Definition of portray in English:

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Pronunciation: /pɔːˈtreɪ/


[with object]
1Depict (someone or something) in a work of art or literature: the ineffectual Oxbridge dons portrayed by Evelyn Waugh
More example sentences
  • Rather, Thai children's literature portrays cultural practices and values through both explicit instructions and implicit morals.
  • Interestingly, the Torah is unique among all ancient national literature in that it portrays its people in both victory and defeat.
  • At its worst, the literature portrays the professor as a rusty wheel ignoring the paradigm shift.
paint, draw, paint/draw a picture of, picture, sketch, depict, represent, illustrate, present, show, render
literary limn
describe, depict, characterize, represent, delineate, present, show, paint in words, evoke
1.1Describe (someone or something) in a particular way: the book portrayed him as a self-serving careerist
More example sentences
  • The compilation of this report if attempting to portray an unbiased account should have mentioned the Palestinian casualties.
  • An actor who feels he has served his time, he is angered by reports that portray him as an over night success and is not prepared to underestimate his value now.
  • The reports also portray a shocking tale of work almost without break and poor living conditions.
represent, depict, characterize, describe, present
1.2(Of an actor) play the part of (someone) in a film or play: he chose Trevor Howard to portray Captain Bligh
More example sentences
  • Three of the four children are portrayed by actors in their first major roles.
  • Winners received a trip to Washington and Mt. Vernon, and got to ask their questions in person to an actor portraying the first president.
  • As is always the case when a film contains an abnormal character, the actor portraying him takes the spotlight.
play the part of, play, act the part of, take the role of, act, represent, appear as
rare personate





Pronunciation: /pɔːˈtreɪə/
Example sentences
  • I suppose Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller was the ichiban Tarzan portrayer and Maureen O'Sullivan with prototypical Jane.
  • One of filmdom's most popular portrayers of British secret agent ‘007,’ is in Indonesia, but not to film a new James Bond movie.
  • Local stations received additional support, as all winners joined the George Washington portrayer in taping a public service announcement which was then sent to local affiliates.


Middle English: from Old French portraire, based on traire 'to draw', from an alteration of Latin trahere.

Words that rhyme with portray

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For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: por|tray

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