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Represent vs Depict vs Portray vs Delineate vs Picture vs Limn

Represent, depictportraydelineatepicturelimn can mean to present an image or lifelike imitation of (as in art).

Represent implies a placing before the mind as if real or as if living through the medium of one of the arts (as painting, sculpture, or literature); the term may imply either a presentation of reality or of imagined reality or a treatment of an abstraction or a spiritual being in terms of real things.

Depict, primarily meaning to represent in terms of painting, may stress the implication of graphic, vivid representation more than the form of art employed; it is applied to such arts as literature or drawing which suggest color and detail in some other way than by pigments.

Portray suggests the making of a detailed representation of individual persons, or of specific characters, emotions, or qualities (as by drawing, engraving, painting, acting, or describing).

Delineate (see also SKETCH ) basically implies representation by an art (as engraving or drawing) that uses lines to gain its effects, but, like portray, it is often used to stress care for accuracy of detail and fullness of outline.

Picture less than any of these terms implies the employment of a particular art; it emphasizes the ability to realize a thing in a pictorial or vivid way and may either imply graphic description or sensible representation in any form or, sometimes with “to oneself,” mere imaginative power.

Limn is used chiefly as an equivalent of depict or delineate, often implying the art of painting vividly and with color.