Date: 1400-1500
Language: Latin
Origin: pictura, from pictus, past participle of pingere 'to paint'


1 noun
pic‧ture1 S1 W1


[countable]AV shapes, lines etc painted or drawn on a surface, showing what someone or something looks like:
The room had several pictures on the walls.
a book with pictures in it
picture of
I like that picture of the two horses.
draw/paint a/somebody's picture
Draw a picture of your house.
He asked her permission to paint her picture (=paint a picture of her).


[countable] a photograph
picture of
That's a great picture of you, Dad!
take somebody's picture/take a picture of somebody
I asked the waiter if he'd mind taking our picture.
wedding/holiday etc pictures
Would you like to see the wedding pictures?


[countable] an image that appears on a television or cinema screen
picture of
upsetting pictures of the famine in Africa
satellite pictures from space


[countable usually singular] a description or idea of what something is like
picture of
Once the research is complete, we'll have a clearer picture of the outcome.
an overall picture of the country's health needs
What sort of picture is starting to emerge?
paint a bleak/happy/rosy etc picture (=describe something in a particular way)
The film paints a bleak picture of life in the inner city.
The article gives a vivid picture of the way artists at the studio collaborated.
Detectives are trying to build up a picture of the kidnapper.


[singular] the general situation in a place, organization etc:
The worldwide picture for tribal people remains grim.
the wider political picture
Checks throughout the region revealed a similar picture everywhere.
big/bigger/wider picture
We were so caught up with the details, we lost sight of the big picture (= the situation considered as a whole).

mental image

[countable usually singular] an image or memory that you have in your mind:
Sarah had a mental picture of Lisbon.
He had a vivid picture in his mind.

put/keep somebody in the picture

to give someone all the information they need to understand a situation, especially one that is changing quickly:
I'm just going now, but Keith will put you in the picture.

get the picture

informal to understand a situation:
You've said enough. I get the picture.

out of the picture

if someone is out of the picture, they are no longer involved in a situation:
Injury has effectively put Woods out of the picture as far as international matches are concerned.


a) [countable]AMF a film:
It was voted the year's best picture.

the pictures

[plural] British English the cinema:
Would you like to go to the pictures?

be the picture of health/innocence/despair etc

to look very healthy etc:
Head bowed and sobbing, she was the picture of misery.

➔ pretty as a picture

at pretty2 (7)

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