Definitions

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

  • noun A likeness of a person, especially one showing the face, that is created by a painter or photographer, for example.
  • noun A verbal representation or description, especially of a person.
  • noun A dramatic representation of a character.
  • noun The orientation of a page such that the longer side runs from top to bottom.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A drawing, representation, delineation, or picture of a person or a thing; specifically, a picture of a person, drawn from life; especially, a picture or representation of the face; a likeness, whether executed in oil or water-color, in crayon, on steel, by photography, in marble, etc., but particularly in oil: as, a painter of portraits.
  • noun A vivid description or delineation in words.
  • To portray; draw.

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

  • transitive verb obsolete To portray; to draw.
  • noun The likeness of a person, painted, drawn, or engraved; commonly, a representation of the human face painted from real life.
  • noun Hence, any graphic or vivid delineation or description of a person.
  • noun a bust or statue representing the actual features or person of an individual; -- in distinction from an ideal bust or statue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A painting or other picture of a person, especially the head and shoulders.
  • noun figuratively An accurate depiction of a mood.
  • noun computing, printing a print mode or selection specifying the rectangle to be printed on having the vertical sides longer than the horizontal sides.
  • verb obsolete To portray; to draw.

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

  • noun a word picture of a person's appearance and character
  • noun any likeness of a person, in any medium

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Old French, image, from past participle of portraire, to portray; see portray.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French portraict, pourtraict, nominal use of the past participle of portraire ("portray"), from Latin prōtrahō.

Examples

  • Vallombrosa, which the said monk afterwards placed in an arbour covered with vines, regardless of the injuries of wind and rain -- Andrea, having some colours still left on his palette, took up a tile and called his wife to sit for her portrait, that all might see how well she had kept her good looks from her youth; but Lucrezia not being inclined to sit, he got a mirror and painted _his own portrait_ on the tile instead.

    Fra Bartolommeo

  • Several are quite good, but the ultra-serious Nagin portrait is unintentionally hilarious.

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • Droeshout's brass engraving is the title portrait on the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, the First Folio published in 1623, seven years after the playwright's death.

    BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition

  • Droeshout's brass engraving is the title portrait on the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, the First Folio published in 1623, seven years after the playwright's death.

    BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition

  • So our portrait is the primary version of one of the greatest portraits of Shakespeare. posted by Deron Bauman in art, history, international, literature | * | 1 comment comments six more for the folio?

    shakespeare in his lifetime | clusterflock

  • The subject of the portrait is the installation artist Janet Laurence.

    March 2007

  • If it isn't properly exposed or focused or if the portrait is actually about where it was made without including the environment, the image is a failure.

    Archive 2007-06-01

  • If it isn't properly exposed or focused or if the portrait is actually about where it was made without including the environment, the image is a failure.

    Make clean images

  • A single Sontag portrait is the kiss of death in any matchup of personality or charisma.

    Odd Couple

  • A single Sontag portrait is the kiss of death in any matchup of personality or charisma.

    Odd Couple

Comments

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  • "I have heard a sad story about a little girl who was in the kitchen using a new toaster and asked her father: 'Do I put the slice of bread in portrait or landscape?'"

    - Susan Greenfield, Virtual worlds are limiting our brains , theage.com.au, 21 Oct 2011.

    October 21, 2011