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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make a brief, basic drawing.
  • v. To describe a person, or an incident, briefly, and with very few details.
  • n. A rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not intended as a finished work, often consisting of a multitude of overlapping lines.
  • n. A rough design, plan, or draft, as a rough draft of a book.
  • n. A brief description of a person or account of an incident; a general presentation or outline.
  • n. 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.
  • n. An amusing person.
  • n. Keeping sketch: to keep a lookout.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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 v. To make sketches, as of landscapes.
  • transitive v. To draw the outline or chief features of; to make a rought of.
  • transitive v. To plan or describe by giving the principal points or ideas of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In art:
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A short and slightly constructed play or literary composition: as, “sketches by Boz.”
  • n. In music:
  • n. 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.
  • n. Generally in the plural, preliminary memoranda made by a composer with the intention of developing them afterward into a finished composition.
  • n. 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.

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

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


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").



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  • seen it sometimes as short for sketchy

    October 9, 2016

  • 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