[ thuhm-neyl ]
/ ˈθʌmˌneɪl /


the nail of the thumb.
anything quite small or brief, as a small drawing or short essay.
Printing. a small, rough dummy.
Also called porkchop. Journalism, Printing. a half-column portrait in a newspaper.


quite small or brief; concise: a thumbnail description of Corsica.

verb (used with object)

to make a thumbnail sketch or description of.

Nearby words

  1. thumb-sucker,
  2. thumber,
  3. thumbhole,
  4. thumbikin,
  5. thumbkin,
  6. thumbnail sketch,
  7. thumbnut,
  8. thumbpiece,
  9. thumbprint,
  10. thumbs down

Origin of thumbnail

First recorded in 1595–1605; thumb + nail Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for thumbnail

British Dictionary definitions for thumbnail


/ (ˈθʌmˌneɪl) /


the nail of the thumb
(modifier) concise and briefa thumbnail sketch
computing a small image which can be expanded
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

Word Origin and History for thumbnail



c.1600, from thumb (n.) + nail (n.). Meaning "drawing or sketch of a small size" (though usually not lierally the size of a thumbnail) is from 1852.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper