A likeness is a portrait, or a head-turning resemblance. George Washington’s likeness appears on the dollar bill. A potato might bear an uncanny likeness to my grandfather.

Likeness has nothing to do with liking someone or something––it’s all about what something looks like. It’s been in use since before the 12th century, when likenesses had to be drawn or painted, rather than snapped with a digital camera. If the only picture you had of your mom was one your brother drew, you would value it more if it was a good likeness, meaning it really looked “like” her.

Definitions of likeness

n similarity in appearance or character or nature between persons or things

“man created God in his own likeness
alikeness, similitude
dissimilitude, unlikeness
dissimilarity evidenced by an absence of likeness
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comparability, compare, comparison, equivalence
qualities that are comparable
mirror image, reflection, reflexion
a likeness in which left and right are reversed
the likeness of a representation to the thing represented
similarity in appearance or external or superficial details
spitting image
a perfect likeness or counterpart
mutual resemblance
symmetrical resemblance
inherent resemblance between persons or things
Type of:
the quality of being similar

n picture consisting of a graphic image of a person or thing

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Identikit, Identikit picture
a likeness of a person's face constructed from descriptions given to police; uses a set of transparencies of various facial features that can be combined to build up a picture of the person sought
portrait, portrayal
any likeness of a person, in any medium
a portrait showing the body from only the waist up
a portrait of yourself created by yourself
Type of:
icon, ikon, image, picture
a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface

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