Definition of sketch in English:

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Pronunciation: /skɛtʃ/


1A rough or unfinished drawing or painting, often made to assist in making a more finished picture: a charcoal sketch
More example sentences
  • He did this partly because these paintings were intended as sketches for more finished pictures to be done later.
  • The drawings and watercolors on exhibit vary from preparatory sketches to finished drawings depicting views in Delft that are still recognizable today.
  • The drawings comprise preparatory sketches and finished sheets.
drawing, preliminary drawing, outline;
diagram, representation, delineation, design, plan, artist's impression;
informal rough
technical underdrawing, cartoon, maquette, ébauche, esquisse, croquis
1.1A brief written or spoken account or description, giving only basic details: a biographical sketch of Ernest Hemingway
More example sentences
  • Stewart published brief biographical sketches of the earliest Scottish chartered accountants in the second half of the 19th century.
  • Serious readers will value the digressions spread among the condensed descriptions of famous events and brief biographical sketches.
  • Additionally, brief biographical sketches are scattered throughout the book to introduce the reader to the major players in the drama that unfolded at Mobile.
outline, brief idea, rundown, run-through, main points, thumbnail sketch, bones, bare bones, skeleton;
summary, synopsis, brief description, recapitulation, summarization, abstract, precis, résumé;
French tour d'horizon;
North American  wrap-up
informal recap
description, portrait, vignette, cameo, profile, portrayal, depiction;
potted biography
1.2A rough or unfinished version of any creative work: you can see how the first movement evolved from the composer’s sketches
More example sentences
  • I start with melodies, instrumentals, a rough sketch of what the song's going to be.
  • I have also met with the painters from both traditions and learnt how the murals evolve from an initial sketch to the creation of the painting that can be several storeys high.
  • After a little while, the two of us had a rough sketch for a song.
2A short humorous play or performance, consisting typically of one scene in a revue or comedy programme: a hilarious sketch for their latest BBC series
More example sentences
  • Pinter's revue sketches have never been marginal doodles.
  • They'll be the tools in your arts course who try and make a sketch comedy revue.
  • The novelty competition is a lighthearted short drama or comedy sketch.
skit, scene, piece, performance, act, item, turn, routine, number;
3 informal, dated A comical or amusing person or thing.


[with object]
1Make a rough drawing of: as they talked, Modigliani began to sketch her [no object]: Jeanne sketched and painted whenever she had the time
More example sentences
  • Rubens sometimes used monochrome techniques in sketching compositions for engravers.
  • Then he set up the camera and began to sketch the landscape, intending to record the 360-degree view.
  • He begins that process by sketching an image that he intends to turn into a 3 - D piece of art.
draw, make a drawing of, draw a picture of, depict, portray, represent, delineate, pencil;
rough out, outline
1.1 (sketch something out/in) Give a brief account or general outline of something: they sketched out the prosecution case
More example sentences
  • In a further statement released by Lucas, a brief premise has been sketched out for the third prequel.
  • Two parts are done, and the third has been sketched out and waiting for months.
  • No projected costs were announced for the move, no architectural treatments were sketched out, no public debate about the suitability of the site was engaged in, much less a long overdue debate about the role of the national theatre.
describe, outline, give a brief idea of, give a rundown of, give a thumbnail sketch of, rough out, block out, trace out, chalk out, map out, delineate, indicate;
summarize, give a summary of, give an abstract/precis/résumé of, precis, recapitulate
1.2Perform (a gesture) with one’s hands or body: he sketched a graceful bow in her direction
More example sentences
  • She sketched a salute and then loped away, a smile flashing over her lips as she did so.
  • Jay nodded and then turned back, sketching a quick bow to the three outside.
  • Flipping the rifle over his shoulder, Mattais sketched John a mocking salute.



Pronunciation: /ˈskɛtʃə/
Example sentences
  • But Donna isn't a good sketcher, and if you can't sketch you have to show the assistants what you want.
  • Sebastian Smee talks to five eminent sketchers who never went to art school
  • His ideas and methods were easily adapted by his fellow amateur sketchers.


Mid 17th century: from Dutch schets or German Skizze, from Italian schizzo, from schizzare 'make a sketch', based on Greek skhedios 'done extempore'.

Words that rhyme with sketch

etch, fetch, ketch, kvetch, lech, outstretch, retch, stretch, vetch, wretch

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sketch

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