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Picture This! 9 Idioms Using "Picture"

Picture This! 9 Idioms Using "Picture"

In English, we often speak about things we can see. However, in many cases, we aren't referring to our eyes at all. For example, have you ever asked anyone if they can "see" what you mean? Language related to visuals is commonly used to express ideas and concepts.

Perhaps that's why there are so many idioms and expressions with the word "picture." Since a picture can include any kind of image, we can use it to talk about many different things.

This time, we'll introduce 9 common English expressions that include the word "picture." Take a look and see how many you know!

The big picture

A man looking at various pages posted on the walls

"The big picture" refers to something large and complete rather than small or unimportant details.

Each of the workers understands their unique tasks, but everyone relies on the leader, who can see the big picture for the team.
You're too focused on these small details. Take a look at the big picture; what's your ultimate goal?

Picture (something/someone)

When you ask someone to "picture" something, you are asking them to imagine something. In other words, you're telling them to create a picture in their mind.

We often use this expression when talking about fantasies or ideal situations.

I can picture our business becoming number one in our industry in five years.
Picture me speaking fluent English and traveling around the world. That's my dream!

Get the picture

If you "get the picture," it means you understand. This expression is a bit informal.

They were confused at first, but I think they're starting to get the picture now.
I got the picture when she didn't respond to my text messages after a few days.

Enter the picture

A young couple embracing each other on a train platform

Something that has "entered the picture" is now involved or has become important.

The hotel industry was stable until companies like Airbnb entered the picture.

It can be used for people as well.

Once Stacy entered the picture, everything changed.

Out of the picture

This is the opposite of the previous expression. It refers to something that is no longer important or related. It can also be used to talk about people.

Is she still dating Carly?
No, Carly's been out of the picture since the summer.


This is used as an adjective to describe a scene or situation that is excellent and has no faults.

We went to the beach on a picture-perfect summer day. The weather was fantastic.
Everybody's life seems picture-perfect on Instagram, but it may not be like that in reality.

A picture’s worth a thousand words

A young woman looking at a painting in an art gallery

This popular expression communicates the idea that it's easier and quicker to get information from a photo than from words. It can also mean that one picture can inspire someone to think about or write many things.

I could try to explain my Halloween costume to you, but a picture's worth a thousand words. I'll send you a photo when I've finished making it.

Paint a __ picture

This idiom refers to an explanation or prediction about something or someone. It can be used in a positive, negative or neutral way depending on the adjective used with it.

Last month's sales results paint a worrying picture for our company's growth.
The news report painted a clear picture of the global economy.

The picture of health

A young, healthy woman cutting into some fruit in her kitchen

Someone who is "the picture of health" is very healthy and usually active.

Kimberly exercises every day and only eats healthy food, so she's the picture of health.


As you can see, pictures aren't only physical things we look at. Through these idioms, they also represent ideas, plans for the future, and things that we do (or don't) need to think about.

Try using one of these expressions in your next English conversation!