from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A portrait that shows only the upper half and hands of a person.
  • adjective Of or relating to a half-length portrait.
  • adjective Of half the full length.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of half the full or ordinary length; showing only the upper part of the body, as a portrait.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of half the whole or ordinary length, as a picture.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective representing only the upper half of the body
  • noun a portrait showing the body from only the waist up
  • adjective abridged to half its original length


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Good things come in small formats to start the show—a tiny oval "Portrait of a Man" (circa 1627–30) by a follower of Franz Hals, a miniature half-length self-portrait by Gerrit Dou (circa 1645).

    Dutch Masters Delight in Paris

  • Romans is expected to decide later this week whether Shackleford, who finished fourth at the Derby before edging Animal Kingdom by a half-length in the Preakness, will go, according to a New York Racing Association official.

    Belmont Face-Off Is More Likely

  • But he brought these "ignudi" crashing down to earth, revamping them as a sequence of sexily insalubrious half-length boys, interacting equally with spectacular still-life elements and with the viewer.

    The Misery Memoirist

  • Oberlin's painting is now installed at the National Gallery, Washington, as the focal point of a miniature exhibition, "Larger Than Life," paired with the gallery's recently acquired ter Brugghen "Bagpipe Player" 1624, a robust half-length figure that exemplifies the secular side of the artist's practice as brilliantly as "Saint Sebastian" does the religious side.

    An Artist of Dual Allegiances

  • Venetian painters had pioneered the poetic narrative scene involving two or three half-length figures, but in the "Gypsy Fortune-Teller" and the "Cardsharps" both 1595, Caravaggio gave the genre a streamlined, streetwise spin—Mr. Graham-Dixon calls it "low-life drama."

    The Misery Memoirist

  • Also impressive are the portraits of well-fed burghers, such as the 1643 half-length figure of Paulus Verschuur, confident in his stylish hat, crisp collar and voluminous suit; a bare hand, gloves, sheer cuffs, a silken sash, curling hair and alert features are teased into existence with assured, staccato brushstrokes.

    Picture-Perfect Rogues' Gallery

  • Originally made as a three-part series for French TV, it is five-and-a-half hours long in its full form (though a half-length feature is also on release in the UK), exhaustively researched and often exhilarating to watch, as we track the fledgling revolutionary, charmingly portrayed by Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramírez, through countless countries, attacks, hijackings and escapes, to his eventual arrest in Sudan in 1994.

    Carlos director Olivier Assayas on the terrorist who became a pop culture icon

  • A splendidly robotic half-length shows a bare-headed Cosimo right-side-on in state-of-the art armour; 25 versions exist – a small army.

    Bronzino's Medici portraits – review

  • (AP) Tanda beat Switch by a half-length Sunday in the $100,000 Railbird Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park.

    Tanda wins Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park

  • Everyone loved the mop of black hair, the half-length trousers, the bright Dr Martens and the cry of "Hiya pals", but you could spend hours figuring out exactly what made Gerard Kelly such a physically funny pantomime star.

    Gerard Kelly obituary


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.