sketch can also be a short dramatic performance. Sketch has a few other senses as a verb and a noun.

Most artists begin with a sketch, or many sketches, before they work on what will be the final product, such as an oil painting. For example, cartoonists will often make a sketch of a new character without colors, shading, or detailed lines so they can get feedback before putting in too much effort. A painter may draw a sketch of landscape with colored pencils so they can figure out the best colors and shades that would go well together.

  • Real-life examples: Many artists would be happy to draw a sketch of something for you if you pay them the right price. Police will often create a sketch of a suspect based on a witness’s description of them. You can find many early sketches of famous characters like Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants on the internet.
  • Used in a sentence: The artist made several sketches of the model before beginning his work on the elaborate portrait. 

In this same sense, sketch is used as a verb to mean to draw a sketch of something.

  • Used in a sentence: I sketched a cat in my notebook during the boring lecture. 

A sketch is also a short dramatic performance, especially one that is part of a comedy show. Comedic performances that consist solely of a collection of short, humorous stories are known as sketch comedy.

  • Real-life examples: Saturday Night Live, The Kids in the Hall, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and Sesame Street are television programs that all use sketches.
  • Used in a sentence: Chris Farley was in most of my favorite sketches from Saturday Night Live.

Where does sketch come from?

The first records of sketch come from around 1660. It ultimately comes from the Greek skhedios, meaning “unprepared.”

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to sketch?

  • sketcher (noun)
  • sketchingly (adverb)
  • sketchlike (adjective)
  • resketch (verb)

What are some synonyms for sketch?

What are some words that share a root or word element with sketch

What are some words that often get used in discussing sketch?

How is sketch used in real life?

Sketch is a common word that most often refers to quick, basic drawings.

Try using sketch!

True or False?

A sketch is a finished drawing that includes all of the specific details and colors.

How to use sketch in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sketch

/ (skɛtʃ) /

to make a rough drawing (of)
(tr often foll by out) to make a brief description of

Derived forms of sketch

sketchable, adjectivesketcher, noun

Word Origin for sketch

C17: from Dutch schets, via Italian from Latin schedius hastily made, from Greek skhedios unprepared
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