Use the verb picture if you want people to imagine something vividly in their minds. If your story about your principal and some chickens is descriptive enough, your friends can picture the whole incident.

A picture is also a piece of art made by painting or drawing, like the pictures by famous artists you see in a museum. In a book, a picture is an illustration that accompanies the text, often in a child's picture book. You can also call a photograph a picture. Your dad might take so many pictures on vacation that it seems like you spent your entire childhood hiding from his camera.

Primary Meanings of picture

a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface
show in, or as in, a picture
a situation treated as an observable object
imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind
a representation of a person or scene in the form of a print or transparent slide; recorded by a camera on light-sensitive material
Full Definitions of picture

n a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface

“they showed us the pictures of their wedding”
icon, ikon, image
show 18 types...
hide 18 types...
bitmap, electronic image
an image represented as a two dimensional array of brightness values for pixels
a monochrome picture made by using several different shades of the same color
collage, montage
a paste-up made by sticking together pieces of paper or photographs to form an artistic image
foil, transparency
picture consisting of a positive photograph or drawing on a transparent base; viewed with a projector
computer graphic, graphic
an image that is generated by a computer
the images and symbolic representations that are traditionally associated with a person or a subject
a small picture inserted within the bounds or a larger one
likeness, semblance
picture consisting of a graphic image of a person or thing
cyclorama, diorama, panorama
a picture (or series of pictures) representing a continuous scene
reflection, reflexion
the image of something as reflected by a mirror (or other reflective material)
CAT scan, scan
an image produced by scanning
echogram, sonogram
an image of a structure that is produced by ultrasonography (reflections of high-frequency sound waves); used to observe fetal growth or to study bodily organs
chiaroscuro painting or stained glass etc., in shades of grey imitating the effect of relief
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
a montage that uses photographic images
portrait, portrayal
any likeness of a person, in any medium
lantern slide, slide
a transparency mounted in a frame; viewed with a slide projector
overhead, viewgraph
a transparency for use with an overhead projector
Type of:
a creation that is a visual or tangible rendering of someone or something

n graphic art consisting of an artistic composition made by applying paints to a surface

“his pictures hang in the Louvre”
show 24 types...
hide 24 types...
an abstract painting
painting depicting a city or urban area
an unskillful painting
a painting created with paint that is made by mixing the pigments with water and a binder
a painting produced by spreading paint with the fingers
icon, ikon
a conventional religious painting in oil on a small wooden panel; venerated in the Eastern Church
painting depicting an expanse of natural scenery
illumination, miniature
painting or drawing included in a book (especially in illuminated medieval manuscripts)
painting done in a range of tones of a single color
mural, wall painting
a painting that is applied to a wall surface
nude, nude painting
a painting of a naked human figure
oil painting
a picture painted with oil paints
the reappearance in a painting of an underlying image that had been painted over (usually when the later painting becomes transparent with age)
sand painting
a painting done by Amerindians (especially Navaho); made of fine colored sands on a neutral background
seascape, waterscape
a painting of the sea (as distinguished from a landscape)
a semiabstract painting
still life
a painting of inanimate objects such as fruit or flowers
a Tibetan religious painting on fabric
trompe l'oeil
a painting rendered in such great detail as to deceive the viewer concerning its reality
water-color, water-colour, watercolor, watercolour
a painting produced with watercolors
canvas, canvass
an oil painting on canvas fabric
a mural done with watercolors on wet plaster
a watercolor executed with opaque watercolors mixed with gum
wash, wash drawing
a watercolor made by applying a series of monochrome washes one over the other
Type of:
graphic art
the arts of drawing or painting or printmaking

n illustrations used to decorate or explain a text

“the dictionary had many pictures
pictorial matter
Type of:
artwork that helps make something clear or attractive

v show in, or as in, a picture

depict, render, show
depict with an illustration
depict as if on a map
Type of:
interpret, represent
create an image or likeness of

n a situation treated as an observable object

“the political picture is favorable”
Type of:
situation, state of affairs
the general state of things; the combination of circumstances at a given time

n a clear and telling mental image

“he had no clear picture of himself or his world”
impression, mental picture
Type of:
image, mental image
an iconic mental representation

n a graphic or vivid verbal description

“too often the narrative was interrupted by long word pictures
“the author gives a depressing picture of life in Poland”
characterisation, characterization, delineation, depiction, word picture, word-painting
descriptive word or phrase
portrait, portraiture, portrayal
a word picture of a person's appearance and character
Type of:
description, verbal description
a statement that represents something in words

n a typical example of some state or quality

“the very picture of a modern general”
“she was the picture of despair”
Type of:
exemplification, typification
a representational or typifying form or model

v imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind

envision, fancy, figure, image, project, see, visualise, visualize
realise, realize, see, understand
perceive (an idea or situation) mentally
visualise, visualize
form a mental picture of something that is invisible or abstract
Type of:
conceive of, envisage, ideate, imagine
form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case

n a representation of a person or scene in the form of a print or transparent slide; recorded by a camera on light-sensitive material

exposure, photo, photograph, pic
show 38 types...
hide 38 types...
a photograph of a muscular man in minimal attire
black and white, monochrome
a black-and-white photograph or slide
photographic print of plans or technical drawings etc.
a photograph of an attractive woman in minimal attire
a photograph taken at close range
a photograph made by an early photographic process; the image was produced on a silver plate sensitized to iodine and developed in mercury vapor
blowup, enlargement, magnification
a photographic print that has been enlarged
a single one of a series of still transparent pictures forming a cinema, television or video film
a photograph that is printed on smooth shiny paper
a photograph of a person's head
hologram, holograph
the intermediate photograph (or photographic record) that contains information for reproducing a three-dimensional image by holography
a photograph taken from a distance
photograph reduced to the size of a dot (usually for purposes of security)
arial mosaic, mosaic, photomosaic
arrangement of aerial photographs forming a composite picture
mug shot, mugshot
a photograph of someone's face (especially one made for police records)
a photographic copy of written or printed or graphic work
photographic print, print
a printed picture produced from a photographic negative
a photograph taken with the help of a microscope
radiogram, radiograph, shadowgraph, skiagram, skiagraph
a photographic image produced on a radiosensitive surface by radiation other than visible light (especially by X-rays or gamma rays)
shot, snap, snapshot
an informal photograph; usually made with a small hand-held camera
spectrogram, spectrograph
a photographic record of a spectrum
stereo, stereoscopic photograph, stereoscopic picture
two photographs taken from slightly different angles that appear three-dimensional when viewed together
a static photograph (especially one taken from a movie and used for advertising purposes)
telephoto, telephotograph
a photograph made with a telephoto lens
a photograph transmitted and reproduced over a distance
time exposure
a photograph produced with a relatively long exposure time
a photograph whose edges shade off gradually
wedding picture
photographs of bride and groom and their friends taken at their wedding
scene, shot
a consecutive series of pictures that constitutes a unit of action in a film
moving or still pictures in contrasting colors that appear three-dimensional when superimposed
a radiogram produced by radiation emitted by the specimen being photographed
a photograph from which the background has been cut away
a photocopy made on a Photostat machine
a trial photographic print from a negative
radiophoto, radiophotograph
a photograph transmitted by radio waves
X ray, X-ray, X-ray photograph, X-ray picture, roentgenogram
a radiogram made by exposing photographic film to X rays; used in medical diagnosis
visible speech
spectrogram of speech; speech displayed spectrographically
a scene that is filmed but is not used in the final editing of the film
Type of:
a creation that is a visual or tangible rendering of someone or something

n the visible part of a television transmission

“they could still receive the sound but the picture was gone”
Type of:
visual communication
communication that relies on vision

n a form of entertainment that enacts a story by sound and a sequence of images giving the illusion of continuous movement

film, flick, motion picture, motion-picture show, movie, moving picture, moving-picture show, pic, picture show
show 22 types...
hide 22 types...
a movie that is made to be shown on television
feature, feature film
the principal (full-length) film in a program at a movie theater
final cut
the final edited version of a movie as approved by the director and producer
home movie
a film made at home by an amateur photographer
collage film
a movie that juxtaposes different kinds of footage
coming attraction
a movie that is advertised to draw customers
a movie featuring shooting and violence
short subject
a brief film; often shown prior to showing the feature
docudrama, documentary, documentary film, infotainment
a film or TV program presenting the facts about a person or event
cinema verite
a movie that shows ordinary people in actual activities without being controlled by a director
film noir
a movie that is marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, menace, and cynical characters
skin flick
a pornographic movie
rough cut
the first print of a movie after preliminary editing
silent movie, silent picture, silents
a movie without a soundtrack
slow motion
a movie that apparently takes place at a slower than normal speed; achieved by taking the film at a faster rate
talkie, talking picture
a movie with synchronized speech and singing
3-D, 3D, three-D
a movie with images having three dimensional form or appearance
musical, musical comedy, musical theater
a play or film whose action and dialogue is interspersed with singing and dancing
Western, horse opera
a film about life in the western United States during the period of exploration and development
animated cartoon, cartoon, toon
a film made by photographing a series of cartoon drawings to give the illusion of movement when projected in rapid sequence
a short film and commentary about current events
a short pornographic film shown in a small coin-operated booth
Type of:
product, production
an artifact that has been created by someone or some process
a social event involving a public performance or entertainment

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.