1. the nail of the thumb.
  2. anything quite small or brief, as a small drawing or short essay.
  3. Printing. a small, rough dummy.
  4. Also called porkchop. Journalism, Printing. a half-column portrait in a newspaper.


  1. quite small or brief; concise: a thumbnail description of Corsica.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make a thumbnail sketch or description of.


  1. the nail of the thumb
  2. (modifier) concise and briefa thumbnail sketch
  3. computing a small image which can be expanded

n.c.1600, from thumb (n.) + nail (n.). Meaning “drawing or sketch of a small size” (though usually not lierally the size of a thumbnail) is from 1852.

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