noun, plural im·age·ries.

  1. the formation of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things, or of such images collectively: the dim imagery of a dream.
  2. pictorial images, as in works of art.
  3. the use of rhetorical images.
  4. figurative description or illustration; rhetorical images collectively.
  5. Psychology. mental images collectively, especially those produced by the action of imagination.

noun plural -ries

  1. figurative or descriptive language in a literary work
  2. images collectively
  3. psychol
    1. the materials or general processes of the imagination
    2. the characteristic kind of mental images formed by a particular individualSee also image (def. 7), imagination (def. 1)
  4. military the presentation of objects reproduced photographically (by infrared or electronic means) as prints or electronic displays

mid-14c., “piece of sculpture, carved figures,” from Old French imagerie (13c.), from imagier “painter,” from image (see image (n.)). Meaning “ornate description” (in poetry, etc.) is from 1580s.


  1. A set of mental pictures or images.
  2. A technique in behavior therapy in which the patient is conditioned to use pleasant fantasies to counteract the unpleasant feelings associated with anxiety.

The mental pictures created by a piece of writing: “The imagery of “The Waste Land” — crumbling towers, dried-up wells, toppled tombstones — conveys the author’s sense of a civilization in decay.”

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