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See also: Paint and Païnt


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From Middle English peynten, from Old French peintier, paincter, itself from paint, the past participle of paindre, from Latin pingō (to paint) (perfect passive participle pictus). Displaced native Old English tēafor (paint) and *tīefran (to paint).


  • IPA(key): /peɪnt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪnt


paint (countable and uncountable, plural paints)

tubes of paint and a palette with paint on it
  1. A substance that is applied as a liquid or paste, and dries into a solid coating that protects or adds color/colour to an object or surface to which it has been applied.
    fresh coat of paint
  2. (in the plural) A set of containers or blocks of paint of different colors/colours, used for painting pictures.
    • 2007, Jesse Guthrie, Catherine's Addiction, page 116:
      René went back into the kitchen and put a pot of coffee on, got out his paints and started on a new painting. He felt inspired.
  3. (basketball, slang) The free-throw lane, construed with the.
    The Nimrods are strong on the outside, but not very good in the paint.
    • 2013 December 12, “JV Dogs suffer first loss, 47-41”, in Martinez (California) News-Gazette:
      Early on it was the Bulldogs who were clearly the aggressors, playing hard in the paint and getting baskets with muscle more than with their shooting prowess.
    • 2016 April 20, “Hawks not giving Celtics anything in the paint”, in Comcast SportsNet New England:
      Isaiah Thomas is very clever, very crafty getting to the paint and finishing in the paint.
    • 2016 May 22, “Renewed defensive strategy has Raptors alive in conference finals”, in USA TODAY:
      In Game 3, they re-focused on protecting the paint and transition defense. The Cavs scored 106 points in the paint in the first two games and just 20 in Game 3.
  4. (uncountable, paintball, slang) Paintballs.
    I am running low on paint for my marker.
  5. (poker, slang) A face card (king, queen, or jack).
  6. (computing, attributive) Graphics drawn using an input device, not scanned or generated.
    • 1993, Emil Ihrig, CorelDRAW! 4 made easy:
      It combines traditional paint capabilities with photograph enhancement features.
    • 1998, Kit Laybourne, The animation book: a complete guide to animated filmmaking:
      Computer paint software operates similarly but adds features that are delightfully familiar and useful to artists trained in traditional graphics materials.
    • 2001, Maureen Sprankle, Problem Solving for Information Processing:
      If using a paint package, you must specify the color before you draw the line or shape.
  7. (uncountable) Makeup.
    • 2012, Caleb Pirtle, Shelly Marshall, Other Voices, Other Towns: The Traveler's Story, →ISBN:
      They were as plain and homely as a table-top dancer when the rains had wiped the paint and powder from her face.
  8. (uncountable, slang) Tattoo work.
    Synonym: ink
  9. (dated) Any substance fixed with latex to harden it.
  10. The appearance of an object on a radar screen.
    • 1973, International Conference on Radar--Present and Future, 23-25 October, 1973, page 203:
      Smaller target paints would also be preferred to those displayed on the existing DFTI.

Derived terms[edit]




paint (third-person singular simple present paints, present participle painting, simple past and past participle painted)

  1. (transitive) To apply paint to.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter I, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      The half-dozen pieces [] were painted white and carved with festoons of flowers, birds and cupids. To display them the walls had been tinted a vivid blue which had now faded, but the carpet, which had evidently been stored and recently relaid, retained its original turquoise.
  2. (transitive) To apply in the manner that paint is applied.
  3. (transitive, medicine) To apply with a brush in order to treat some body part.
  4. (transitive) To cover (something) with spots of colour, like paint.
  5. (transitive) To create (an image) with paints.
    to paint a portrait or a landscape
  6. (intransitive) To practise the art of painting pictures.
    I've been painting since I was a young child.
  7. (transitive, graphical user interface) To draw an element in a graphical user interface.
    • 1991, Ernest R Tello, Object-oriented Programming for Windows:
      Sent to a minimized window when the icon's background must be filled before it is painted.
  8. (transitive, figuratively) To depict or portray.
    She sued the author of the biography, claiming it painted her as a duplicitous fraud.
    • 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “Much Adoe about Nothing”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      Disloyal? / The word is too good to paint out her wickedness.
    • 1735, Alexander Pope, “Epistle 2”, in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, volume II, London: [] J. Wright, for Lawton Gilliver [], →OCLC, page 62, lines 15–16:
      VVhether the Charmer ſinner it, or ſaint it, / VVhen Folly grovvs romantic, vve muſt paint it.
    • 2023 October 5, Victoria Bekiempis, “FTX co-founder testifies he committed crimes with Sam Bankman-Fried”, in The Guardian[1], →ISSN:
      During defense openings, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer painted him as a “nerd” who tried to do the right thing but was overwhelmed with a fast-growing company.
  9. (intransitive) To color one's face by way of beautifying it.
  10. (transitive, military, slang) To direct a radar beam toward.
    "We'll paint the target for the flyboys," the JTAC said.
    • 2023, J. Allen Hynek, The UFO Experience: Evidence Behind Close Encounters, Project Blue Book, and the Search for Answers, Red Wheel/Weiser, →ISBN, page 73:
      The Albuquerque radar “painted” just one object whenever the light was on, none when it was off.

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Related terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]





  1. gerund of pair