Meaning of “picture” in the English Dictionary

"picture" in British English

See all translations


uk /ˈpɪk.tʃər/ us /ˈpɪk.tʃɚ/

picture noun (IMAGE)

A1 [ C ] a drawing, painting, photograph, etc.:

Freddy drew/painted a picture of my dog.
We took a picture of (= photographed) the children on their new bicycles.
I hate having my picture taken (= being photographed).

B2 [ C ] an image seen on a television or cinema screen:

We can't get a clear picture.

B1 [ C ] a film:

Could this be the first animated movie to win a best picture award?
the pictures [ plural ] old-fashioned

the cinema:

Let's go to the pictures tonight.

B2 [ C ] something you produce in your mind, by using your imagination or memory:

I have a very vivid picture of the first time I met Erik.

More examples

picture noun (IDEA)

B2 [ S ] (an idea of) a situation:

After watching the news, I had a clearer picture of what was happening.
The picture emerging in reports from the battlefield is one of complete confusion.

[ S ] a situation described in a particular way:

figurative The experts are painting a gloomy/brighter/rosy picture of the state of the economy.

More examples

pictureverb [ T ]

uk /ˈpɪk.tʃər/ us /ˈpɪk.tʃɚ/

C1 to imagine something:

Picture the scene - the crowds of people and animals, the noise, the dirt.
[ + -ing verb ] Try to picture yourself lying on a beach in the hot sun.
[ + question word ] Picture to yourself how terrible that day must have been.
formal He was pictured (= an artist had painted him) as a soldier in full uniform.

More examples

(Definition of “picture” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"picture" in American English

See all translations


us /ˈpɪk·tʃər/

picture noun (REPRESENTATION)

[ C ] a representation of someone or something produced by drawing, painting, or photographing:

He drew/painted a picture of my dog.
Brian takes lots of pictures (= photographs).

[ C ] A picture is also an image seen on a television or movie screen:

It’s an old set, and the picture is a little fuzzy.

[ C ] A picture is also a movie:

It won an Academy Award for best picture.

picture noun (DESCRIPTION)

[ C/U ] a description of a situation, or the situation itself:

[ C ] Do news reports give an accurate picture of events?
[ U ] They’re looking at individuals and not at the overall picture.
[ U ] Don’t say any more – I get the picture (= understand the situation).
[ U ] Marilyn’s mother more or less stayed out of the picture (= was not involved).

[ C/U ] To paint a picture is to describe a situation:

[ C ] The statistics do not paint an optimistic picture.

pictureverb [ T ]

us /ˈpɪk·tʃər/

picture verb [ T ] (REPRESENTATION)

to imagine how something looks:

Try to picture yourself lying on a beach in the hot sun.

(Definition of “picture” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"picture" in Business English

See all translations


uk /ˈpɪktʃər/ us

[ S ] an idea about what is happening in a particular situation:

a picture of sth They conducted a survey to get a better picture of their customers' needs.
a clear/complete/accurate picture It is difficult to get an accurate picture of value.
a gloomy/grim/rosy picture The economic picture that the prime minister painted was fairly gloomy.
the big picture

the whole situation, as opposed to particular parts of it:

see/look at the big picture The board needs to look at the bigger picture when taking investment decisions.
It's important not to lose sight of the big picture.
The bigger picture shows a growing divide in the market between the wealthy and the poor.
keep/put sb in the picture

to make sure someone knows all the facts about a situation that is changing:

We keep shareholders in the picture with our annual reports.
out of the picture

not part of or involved in a particular situation:

With overtime out of the picture, many of the workers will struggle to survive.

(Definition of “picture” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)