1. a physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, photographed, painted, sculptured, or otherwise made visible.
  2. an optical counterpart or appearance of an object, as is produced by reflection from a mirror, refraction by a lens, or the passage of luminous rays through a small aperture and their reception on a surface.
  3. a mental representation; idea; conception.
  4. Psychology. a mental representation of something previously perceived, in the absence of the original stimulus.
  5. form; appearance; semblance: We are all created in God’s image.
  6. counterpart; copy: That child is the image of his mother.
  7. a symbol; emblem.
  8. the general or public perception of a company, public figure, etc., especially as achieved by careful calculation aimed at creating widespread goodwill.
  9. a type; embodiment: Red-faced and angry, he was the image of frustration.
  10. a description of something in speech or writing: Keats created some of the most beautiful images in the language.
  11. Rhetoric. a figure of speech, especially a metaphor or a simile.
  12. an idol or representation of a deity: They knelt down before graven images.
  13. Mathematics. the point or set of points in the range corresponding to a designated point in the domain of a given function.
  14. Archaic. an illusion or apparition.

verb (used with object), im·aged, im·ag·ing.

  1. to picture or represent in the mind; imagine; conceive.
  2. to make an image of; portray in sculpture, painting, etc.
  3. to project (photographs, film, etc.) on a surface: Familiar scenes were imaged on the screen.
  4. to reflect the likeness of; mirror.
  5. to set forth in speech or writing; describe.
  6. to symbolize; typify.
  7. to resemble.
  8. Informal. to create an image for (a company, public figure, etc.): The candidate had to be imaged before being put on the campaign trail.
  9. to transform (data) into an exact replica in a different form, as changing digital data to pixels for display on a screen or representing a medical scan of a body part in digital form.


  1. a representation or likeness of a person or thing, esp in sculpture
  2. an optically formed reproduction of an object, such as one formed by a lens or mirror
  3. a person or thing that resembles another closely; double or copy
  4. a mental representation or picture; idea produced by the imagination
  5. the personality presented to the public by a person, organization, etca criminal charge is not good for a politician’s image See also corporate image
  6. the pattern of light that is focused on to the retina of the eye
  7. psychol the mental experience of something that is not immediately present to the senses, often involving memorySee also imagery, body image, hypnagogic image
  8. a personification of a specified quality; epitomethe image of good breeding
  9. a mental picture or association of ideas evoked in a literary work, esp in poetry
  10. a figure of speech, such as a simile or metaphor
  11. maths
    1. (of a point) the value of a function, f(x), corresponding to the point x
    2. the range of a function
  12. an obsolete word for apparition

verb (tr)

  1. to picture in the mind; imagine
  2. to make or reflect an image of
  3. computing to project or display on a screen or visual display unit
  4. to portray or describe
  5. to be an example or epitome of; typify

c.1200, “piece of statuary; artificial representation that looks like a person or thing,” from Old French image “image, likeness; figure, drawing, portrait; reflection; statue,” earlier imagene (11c.), from Latin imaginem (nominative imago) “copy, statue, picture,” figuratively “idea, appearance,” from stem of imitari “to copy, imitate” (see imitation).

Meaning “reflection in a mirror” is early 14c. The mental sense was in Latin, and appears in English late 14c. Sense of “public impression” is attested in isolated cases from 1908 but not in common use until its rise in the jargon of advertising and public relations, c.1958.


late 14c., “to form a mental picture,” from Old French imagier, from image (see image (n.)). Related: Imaged; imaging.


  1. An optically formed duplicate or other representative reproduction of an object, especially an optical reproduction of an object formed by a lens or mirror.
  2. A mental picture of something not real or present.
  3. An exact copy of data in a computer file transferred to another medium.


  1. To make or produce a likeness of.
  2. To picture something mentally; imagine.
  3. To translate photographs or other pictures by computer into numbers that can be transmitted to a remote location and then reconverted into pictures by another computer.
  4. To visualize something, as by magnetic resonance imaging.

see spitting image.

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