Definition of paint in US English:

paint

noun

  • 1A colored substance which is spread over a surface and dries to leave a thin decorative or protective coating.

    ‘a can of paint’
    ‘the paint has been applied to the surface with a palette knife’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A zinc rich paint coating protects the interior of the pipe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Carpenters were now putting a fresh coating of paint on the house, making it look almost as though it had just been built.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That is why I deliberately allow early coatings of paint to show through as I continually build color.’
    • ‘In order to cut down on the cost of paint, consider mixing sample pots of colours with white paint.’
    • ‘In general, graffiti is removed by using paint in a colour which has the closest match to the actual colour of the tree trunk.’
    • ‘A demonstration is given on how to paint using black watercolor or slightly thinned tempera paint.’
    • ‘No artificial paint or any colouring agent is coated on the surface.’
    • ‘Watered-down paint soaks into the porous concrete so it won't flake or peel like surface paint does.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Finally, rub down the wood to remove the splinters, give it a thin wash of acrylic paint and brush on the clear preservative.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A car comes rattling down the street, thick smoke pouring out the back, every door a different colour of blistered paint.’
    • ‘It was later given two coats of paint in appropriate colours.’
    • ‘Look at the picture at top; imagine it on an enormous canvas, in thick paint, colours saturated and glowing.’
    • ‘The door was metal with no handle, and painted with white paint now flaking off.’
    • ‘He is fond of thin paint and frequently layers a dark blue or black wash over phosphorescent pastel hues.’
    colouring, colourant, tint, dye, stain, pigment, wash, colour
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An act of covering something with paint.
      ‘it looked in need of a good paint’
      • ‘The walls needed a fresh paint, the floor needed vacuuming, and when was the last time I had dusted?’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2informal Cosmetic makeup.
      ‘one has false curls, another too much paint’
      • ‘Quickly and efficiently the men applied face paint to each other.’
      • ‘Why is it that he is not donning the grease paint too often these days?’
      • ‘"Come here, " Mum said and smeared white face paint all over Abby's face.’
      • ‘She showed Paul the results - a once white Kleenex covered with layers of pale colored foundation and white 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.’
      • ‘If anti-Rococo critics claimed oil paint was too much like cosmetic paint, social critics held that the reverse was true.’
      • ‘His paint was lipstick, blush, mascara; his canvas, the most celebrated faces in the world.’
      • ‘And her make-up was simple with red paint for her lips; light redness for her cheeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He looked bizarre in a Rasta wig, a multi-coloured hat, a Caribbean-style shirt and brown make-up paint daubed over his face.’
      • ‘‘Oh, Isis,’ I muttered, grabbing a wet cloth and starting to scrub my face of the overdone kohl and 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’
      • ‘If the artwork isn't perfect, I fire up my paint program and make adjustments myself.’
      • ‘In paint programs, by contrast, he can only add previously created images to the surfaces, which is not as effective.’
      • ‘I have jotted down a few of the basic features one could expect to find in a computer photo paint type program.’
      • ‘Photoshop has long been a leader among graphics manipulation and paint software.’
      • ‘Upgrade your ability to edit images with this free paint program.’
  • 2North American A piebald horse.

    as modifier ‘a paint mare’
    • ‘Usually such markings were only found on paints, and yet he was a simple quarter horse.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Kris had been trying out barrel racing, so she lugged the heavy western saddle and the square saddle pad over to the paint horse.’
    • ‘He looked around for a moment seeing his paint horse dancer on the other side pasture.’
    • ‘Malichi, on his paint stallion, Splash, led the way with Jade, on Cotton, close behind.’
    • ‘Misty saw them first, Tracey and Madison on the back of his paint pony.’
    • ‘Solana rode a paint mare that stood about fifteen and a half hands high; large black spots covered a cream body.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Larry and Sue travel the country showing their own paint stock as well as horses Larry is training for reining and cow horse competitions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The mare was a brown and white spotted horse or known as a paint.’
    • ‘The paint mare slowed to an energetic trot, the rain making her giddy with a natural high.’
  • 3Basketball
    The rectangular area marked near the basket at each end of the court; the foul lane.

    ‘the two players jostled in the paint’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It used to be a quick team, with small but tough players in the paint, good (but not great) shooters, and clever point guards.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He has quick feet and enough moves to get three or four baskets in the paint.’
    • ‘With Baylor and Chamberlain down in the paint, Counts was free to play away from the basket and use his great outside touch.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Cover the surface of (something) with paint, as decoration or protection.

    with object and complement ‘the ceiling was painted dark gray’
    ‘the walls hadn't been painted for years’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The roof was made from sand paper cut and painted to resemble slates.’
    • ‘The brightly painted yellow walls, together with tea lights atop dark wooden tables, give the place a warm feeling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Here the walls have been plastered in a textured way and the room is painted dark red.’
    • ‘Today hundreds of brightly painted gondolas line the canalside and can be hired out by the hour or half-hour.’
    • ‘Similarly, painting the ceiling a darker color than the walls tends to create a more intimate feeling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The new refrigerator and dishwasher were disguised with wood fronts painted to match the cabinets.’
    • ‘The keys themselves are formed from translucent plastic and then painted to match the PowerBook's aluminium shell.’
    • ‘Jared was spray painting one of the walls that was surprisingly still bare.’
    • ‘The brightly painted front door from an age gone by gleams in the morning Sun.’
    • ‘Rockets of early manufacture are painted battleship gray or dark green; later rockets are olive drab.’
    • ‘Think of a plaster ceiling, painted a sky blue, perhaps with puffy clouds skipping across it.’
    • ‘With freshly painted nails and jewelry to match, she carries an additional accessory item that speaks for itself.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These parts are being anodized or plated, and will be painted or powder-coated prior to assembly.’
    • ‘It was noted that the railings of the Clodiagh Bridge had been freshly painted and that the river name signs looked well.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 face or skin)
      ‘she couldn't have been more than fourteen but her face was thickly painted’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They had their faces painted white, with different color variations.’
      • ‘She was wiping tears from her eyes; then she applied lipstick on a mouth that was painted like a Kidney bean.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Next was the easy part, or so I thought - sitting in a chair for a few hours, doing nothing but having my skin painted.’
      • ‘He'd painted his skin a whole different shade of beige.’
      • ‘Hip, sophisticated and painted with Japanese cosmetics, the heroines move slickly through a life of nightclubbing, jet planes and media parties.’
      • ‘Her eyes were painted with dark kohl, hair brighter than Bridget's was, lips plump, face broad and distinctive.’
      • ‘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.
      • ‘Applied decoration may be painted, engraved or etched.’
      • ‘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 building has been painted with lime wash to allow the structure to breathe.’
      • ‘Grain can be painted into the wood with a soft No.4 artist's brush and India ink diluted with rubbing alcohol.’
      • ‘The name of the ship was painted on its gray surface in diplomatic purple.’
      • ‘Picture frames, bought cheaply from a homestore chain such as Ikea, can be painted in white emulsion to give a driftwood look.’
      • ‘Sgraffiti designs are made by painting an undercoat of plaster, covered by an overcoat of another colour.’
      • ‘Be sure to prime or size any newly applied drywall compound before painting or papering.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All that you need to do is paint the clear liquid dots all over your boat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wood can be painted to look like marble and walls made to look like stone.’
      • ‘Can you imagine painting without a brush, sewing without a needle, or writing without a pen?’
      • ‘The 2 wound models used for this study were plaster of Paris bases painted to resemble actual wounds.’
      • ‘The medicine comes in either a liquid form that's painted on the skin or as a patch that sticks onto the wart.’
      • ‘Almost anything can be painted these days, including laminate.’
      • ‘Schwarz had painted its work surface with many layers of orangy brown paint, emphasizing signs of use and damage.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This morning I brushed up against a door that had been recently painted with latex paint (I think).’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3paint something out Efface something with paint.
      ‘the markings on the plane were hurriedly painted out’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In fact, Hopper had originally included a figure in the upper storey, but later painted it 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.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘He added: ‘I will be more than happy myself to simply turn up one Saturday morning and paint the lines out.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When her husband became convinced that she was being unfaithful, he had her painted out of both portraits.’
      • ‘A vandal would have to go out, buy some Liquid Paper and paint the mustache out in order to deface it.’
      • ‘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.‘’
  • 2Depict (someone or something) or produce (a picture) with paint.

    ‘I painted a woman sitting next to a table lamp’
    ‘Marr is a self-taught artist who paints portraits’
    • ‘Dietz began painting World War I aviation scenes, but his body of World War II art has made him famous.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He admired the truthfulness of landscapes painted by an unschooled artist, who became his first teacher.’
    • ‘In 1995, he commissioned a Chinese artist to paint him together with his wife, son and daughter.’
    • ‘Icons were painted by faithful painters - usually monks - in monastic seclusion.’
    • ‘Bailey Doogan paints clouds the way she paints skin.’
    • ‘My best holiday was with Leo, the artist who'd painted me, and his wife Gemma one summer.’
    • ‘On several occasions, Monet painted the same view covered in a blanket of snow.’
    • ‘When the Irish portraitist, Nathaniel Hone painted her in 1765, she was at the height of her popularity.’
    • ‘‘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’.’
    • ‘Jan's sense of self-confidence is what makes artists want to paint her, she said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Impressionists insisted they wanted to paint directly what they saw in nature.’
    • ‘Saskia Van Uylenburgh was the daughter of an impoverished though respected burgomaster and Rembrandt drew and painted her over and over again.’
    • ‘Showing their jest for life, some children painted Walt Disney characters on their greetings.’
    • ‘The artist returned to the Arlé sienne in 1958, painting her in the person of Jacqueline, his companion at the time.’
    portray, picture, paint a picture of, depict, delineate, draw, sketch, represent, catch, catch a likeness of
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Give a description of (someone or something)
      ‘I'm painted as some nut case living in the woods’
      • ‘Some prisoners refused to be identified, but all painted a similar picture of their treatment.’
      • ‘The carbon copies left at stations of origin paint a comprehensive picture of small-scale trade along the railway.’
      • ‘You might argue that these young writers are painting us a damning portrait of ourselves.’
      • ‘Extensive use of maps and photographs helped paint a vivid picture of human misery and squalor.’
      • ‘The allegations of a partnership, vulnerable as they are for these reasons, are, moreover, only part of the picture painted by the proceedings.’
      • ‘Thousands of soft-bodied animal fossils paint us a picture of Cambrian marine life.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Boston is a city that often gets painted by outsiders with a broad brush, much the way Philly does.’
      • ‘The space concerns and planting conditions are probably less than ideal for most, but the pictures paint a different story.’
      • ‘In the Seattle Times, meanwhile, sportswriter Percy Allen paints a different money picture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hate speech always uses the racial and cultural characteristics of the victim, who is painted as an abominable, dangerous creature.’
      • ‘The author paints a clear and useful description of the science of color.’
      • ‘Bettman wants certain high-profile owners to be vocal about small markets and paint a doom-and-gloom financial picture.’
      • ‘Though the mystical element is rather missing from his character here, Adès paints Prospero as a wonderfully vengeful mage.’
      • ‘In Bowling Alone, Putnam painted us the picture of American social institutions 30 years in decline.’
      • ‘This picture is very similar to the picture of urban ghettos painted by urban sociologists during the last decade.’
      • ‘The picture that Garrow paints seems a fair one to me, given accounts from some other Supreme Court clerks.’
      • ‘And indeed, Elisabetta's plight in Don Carlo is painted with a broad brush.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Two-dimensional cartoons are no longer created by tracing and painting but assembled on computer screens using software like Director and After Effects.’
      • ‘An aggregate of about 400 gigaflops was needed to paint a semi-realistic image of a compact car on a display screen.’
      • ‘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.

    • ‘After being airborne for a half-hour, we painted a few contacts about 70 miles north.’
    • ‘On August 15, the boat was on a routine patrol when its radar painted a vessel at about 12 nm.’

Phrases

  • like watching paint dry

    • (of an activity or experience) extremely boring.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's boring, it's like watching paint dry.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He throws breaking balls at three different speeds: Slow, slower and like watching paint dry.’
      • ‘If you don't know what's going on it must be 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘So shorter games won't happen even though watching some games today is like watching paint dry.’
  • 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 latest national intelligence estimate paints a picture of a country hanging in the balance.’
      • ‘The prosecution is really going all out to try to paint a picture of what his personality is all about.’
      • ‘The fun part was being able to paint a picture of my entire career through the eyes of others.’
      • ‘He doesn't criticize the definitions, he chooses instead to try to paint a picture of extremism where there isn't any.’
      • ‘Over the course of 50 scathing pages he painted a picture of an authority where abuse of the public purse was endemic.’
      • ‘She routinely vastly inflates her statistics in order to paint a picture of ordinary families increasingly squeezed by circumstances beyond their control.’
      • ‘Oh, how we liked to paint a picture of being " under the thumb of big business ".’
      • ‘The survey, fielded in August 2004, paints a picture of plugged-in political information gatherers.’
      • ‘An article in the March 16 issue of the San Jose Mercury News begins to paint a picture of what California consumers will face.’
      • ‘I think what she's trying to do is paint a picture of him more of a liberal.’
      tell, recount, narrate, set forth, set out, outline, sketch, detail, unfold, describe, depict, characterize, evoke, conjure up
      View synonyms
  • paint oneself into a corner

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Beevor painted himself into a corner by marketing this book as a spy story.’
      • ‘We were not going to get painted into a corner with nowhere to go.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The result is that the distillers have painted themselves into a corner, albeit for the moment a profitable one.’
      • ‘Matt Pike found himself painted into the opposite corner about ten years later.’
      • ‘For all the exhilarating invention in these three books, however, there is also the sense of an author painting himself into a corner.’
      • ‘As many of us have long suspected, the mandarins have painted themselves into a corner and just hoped that the problem would go away.’
      • ‘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 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.

      • ‘Let's have a session, let's be boisterous, let's paint the town red.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Once in a while, someone from up North comes to town, and paints the town red.’
      • ‘Given an opportunity, they just might break free and paint the town red.’
      • ‘We were simply there to paint the town red by way of celebration for Stuart's birthday.’
      • ‘She added that I should look out for her in London, and when she got there we could paint the town red.’
      • ‘Two Swindon car sprayers will be painting the town red after winning a share of £315,000 on the National Lottery.’
      • ‘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.’
      celebrate, carouse, enjoy oneself, make merry, have a good time, have a wild time, party, have a party
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

paint

/peɪnt//pānt/