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picture Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface
    image; ikon; icon.
    • they showed us the pictures of their wedding
    • a movie is a series of images projected so rapidly that the eye integrates them
  2. noun graphic art consisting of an artistic composition made by applying paints to a surface
    • a small painting by Picasso
    • he bought the painting as an investment
    • his pictures hang in the Louvre
  3. noun a clear and telling mental image
    mental picture; impression.
    • he described his mental picture of his assailant
    • he had no clear picture of himself or his world
    • the events left a permanent impression in his mind
  4. noun a situation treated as an observable object
    • the political picture is favorable
    • the religious scene in England has changed in the last century
  5. noun illustrations used to decorate or explain a text
    pictorial matter.
    • the dictionary had many pictures
  6. noun a form of entertainment that enacts a story by sound and a sequence of images giving the illusion of continuous movement
    flick; picture show; pic; movie; motion picture; moving-picture show; motion-picture show; film; moving picture.
    • they went to a movie every Saturday night
    • the film was shot on location
  7. noun the visible part of a television transmission
    • they could still receive the sound but the picture was gone
  8. noun a graphic or vivid verbal description
    delineation; characterization; characterisation; word picture; depiction; word-painting.
    • too often the narrative was interrupted by long word pictures
    • the author gives a depressing picture of life in Poland
    • the pamphlet contained brief characterizations of famous Vermonters
  9. noun a typical example of some state or quality
    • the very picture of a modern general
    • she was the picture of despair
  10. noun a representation of a person or scene in the form of a print or transparent slide; recorded by a camera on light-sensitive material
    photo; photograph; pic; exposure.
  11. verb imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind
    visualize; envision; figure; visualise; image; fancy; project; see.
    • I can't see him on horseback!
    • I can see what will happen
    • I can see a risk in this strategy
  12. verb show in, or as in, a picture
    depict; render; show.
    • This scene depicts country life
    • the face of the child is rendered with much tenderness in this painting

Pic"ture noun
L. pictura, fr. pingere, pictum, to paint: cf. F. peinture. See Paint.
  1. The art of painting; representation by painting. Obs.
    Any well-expressed image . . . either in picture or sculpture. Sir H. Wotton.
  2. A representation of anything (as a person, a landscape, a building) upon canvas, paper, or other surface, produced by means of painting, drawing, engraving, photography, etc.; a representation in colors. By extension, a figure; a model.
    Pictures and shapes are but secondary objects. Bacon.
    The young king's picture . . . in virgin wax. Howell.
  3. An image or resemblance; a representation, either to the eye or to the mind; that which, by its likeness, brings vividly to mind some other thing; as, a child is the picture of his father; the man is the picture of grief.
    My eyes make pictures when they are shut. Coleridge.
    Picture is often used adjectively, or in forming self-explaining compounds; as, picture book or picture-book, picture frame or picture-frame, picture seller or picture-seller, etc. Syn. -- Picture, Painting. Every kind of representation by drawing or painting is a picture, whether made with oil colors, water colors, pencil, crayons, or India ink; strictly, a painting is a picture made by means of colored paints, usually applied moist with a brush.
Pic"ture transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Pictured ; present participle & verbal noun Picturing
  1. To draw or paint a resemblance of; to delineate; to represent; to form or present an ideal likeness of; to bring before the mind. "I . . . do picture it in my mind." Spenser.
    I have not seen him so pictured. Shak.

Webster 1913