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A picture by Pere Borrell del Caso


From Middle English pycture, from Old French picture, itself from Latin pictūra (the art of painting, a painting), from pingō (I paint). Doublet of pictura.



picture (plural pictures)

  1. A representation of anything (as a person, a landscape, a building) upon canvas, paper, or other surface, by drawing, painting, printing, photography, etc.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter II, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], →OCLC:
      Orion hit a rabbit once; but though sore wounded it got to the bury, and, struggling in, the arrow caught the side of the hole and was drawn out. []. Ikey the blacksmith had forged us a spearhead after a sketch from a picture of a Greek warrior; and a rake-handle served as a shaft.
    • 2012 March, Brian Hayes, “Pixels or Perish”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 106:
      Drawings and pictures are more than mere ornaments in scientific discourse. Blackboard sketches, geological maps, diagrams of molecular structure, astronomical photographs, MRI images, the many varieties of statistical charts and graphs: These pictorial devices are indispensable tools for presenting evidence, for explaining a theory, for telling a story.
  2. An image; a representation as in the imagination.
    • 1828, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, A Day Dream:
      My eyes make pictures when they are shut.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      So this was my future home, I thought! Certainly it made a brave picture. I had seen similar ones fired-in on many a Heidelberg stein. Backed by towering hills, [] a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
    • 2007, The Workers' Republic:
      Prior to seeing him and meeting him, and hearing him speak, I had conjured up a picture of him in my mind, which actual contact with him proved to be an illusion. I had conceived of him [] as being tall, commanding, and as the advance notices of him, a sliver-tongued orator. I found him, however, to be the opposite of my mental picture; short, squat, unpretentious [].
  3. A painting.
    There was a picture hanging above the fireplace.
  4. A photograph.
    I took a picture of the church.
    • 1967, “Pictures of Lily”, performed by The Who:
      Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful / Pictures of Lily helped me sleep at night
    • 1989, “Pictures of You”, in Disintegration, performed by The Cure:
      I've been looking so long at these pictures of you / That I almost believe that they're real
  5. (informal, dated) A motion picture.
    Casablanca is my all-time favorite picture.
    • 1932, Delos W. Lovelace, King Kong, published 1965, page 13:
      "You make moving pictures. In jungles and places." "That's me. And I've picked you for the lead in my next picture."
  6. (in the plural, informal) ("the pictures") Cinema (as a form of entertainment).
    Let's go to the pictures.
  7. A paragon, a perfect example or specimen (of a category).
    She's the very picture of health.
    • 2018, Sandeep Jauhar, Heart: a History, →ISBN, page 114:
      Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in poor health for much of his presidency, even though his doctors, his family, and even journalists colluded to portray him as the picture of health.
  8. An attractive sight.
    The garden is a real picture at this time of year.
    • 2018 January 1, Donald McRae, “The Guardian footballer of the year 2017: Juan Mata”, in the Guardian[1]:
      it was heartening to see a young Indian football team Mata had invited to Manchester. His face was a picture when he listened to the little footballers sing a team song for him.
  9. The art of painting; representation by painting.
    • 1862, Henry Barnard, “Sir Henry Wotton”, in American Journal of Education:
      any well-expressed image [] either in picture or sculpture
  10. A figure; a model.
  11. Situation.
    The employment picture for the older middle class is not so good.
    You can't just look at the election, you've got to look at the big picture.
  12. (MLE) A sample of an illegal drug.
    If you want me to buy your weed I’ll need a picture.
  13. (programming) A format string in the COBOL programming language.
    • 1997, John Barnes, Ada 95 Rationale: The Language - The Standard Libraries, page 390:
      The COBOL restriction for the currency symbol in a picture string to be replaced by a single character currency symbol is a compromise solution.
    • 1997, Roger Hutty, Mary Spence, Mastering COBOL Programming, page 20:
      To recapitulate, the pictures we have considered so far are: X – any character A — alphabetic characters and the space character []


  • (representation as in the imagination): image


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Terms derived from picture (noun)

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


picture (third-person singular simple present pictures, present participle picturing, simple past and past participle pictured)

  1. (transitive) To represent in or with a picture.
    • 1966, Margaret Naumburg, Dynamically oriented art therapy, page 154:
      What is striking about the self portrait is that the patient had pictured herself as a much younger woman
    • 1962, Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire, page 130:
      while upon the shaded top of the box, drawn in perspective, the artist had pictured a plate with the beautifully executed, twin-lobed, brainlike, halved kernel of a walnut.
    • 1999, Lisa Gitelman, Scripts, grooves, and writing machines, page 107:
      Anyone "skilled in the art" could see from their language that Lemp and Wightman had not invented or patented the invention their draftsman had pictured.
  2. (transitive) To imagine or envision.
  3. (transitive) To depict or describe vividly.
    • 1898, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Man with the Watches:
      I had never found him so impossible to soften or to move. I tried this way and I tried that; I pictured his future in an English gaol; I described the sorrow of his mother when I came back with the news; I said everything to touch his heart, but all to no purpose.
    • 1985, Edmund Burke Feldman, Thinking about art, page 252:
      Drawing is picturing people, places, and things with line.
    • 1989, Jan Jelínek, The great art of the early Australians, page 490:
      Many rock paintings picture various species of fish.
    • 2003, Jack Shadoian, Dreams and Dead Ends: The American Gangster Film, page 196:
      A plain, seemingly graceless stylist, his rather unpalatable movies, full of rabid, sloggingly orchestrated physical pain and psychic damage, picture crime as a monstrous, miasmal evil, divesting it of any glamour it ever had.
    • 2004, Helen South, The everything drawing book, page 75:
      The sketch pictured here takes in the whole scene.

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  1. vocative masculine singular of pictūrus



From Old French picture, borrowed from Latin pictūra (the art of painting, a painting) (compare the inherited Old French form peinture), from pingō, pingere (paint; decorate, embellish), from Proto-Indo-European *peyḱ- (spot, color).


picture f (plural pictures)

  1. (Guernsey) picture