Definition of paint in English:

paint

noun

  • 1[mass noun] A coloured substance which is spread over a surface and dries to leave a thin decorative or protective coating:

    ‘a tin of paint’
    [count noun] ‘bituminous paints’
    • ‘It was later given two coats of paint in appropriate colours.’
    • ‘In general, graffiti is removed by using paint in a colour which has the closest match to the actual colour of the tree trunk.’
    • ‘He is fond of thin paint and frequently layers a dark blue or black wash over phosphorescent pastel hues.’
    • ‘No artificial paint or any colouring agent is coated on the surface.’
    • ‘A car comes rattling down the street, thick smoke pouring out the back, every door a different colour of blistered paint.’
    • ‘Mix up pots of poster paint, and give your children a pot of paint in each colour, a couple of brushes and a glass of water.’
    • ‘Finally, rub down the wood to remove the splinters, give it a thin wash of acrylic paint and brush on the clear preservative.’
    • ‘Watered-down paint soaks into the porous concrete so it won't flake or peel like surface paint does.’
    • ‘Look at the picture at top; imagine it on an enormous canvas, in thick paint, colours saturated and glowing.’
    • ‘The top ones were drawn on cartridge paper and then painted in watercolour using sepia colour paint, and the bottom ones were painted straight onto watercolour paper using light red.’
    • ‘Carpenters were now putting a fresh coating of paint on the house, making it look almost as though it had just been built.’
    • ‘That is why I deliberately allow early coatings of paint to show through as I continually build color.’
    • ‘We did test some acrylic paint on tiles and it was just totally unsatisfactory so we chose what, I guess, was the appropriate paint for the surface.’
    • ‘A demonstration is given on how to paint using black watercolor or slightly thinned tempera paint.’
    • ‘The door was metal with no handle, and painted with white paint now flaking off.’
    • ‘For the third coat, which you will sponge onto the wall, you can pick either a colour glaze paint or a ready-made colour wash.’
    • ‘The only function of plaster on walls and ceilings, unless it is itself elaborately decorative, is to serve as a smooth surface on which to place decorative paper or paint.’
    • ‘Yet even when, as here, he captures the light with such sensitivity, Cameron does not use paint for its vivid colour, but as a means of expressing tonal change.’
    • ‘A zinc rich paint coating protects the interior of the pipe.’
    • ‘In order to cut down on the cost of paint, consider mixing sample pots of colours with white paint.’
    colouring, colourant, tint, dye, stain, pigment, wash, colour
    varnish
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[count noun] An act of painting something:
      ‘the house looked in need of a good paint’
      • ‘Jaipur's date with the pink color goes back to 1905-06, when Jaipur city was getting ready to greet the Prince of Wales and needed a fresh paint all over.’
      • ‘The walls needed a fresh paint, the floor needed vacuuming, and when was the last time I had dusted?’
    2. 1.2informal Cosmetic make-up:
      ‘one has false curls, another too much paint’
      • ‘"Come here, " Mum said and smeared white face paint all over Abby's face.’
      • ‘That was the first night Lewanna felt truly beautiful, with the powder and paint on her face, the ability to become someone else disguising all her flaws.’
      • ‘Why is it that he is not donning the grease paint too often these days?’
      • ‘He looked bizarre in a Rasta wig, a multi-coloured hat, a Caribbean-style shirt and brown make-up paint daubed over his face.’
      • ‘His paint was lipstick, blush, mascara; his canvas, the most celebrated faces in the world.’
      • ‘If anti-Rococo critics claimed oil paint was too much like cosmetic paint, social critics held that the reverse was true.’
      • ‘And her make-up was simple with red paint for her lips; light redness for her cheeks.’
      • ‘‘Oh, Isis,’ I muttered, grabbing a wet cloth and starting to scrub my face of the overdone kohl and paint.’
      • ‘But what keeps me going is the thought of applying party make-up, because I love to play with paint.’
      • ‘Her hair was done up in glossy curls and her face bore paint used for makeup.’
      • ‘Quickly and efficiently the men applied face paint to each other.’
      • ‘She showed Paul the results - a once white Kleenex covered with layers of pale colored foundation and white paint.’
      cosmetics, greasepaint
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Computing The function or capability of producing graphics, especially those that mimic the effect of real paint:
      [as modifier] ‘a paint program’
      • ‘I have jotted down a few of the basic features one could expect to find in a computer photo paint type program.’
      • ‘In paint programs, by contrast, he can only add previously created images to the surfaces, which is not as effective.’
      • ‘Photoshop has long been a leader among graphics manipulation and paint software.’
      • ‘Upgrade your ability to edit images with this free paint program.’
      • ‘If the artwork isn't perfect, I fire up my paint program and make adjustments myself.’
  • 2North American A piebald horse:

    [as modifier] ‘a paint mare’
    • ‘The program was successful at Paint of a Different Color the first year and Al ended up with a beautiful homozygous filly and a palomino paint colt.’
    • ‘Usually such markings were only found on paints, and yet he was a simple quarter horse.’
    • ‘The paint mare slowed to an energetic trot, the rain making her giddy with a natural high.’
    • ‘Larry and Sue travel the country showing their own paint stock as well as horses Larry is training for reining and cow horse competitions.’
    • ‘I turned around in enough time to see Bey trot around a bend on his black Friesian, leading a black paint mare I've dubbed Kionee.’
    • ‘Kris had been trying out barrel racing, so she lugged the heavy western saddle and the square saddle pad over to the paint horse.’
    • ‘Solana rode a paint mare that stood about fifteen and a half hands high; large black spots covered a cream body.’
    • ‘A beautiful paint mare was stretched on her side in the middle of labor.’
    • ‘Less than a mile behind, the beam of light washed over another man; a man trotting alongside a paint horse.’
    • ‘Tommie is a second-generation horse trainer, raised on a paint horse ranch in California.’
    • ‘I slowed my pace so as to not disrupt the sleepy horses, but I did not waste time while making my way toward the stall Yahora shared with an old paint mare.’
    • ‘Malichi, on his paint stallion, Splash, led the way with Jade, on Cotton, close behind.’
    • ‘Miko Smitheson was walking his paint mare on a long rein out of the arena when I got there, the pair of them looking hot and tired.’
    • ‘He looked around for a moment seeing his paint horse dancer on the other side pasture.’
    • ‘The mare was a brown and white spotted horse or known as a paint.’
    • ‘He looked up to Sadie, who was leading a brown paint horse toward them.’
    • ‘Although I'm going to the paint horse show in the morning there was nothing today to bounce me out early.’
    • ‘Misty saw them first, Tracey and Madison on the back of his paint pony.’
  • 3Basketball
    [in singular] The rectangular area marked near the basket at each end of the court:

    ‘the two players jostled in the paint’
    • ‘He has quick feet and enough moves to get three or four baskets in the paint.’
    • ‘They do a good job defensively of matching up again with their zone, contesting us when we're driving in the paint against the seven-footers.’
    • ‘It used to be a quick team, with small but tough players in the paint, good (but not great) shooters, and clever point guards.’
    • ‘With Baylor and Chamberlain down in the paint, Counts was free to play away from the basket and use his great outside touch.’
    • ‘Whatever the reason, Thompson has been fortunate to avoid being trapped in the paint all the time, a fact that has greatly enhanced his game.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Cover the surface of (something) with paint:

    [with object and complement] ‘the ceiling was painted dark grey’
    ‘a brightly painted caravan’
    • ‘These parts are being anodized or plated, and will be painted or powder-coated prior to assembly.’
    • ‘The keys themselves are formed from translucent plastic and then painted to match the PowerBook's aluminium shell.’
    • ‘The brightly painted front door from an age gone by gleams in the morning Sun.’
    • ‘Jared was spray painting one of the walls that was surprisingly still bare.’
    • ‘Similarly, painting the ceiling a darker color than the walls tends to create a more intimate feeling.’
    • ‘The roof was made from sand paper cut and painted to resemble slates.’
    • ‘Today hundreds of brightly painted gondolas line the canalside and can be hired out by the hour or half-hour.’
    • ‘Rockets of early manufacture are painted battleship gray or dark green; later rockets are olive drab.’
    • ‘The popular effect of splashbacks is achieved when one side of a glass panel is painted then adhered to surfaces either behind cooktops, or as a feature panel in a bathroom.’
    • ‘Here the walls have been plastered in a textured way and the room is painted dark red.’
    • ‘Back down toward the river, in contrast to the splendor of much of the Castle complex, Golden Lane is formed by numerous brightly painted shoe-box sized peasant houses.’
    • ‘The walls were painted a dark blue with gold lining on the ceiling and floor.’
    • ‘With freshly painted nails and jewelry to match, she carries an additional accessory item that speaks for itself.’
    • ‘It was noted that the railings of the Clodiagh Bridge had been freshly painted and that the river name signs looked well.’
    • ‘Two panels of the shelving are painted a dark brick red to give accent, and three others are in beech plywood for the same reason.’
    • ‘Young's Airframe Repair did the skins and when a new set was completed, Mike would prime and paint the skins so that they would be ready for installation.’
    • ‘The new refrigerator and dishwasher were disguised with wood fronts painted to match the cabinets.’
    • ‘Far down the line of brightly painted longboats I saw a fisherman who owned just one net, which he had draped on a tepee of bamboo stalks to dry in the sun.’
    • ‘The brightly painted yellow walls, together with tea lights atop dark wooden tables, give the place a warm feeling.’
    • ‘Think of a plaster ceiling, painted a sky blue, perhaps with puffy clouds skipping across it.’
    colour, apply paint to, decorate, tint, dye, stain, distemper, whitewash, emulsion, gloss, spray, spray-paint, airbrush, roller, coat, cover
    daub, smear, plaster, spray, spray-paint, airbrush
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Apply cosmetics to (the skin):
      ‘she couldn't have been more than fourteen but her face was thickly painted’
      • ‘Her eyes were painted with dark kohl, hair brighter than Bridget's was, lips plump, face broad and distinctive.’
      • ‘Cage is tall and skinny enough, and since Morpheus is simply inscrutable, you could just paint Cage white and let the makeup do the acting.’
      • ‘Next was the easy part, or so I thought - sitting in a chair for a few hours, doing nothing but having my skin painted.’
      • ‘She was wiping tears from her eyes; then she applied lipstick on a mouth that was painted like a Kidney bean.’
      • ‘They had their faces painted white, with different color variations.’
      • ‘He'd painted his skin a whole different shade of beige.’
      • ‘The work is so meticulous that even their outer ears have to be painted with a tiny brush, which makes it difficult to remove their makeup after a performance.’
      • ‘Hip, sophisticated and painted with Japanese cosmetics, the heroines move slickly through a life of nightclubbing, jet planes and media parties.’
      • ‘Lace reluctantly turned her head up, shimmering blue eyes revealed, luscious lips painted with a pink brush across her face.’
    2. 1.2 Apply (a liquid) to a surface with a brush.
      • ‘Sgraffiti designs are made by painting an undercoat of plaster, covered by an overcoat of another colour.’
      • ‘With his free hand, he picked up a small paint brush and resumed painting the concave interior, where a detailed scene of army camp life was almost complete.’
      • ‘Almost anything can be painted these days, including laminate.’
      • ‘Can you imagine painting without a brush, sewing without a needle, or writing without a pen?’
      • ‘If one paints dots onto the surface of the balloon and then blows it up, each dot sees all the other dots moving away as if it were the centre of expansion.’
      • ‘Schwarz had painted its work surface with many layers of orangy brown paint, emphasizing signs of use and damage.’
      • ‘The name of the ship was painted on its gray surface in diplomatic purple.’
      • ‘The film opens with a pre-title sequence that shows a close-up of a brush as it paints a large black spot on a blank canvas.’
      • ‘The medicine comes in either a liquid form that's painted on the skin or as a patch that sticks onto the wart.’
      • ‘The actual wall of the gallery has been painted on one side with an old fashioned design roller, this gives it a yellow lacy feel to it.’
      • ‘Grain can be painted into the wood with a soft No.4 artist's brush and India ink diluted with rubbing alcohol.’
      • ‘Applied decoration may be painted, engraved or etched.’
      • ‘Wood can be painted to look like marble and walls made to look like stone.’
      • ‘All that you need to do is paint the clear liquid dots all over your boat.’
      • ‘She cleanses, exfoliates and tones my skin, then paints a soft, warm wax with jojoba onto my face to open pores and soften the sebum.’
      • ‘The building has been painted with lime wash to allow the structure to breathe.’
      • ‘This morning I brushed up against a door that had been recently painted with latex paint (I think).’
      • ‘The 2 wound models used for this study were plaster of Paris bases painted to resemble actual wounds.’
      • ‘Picture frames, bought cheaply from a homestore chain such as Ikea, can be painted in white emulsion to give a driftwood look.’
      • ‘Be sure to prime or size any newly applied drywall compound before painting or papering.’
    3. 1.3paint something out Obliterate something with paint:
      ‘the markings on the plane were hurriedly painted out’
      • ‘Cover a zit with a small pointy brush dipped in concealer and ‘paint it out,’ says Eugenia Weston, makeup artist and founder of Senna Cosmetics boutiques in Southern California.’
      • ‘In fact, Hopper had originally included a figure in the upper storey, but later painted it out.’
      • ‘A vandal would have to go out, buy some Liquid Paper and paint the mustache out in order to deface it.’
      • ‘Catherine McGlinchey sees it as a sign that classical republicanism is being slowly painted out of history.’
      • ‘He fully grasped the power of omission, saying of one of his landscape paintings: ‘I paint in all these details in order that I may know how to paint them out.’’
      • ‘When her husband became convinced that she was being unfaithful, he had her painted out of both portraits.’
      • ‘Oh well it's freedom, you just have these things in your mind and you just sort of paint them out and pick them, and re-do them again.’
      • ‘He added: ‘I will be more than happy myself to simply turn up one Saturday morning and paint the lines out.’’
      • ‘Everything in Ostermeier's production contributes to the play's central revelation: the woman's realisation that ‘I can't paint things out, they're always there.‘’
      • ‘So he took his old shoe and painted it out and slapped the new shoe logo on that shoe, trying to see if he could if he could get away with it.’
  • 2Depict (someone or something) or produce (a picture) with paint:

    ‘I painted a woman sitting next to a table lamp’
    ‘he paints landscapes and portraits’
    • ‘Saskia Van Uylenburgh was the daughter of an impoverished though respected burgomaster and Rembrandt drew and painted her over and over again.’
    • ‘She started with representational works, painting some of the lovely scenes that can be seen from the island, and the colours and styles that abound there.’
    • ‘Icons were painted by faithful painters - usually monks - in monastic seclusion.’
    • ‘He admired the truthfulness of landscapes painted by an unschooled artist, who became his first teacher.’
    • ‘The Impressionists insisted they wanted to paint directly what they saw in nature.’
    • ‘On several occasions, Monet painted the same view covered in a blanket of snow.’
    • ‘My best holiday was with Leo, the artist who'd painted me, and his wife Gemma one summer.’
    • ‘Jan's sense of self-confidence is what makes artists want to paint her, she said.’
    • ‘Bailey Doogan paints clouds the way she paints skin.’
    • ‘‘In these pictures I have painted people who go to Bridge House and being a part of my pictures gives them confidence in their own abilities’.’
    • ‘In 1995, he commissioned a Chinese artist to paint him together with his wife, son and daughter.’
    • ‘When the Irish portraitist, Nathaniel Hone painted her in 1765, she was at the height of her popularity.’
    • ‘The artist returned to the Arlé sienne in 1958, painting her in the person of Jacqueline, his companion at the time.’
    • ‘So, instead of painting the desert or the mountains, I painted hotels covered with lots of lush greenery, using a lovely shade of green called veridian.’
    • ‘Dietz began painting World War I aviation scenes, but his body of World War II art has made him famous.’
    • ‘Showing their jest for life, some children painted Walt Disney characters on their greetings.’
    portray, picture, paint a picture of, depict, delineate, draw, sketch, represent
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Give a description of:
      ‘the city is not as bad as it is painted’
      • ‘In the Seattle Times, meanwhile, sportswriter Percy Allen paints a different money picture.’
      • ‘The carbon copies left at stations of origin paint a comprehensive picture of small-scale trade along the railway.’
      • ‘Storey paints a picture short on romance and rainbows and high on mud, sweat, and naked ambition - in short, he describes perfectly the world of professional rugby.’
      • ‘The allegations of a partnership, vulnerable as they are for these reasons, are, moreover, only part of the picture painted by the proceedings.’
      • ‘Without identifying them, paint me some pictures of some of the issues which have come up for you in terms of who ends up with primary care for the child.’
      • ‘And indeed, Elisabetta's plight in Don Carlo is painted with a broad brush.’
      • ‘This picture is very similar to the picture of urban ghettos painted by urban sociologists during the last decade.’
      • ‘The space concerns and planting conditions are probably less than ideal for most, but the pictures paint a different story.’
      • ‘Bettman wants certain high-profile owners to be vocal about small markets and paint a doom-and-gloom financial picture.’
      • ‘In Bowling Alone, Putnam painted us the picture of American social institutions 30 years in decline.’
      • ‘Though the mystical element is rather missing from his character here, Adès paints Prospero as a wonderfully vengeful mage.’
      • ‘Hate speech always uses the racial and cultural characteristics of the victim, who is painted as an abominable, dangerous creature.’
      • ‘The picture that Garrow paints seems a fair one to me, given accounts from some other Supreme Court clerks.’
      • ‘Thousands of soft-bodied animal fossils paint us a picture of Cambrian marine life.’
      • ‘You might argue that these young writers are painting us a damning portrait of ourselves.’
      • ‘The remake of Casino Royale, the first Bond novel, will concentrate instead on the character of the spy, painted by Ian Fleming in the book as a suave, coldly aggressive seducer.’
      • ‘The author paints a clear and useful description of the science of color.’
      • ‘Extensive use of maps and photographs helped paint a vivid picture of human misery and squalor.’
      • ‘Boston is a city that often gets painted by outsiders with a broad brush, much the way Philly does.’
      • ‘Some prisoners refused to be identified, but all painted a similar picture of their treatment.’
      tell, recount, narrate, set forth, set out, outline, sketch, detail, unfold, describe, depict, characterize, evoke, conjure up
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Computing Create (a graphic or screen display) using a paint program:
      ‘the program enables you to paint images on your screen’
      • ‘Two-dimensional cartoons are no longer created by tracing and painting but assembled on computer screens using software like Director and After Effects.’
      • ‘First, the quality of the phosphors available in the early days was not that great, and the dots would start to fade out before the entire screen could be painted.’
      • ‘An aggregate of about 400 gigaflops was needed to paint a semi-realistic image of a compact car on a display screen.’
      • ‘The cordless pen allows you to draw and paint on the screen exactly as you would on paper, giving you the freedom to create original designs on your PC.’
      • ‘As the strips of the image painted on the screen, the room of chattering scientists fell quiet.’
  • 3Display a mark representing (an aircraft or vehicle) on a radar screen:

    ‘flying behind hills lessens the enemy's ability to paint you with radar’
    • ‘On August 15, the boat was on a routine patrol when its radar painted a vessel at about 12 nm.’
    • ‘After being airborne for a half-hour, we painted a few contacts about 70 miles north.’

Phrases

  • like watching paint dry

    • (of an activity or experience) extremely boring.

      • ‘If you don't know what's going on it must be like watching paint dry.’
      • ‘The kind of secondary legislation that we have powers over, that we debate on a typical Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, is like watching paint dry.’
      • ‘They didn't want to touch it, man, it's boring, it's like watching paint dry, it's like watching grass grow.’
      • ‘He throws breaking balls at three different speeds: Slow, slower and like watching paint dry.’
      • ‘The inquiry had lasted a fortnight before summing-up day, and like all such procedures, it must have been like watching paint dry at times.’
      • ‘Miserable weather, nothing happening apparently, short days, long nights, it's like a sort of void, waiting expectantly, like watching paint dry, suddenly the whole world goes mad for a few days.’
      • ‘Some journalists told me it was like watching paint dry because it was just endless back and forth in which neither side really seemed to want to deal in the end.’
      • ‘So shorter games won't happen even though watching some games today is like watching paint dry.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's boring, it's like watching paint dry.’
      • ‘It really is a splendid tearjerker, though some may find it a wee bit like watching paint dry (alternate title: How Slow Moving Was My Screenplay).’
  • paint a picture of

    • Describe (someone or something) in a particular way:

      ‘the president painted a grim picture of life in the next century’
      • ‘The survey, fielded in August 2004, paints a picture of plugged-in political information gatherers.’
      • ‘The latest national intelligence estimate paints a picture of a country hanging in the balance.’
      • ‘She routinely vastly inflates her statistics in order to paint a picture of ordinary families increasingly squeezed by circumstances beyond their control.’
      • ‘He doesn't criticize the definitions, he chooses instead to try to paint a picture of extremism where there isn't any.’
      • ‘The prosecution is really going all out to try to paint a picture of what his personality is all about.’
      • ‘Over the course of 50 scathing pages he painted a picture of an authority where abuse of the public purse was endemic.’
      • ‘I think what she's trying to do is paint a picture of him more of a liberal.’
      • ‘An article in the March 16 issue of the San Jose Mercury News begins to paint a picture of what California consumers will face.’
      • ‘The fun part was being able to paint a picture of my entire career through the eyes of others.’
      • ‘Oh, how we liked to paint a picture of being " under the thumb of big business ".’
  • paint oneself into a corner

    • Leave oneself no means of escape or room to manoeuvre.

      • ‘We were not going to get painted into a corner with nowhere to go.’
      • ‘As many of us have long suspected, the mandarins have painted themselves into a corner and just hoped that the problem would go away.’
      • ‘Beevor painted himself into a corner by marketing this book as a spy story.’
      • ‘The result is that the distillers have painted themselves into a corner, albeit for the moment a profitable one.’
      • ‘We'd painted ourselves into a corner where we were limited by having to play new releases and I wouldn't have carried on doing radio if I was limited by that.’
      • ‘For all the exhilarating invention in these three books, however, there is also the sense of an author painting himself into a corner.’
      • ‘He's not sure he still holds true to that belief, but he likes making records - and, with some pundits arguing dance has painted itself into a corner, he's keen to prove them wrong.’
      • ‘So I think they've kind of painted themselves into a corner here, and we're working with them to help get them out of that corner.’
      • ‘Matt Pike found himself painted into the opposite corner about ten years later.’
      • ‘So the administration has done a pretty good job of painting itself into a corner where it has to act - and soon.’
  • paint the town red

    • informal Go out and enjoy oneself flamboyantly:

      ‘you want to have a good time and paint the town red this weekend’
      • ‘She added that I should look out for her in London, and when she got there we could paint the town red.’
      • ‘So, when the opportunity came up to paint the town red last night with Simon and a couple of friends (Stacey and Heather) I just couldn't say no!’
      • ‘Two Swindon car sprayers will be painting the town red after winning a share of £315,000 on the National Lottery.’
      • ‘Given an opportunity, they just might break free and paint the town red.’
      • ‘Once in a while, someone from up North comes to town, and paints the town red.’
      • ‘Let's have a session, let's be boisterous, let's paint the town red.’
      • ‘In the night enjoy cozy meal in the comforts of your vacation rental home or paint the town red with a visit to any one of the fine dining restaurants.’
      • ‘We were simply there to paint the town red by way of celebration for Stuart's birthday.’
      • ‘Raise the roof and paint the town red, there's cause for celebration.’
      • ‘Whether you're painting the town red or going to a black tie affair, start the New Year with the utmost style.’
      celebrate, carouse, enjoy oneself, make merry, have a good time, have a wild time, party, have a party
      step out
      go out on the town, whoop it up, make whoopee, have a night on the tiles, live it up, have a ball, push the boat out
      go on a spree
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • paint up

    • (in Aboriginal English) decorate the body for ceremonial purposes:

      ‘the dancers generally help one another to paint up’
      • ‘The Tjapukai dancers, painted up and in full costume, joined their people in protest demonstrations.’
      • ‘They were all painted up and dancing that special dance of the sisters, djirrididi.’
      • ‘The oldest generation will tell you how they used to paint up and dance before a great fire.’
      • ‘This framework directs the way that each woman will paint up, who will paint her and what kinds of body designs she will wear.’
      • ‘I found myself painted up and on an Aboriginal dance ground, unable to make any sense of the steps required.’

Origin

Middle English: from peint painted, past participle of Old French peindre, from Latin pingere to paint.

Pronunciation:

paint

/peɪnt/