Definitions

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

  • noun A hasty or undetailed drawing or painting often made as a preliminary study.
  • noun A brief general account or presentation; an outline.
  • noun A brief, light, or informal literary composition, such as an essay or a short story.
  • noun Music A brief composition, especially for the piano.
  • noun A short, often satirical scene or play in a revue or variety show; a skit.
  • noun Informal An amusing person.
  • intransitive verb To make a sketch of; outline.
  • intransitive verb To make a sketch.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A brief, slight, or hasty delineation; a rapid or offhand presentation of the essential facts of anything; a rough draft; an outline: as, in literature, the sketch of an event, a character, or a career.
  • noun In art:
  • noun The first suggestive embodiment. of an artist's idea as expressed on canvas, or on paper, or in the clay model, upon which his more finished performance is to be elaborated or built up.
  • noun A slight transcript from nature of the human figure, or of any object, made in crayon or chalk with simple shading, or any rough draft in colors, taken with the object of securing for the artist the materials for a finished picture; a design in outline; a delineated memorandum; a slight delineation or indication of an artist's thought, invention, or recollection.
  • noun A short and slightly constructed play or literary composition: as, “sketches by Boz.”
  • noun In music:
  • noun A short composition consisting of a single movement: so called either from the simplicity of its construction, or because it is of a descriptive character, being suggested by some external object, or being intended to suggest such an object, as a fountain or a brook.
  • noun Generally in the plural, preliminary memoranda made by a composer with the intention of developing them afterward into a finished composition.
  • noun In com., a description, sent at regular intervals to the consignor, of the kinds of goods sold by a commission house and the terms of sale.
  • To present the essential facts of, with omission of details; outline briefly or slightly; describe or depict in a general, incomplete, and suggestive way.
  • Specifically, in art, to draw or portray in outline, or with partial shading; make a rough or slight draft of, especially as a memorandum for more finished work: as, to sketch a group or a landscape.
  • Synonyms To portray. See outline, n.
  • To make a sketch; present essential facts or features, with omission of details.
  • Specifically, in art, to draw in outline or with partial shading: as, she sketches cleverly.

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

  • transitive verb To draw the outline or chief features of; to make a rought of.
  • transitive verb To plan or describe by giving the principal points or ideas of.
  • noun An outline or general delineation of anything; a first rough or incomplete draught or plan of any design; especially, in the fine arts, such a representation of an object or scene as serves the artist's purpose by recording its chief features; also, a preliminary study for an original work.
  • intransitive verb To make sketches, as of landscapes.

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

  • verb To make a brief, basic drawing.
  • verb To describe a person, or an incident, briefly, and with very few details.
  • noun A rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not intended as a finished work, often consisting of a multitude of overlapping lines.
  • noun A rough design, plan, or draft, as a rough draft of a book.
  • noun A brief description of a person or account of an incident; a general presentation or outline.
  • noun A brief, light, or unfinished dramatic, musical, or literary work or idea; eg. a short, often humorous or satirical scene or play, frequently as part of a revue or variety show, a skit; or, a brief musical composition or theme, especially for the piano; or, a brief, light, or informal literary composition, such as an essay or short story.
  • noun informal An amusing person.
  • noun slang, Ireland Keeping sketch: to keep a lookout.

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

  • verb make a sketch of
  • noun a humorous or satirical drawing published in a newspaper or magazine
  • noun preliminary drawing for later elaboration
  • verb describe roughly or briefly or give the main points or summary of
  • noun short descriptive summary (of events)
  • noun a brief literary description

Etymologies

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

[Dutch schets, from Italian schizzo, from schizzare, to splash, of imitative origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Dutch schets, from Italian schizzo, from Latin schedium, from Ancient Greek σχέδιος (schedios, "made suddenly, off-hand"), from σχεδιάζω (schediazo, "to do a thing off-hand").

Examples

  • Yet he read, without complaint and without a fee from his wealthy protégé, not only the title sketch but twenty-seven other pieces, recommending eighteen for the collection—some eighty thousand words.30 Osgood hustled it all into a June printing.

    Mark Twain

  • Yet he read, without complaint and without a fee from his wealthy protégé, not only the title sketch but twenty-seven other pieces, recommending eighteen for the collection—some eighty thousand words.30 Osgood hustled it all into a June printing.

    Mark Twain

  • As the title sketch of a Mark Twain collection, its popularity was practically guaranteed in advance.

    Mark Twain

  • As the title sketch of a Mark Twain collection, its popularity was practically guaranteed in advance.

    Mark Twain

  • It wasn't so very long ago that mere mention of the phrase "sketch show" was enough to usher a blitzkrieg of yawns from even the most dedicated

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • A sketch is a sketch is a sketch … its what is on my mind at the moment and it is what it is.

    EXTRALIFE – By Scott Johnson - Sketch a Day: 01-12-2008

  • Rodney Harrison, who knows everybody who _is_ anybody, has introduced me to some vaudeville-powers-that-be and I am encouraged to try my hand at what they call a sketch -- a one-act play.

    Jane Journeys On

  • The whole combination of curves which go to make up this sketch is a curious arrangement of words inscribed with the utmost care, in the smallest of characters.

    The Filigree Ball

  • Verrazzano, reproduces one (No. XV, a) which he describes as a sketch of No.th America, from a map of the new world, in an edition of Ptolemy printed in Basle, 1530.

    The Voyage of Verrazzano A Chapter in the Early History of Maritime Discovery in America

  • But own that I am right: what you call a sketch from

    Kenelm Chillingly — Complete

Comments

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  • You can be either entertained by creations of man secondary-reality) or by those of nature (primary-reality)

    or by those of your understanding (undivided reality).

    In their attempts to realize this seldom-seen third reality,

    routine men demand a detailed, unambiguous map to direct them,

    and which they believe is only available from others.

    The Certain-Man instead, employs a mere sketch, impressed on an ever-moving fishnet, and drawn entirely from his own understanding.

    --Jan Cox

    August 31, 2007

  • seen it sometimes as short for sketchy

    October 9, 2016