Definition of thumbnail in US English:



  • 1The nail of the thumb.

    • ‘‘Mm hmm,’ she nodded, chewing on her thumbnail.’
    • ‘The point of entry can be marked with an impression from a thumbnail, a needle cap, or an indelible ink pen.’
    • ‘A small chipmunk was first to approach Joshua; he was no longer than Joshua's index finger, and no wider than his thumbnail.’
    • ‘A small piece of shrapnel about the size of your thumbnail hit her in the back of her head.’
    • ‘I want a camera implanted in my index finger, with the preview pane in my thumbnail.’
    • ‘Carefully dislodge the pests with your thumbnail or a knife, or wash mealybugs from foliage using tepid water about once a week.’
    • ‘I hadn't cut the holes, they had just kind of ripped themselves because my long thumbnails would dig into the when I was bored.’
    • ‘Chips are getting smaller and smarter - 25 million transistors, 500 times tinier than the thickness of a strand of hair, sitting on a piece of silicon the width of a thumbnail.’
    • ‘She sat there in the passenger seat biting her bottom lip and picking at her thumbnails.’
    • ‘He scratched at the side of his thumbnail, which, like the rest of his fingers, looked chewed or bitten.’
    • ‘The priest - a wiry man with bulging, tattoo-covered biceps - dabbed cocoa butter onto Alonso's thumbnails, the crown of his head, his inner arm.’
    • ‘The clump of algae was actually a wondrous crab, no bigger than a thumbnail, whose body shape had evolved to mimic the green wafers of algae.’
    • ‘Normally male crickets call females by rubbing specialized protruding wing parts together, creating an effect similar to running a thumbnail down the teeth of a comb.’
    • ‘He picked absently at his jagged canine with a long thumbnail, watching his guard with feigned interest.’
    • ‘In the centre we find a brown seed the size of your thumbnail, elongated and glabrous as river stone.’
    • ‘Full grown, the animal might be as big as your thumbnail, but it's probably got a set of tentacles that are three quarters of a metre long.’
    • ‘She started to bite at one of her thumbnails; a nervous habit.’
    • ‘The body might be the length approximately, or slightly more than the length of an adult thumbnail, the legs obviously make the spider a little bit bigger than that.’
    • ‘The thumbnail grows the slowest and the middle finger grows the fastest.’
    • ‘Jason closes his notebook, fingering the spirals with his thumbnail.’
  • 2usually as modifier A very small or concise description, representation, or summary.

    ‘a thumbnail sketch’
    • ‘Here is a thumbnail sketch of the history of NHL expansion.’
    • ‘Schroth paints a thumbnail sketch of each author, gives a brief summary of the work in question, and then wraps it up with some thoughts of his own.’
    • ‘A thumbnail sketch of the Bank's history, drawn from the essays in Gene Traders, illustrates the process.’
    • ‘Would it be possible for you to give a thumbnail sketch of the course of cases after the workers compensation amendment?’
    • ‘That could be a thumbnail description of our technoculture seen through the kaleidoscope of Irish blogging.’
    • ‘We've only read thumbnail sketches of lives lost on September 11: their achievements, occupations, and family backgrounds.’
    • ‘If I don't get a thumbnail representation over to him soon, he'll remove my blog from the listings.’
    • ‘Harris's descriptive powers and his characteristic knack for instant thumbnail sketches are given full rein in Pompeii.’
    • ‘But rather than rendering coherent thumbnails of their lives and achievements, Baldwin adds footage to question and undermine these innovators.’
    • ‘Klare provides thumbnail summaries of numerous conflicts great and small, from the South China Sea to the headwaters of the Nile.’
    • ‘The collection runs from about 1936 to 1963, thus offering a good thumbnail sketch of the waxing and waning of her popularity.’
    • ‘Then, over the course of the next hour, we are presented with a thumbnail sketch of the boxer's relationship with Malcolm X (Mario Van Peebles).’
    • ‘The core of each chapter is a series of thumbnail sketches of each aspect of policy and a brief description of the relevant records.’
    • ‘Based on that thumbnail description, it sounds more like a classic ‘lone assassin’ than an Islamist plot.’
    • ‘I shall give a thumbnail account of the history of science policy in Canada.’
    • ‘Most of the book is taken up with thumbnails of the films and their stars.’
    • ‘Can you give me a quick thumbnail sketch of the kinds of-or the most common kinds of complaints you receive?’
    • ‘Should a critic drop her defences in the face of soft journalism, thumbnail description and popular explanation?’
    • ‘Here are thumbnail sketches of some available tours.’
    • ‘What goes into a thumbnail sketch of Iraq today?’
    concise, short, brief, succinct, to the point, compact, terse, curt, summary, outline, crisp, short and sweet, quick, rapid, pithy, epigrammatic, laconic, pointed, abridged, abbreviated, condensed, synoptic, compendious, summarized, contracted, curtailed, truncated, potted
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    1. 2.1Computing A small picture of an image or page layout.
      • ‘To provide fast retrieval of saved images via an index display, the format also adopts thumbnail cache file system.’
      • ‘Note that you have to click on the thumbnails to see what he has done, as the thumbnails do not reflect the work at all.’
      • ‘A successful search displays a page of thumbnail images, which represent a product line.’
      • ‘You can browse and view images individually or in thumbnail mode.’
      • ‘I could then click on each thumbnail to see the pictures individually or start a slideshow to use the SL-C700 as a digital picture viewer.’
      • ‘Google gives you a thumbnail image of some Web pages, but it is too small to be of much use.’
      • ‘This feature allows choosing a thumbnail screenshot of the page itself, if you don't like any of the images shown.’
      • ‘The editor scans in video clips as thumbnails and displays the thumbnails in the clip window of the display.’
      • ‘In addition, the software can also print ‘contact sheets’ with thumbnails for all of the images associated with a given case.’
      • ‘When Google experimented with thumbnail pictures of actual Web pages next to results, it saw the effect that graphical images had on download times.’
      • ‘Most notably, Mirra will also soon provide thumbnail images next to picture files stored on its server.’
      • ‘This gives you instant thumbnails, web pages for each thumbnail, and you can look through the slides one by one.’
      • ‘These cheesy ‘recommendations’ sections with the thumbnail pictures of DVD cases are just plain annoying.’
      • ‘One handy feature is the quick picture indices, where a set of images is placed as thumbnails on a single page for printing.’
      • ‘The testing format, called CytoView, displays thumbnails of 10 virtual slides for selection and loading in a display window.’
      • ‘However, it is not entirely clear at step 4 that a check mark is most appropriately placed next to the terms text and thumbnails.’
      • ‘PalmOne has added a new thumbnail view of a page, allowing you to quickly zero in on the part of the page you want to read.’
      • ‘Yet the same problem always arises - how to categorise or classify visual images automatically without using external metadata or image thumbnails?’
      • ‘You can begin at the beginning or click on one of the thumbnails below.’
      • ‘A US court ruled in 2002 that websites may display thumbnail size images without breaking the law.’