picture (n.)

early 15c., pictur, pictoure, pittour, pectur, "the process or art of drawing or painting," a sense now obsolete; also "a visual or graphic representation of a person, scene, object, etc.," from Latin pictura "painting," from pictus, past participle of pingere "to make pictures, to paint, to embroider," (see paint (v.)).

Picture window is from 1938. Picture post-card is recorded from 1899. Picture-book, "book illustrated with pictures or consisting mostly of pictures," especially one for children, is by 1847. Picture-frame "more or less ornamental border put around a picture to protect it" is from 1660s.

The phrase every picture tells a story is attested from 1900, in advertisements for an illustrated life of Christ. To be in (or out of) the picture in the figurative sense dates to 1900.

The expression a picture is worth a thousand words, attested from 1918, probably originated in the publication trade (the notion that a picture was worth 1,000 words is in printers' publications by 1911). The phrase was used in the form worth a million words by American newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936) in an editorial much-read c. 1916 titled "What is a Good Newspaper" in the "New York Evening Journal." In part it read: "After news and humor come good pictures. In this day of hurry we learn through the eye, and one picture may be worth a million words."

The phrase seems to have emerged into general use via the medium of advertising (which scaled down the number and also gave the expression its spurious origin story as "a Japanese proverb" or some such thing, by 1919). Earlier various acts or deeds (and in one case "the arrow") were said to be worth a thousand words.

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picture (v.)

"depict or represent pictorially," late 15c. in the literal sense; 1738 in the mental sense of "form an image of in the mind;" from picture (n.). Related: Pictured; picturing.

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talking-to (n.)

"a reprimand," 1871, from euphemistic use of verbal phrase talk to (see talk (v.)).

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talkie (n.)

"motion picture with sound," 1913, from earlier talking picture (1908), from talk (v.).

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somniloquy (n.)

"act or habit of talking in one's sleep," 1847, from somni- "sleep" + -loquy, from Latin loqui "to speak" (from PIE root *tolkw- "to speak"). Related: Somniloquence "sleep-talking" (1814); somniloquent (1804, Coleridge); somniloquist; (1813); somniloquous (1841); somniloquize (1820); somniloquism (1821).

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mina (n.)

talking starling of India, see mynah.

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la-di-da (interj.)

mocking affected gentility, 1874, a derisive imitation of the "swell" way of talking. Compare lardy-dardy (1859).

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talk (v.)

c. 1200, talken, probably a diminutive or frequentative form related to Middle English tale "story," and ultimately from the same source as tale (q.v.), with rare English formative -k (compare hark from hear, stalk from steal, smirk from smile) and replacing that word as a verb. East Frisian has talken "to talk, chatter, whisper." Related: Talked; talking.

To talk (something) up "discuss in order to promote" is from 1722. To talk shop is from 1854. To talk turkey is from 1824, supposedly from an elaborate joke about a swindled Indian.

Phrase talking head is by 1966 in the jargon of television production, "an in-tight closeup of a human head talking on television." In reference to a person who habitually appears on television in talking-head shots (usually a news anchor), by 1970. The phrase is used earlier, in reference to the well-known magic trick (such as Señor Wences's talking head-in-the-box "Pedro" on the "Ed Sullivan Show"), and to actual talking heads in mythology around the world (Orpheus, Bran).

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picturephone (n.)

"video-telephone," 1964, from picture (n.) + phone (n.1).

Buck Rogers thought it up more than 25 years ago, and Bell System has been working on it here for 15 years. Now it's here.
It is called Picturephone, and it is a small television camera and receiver that allows telephone users to gaze into the features of the person they are talking to.
Whether this really is a boon to mankind remains to be seen.
["Picturephones Are On The Way," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Aug. 28, 1970]
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pic (n.)

by 1884 as a colloquial shortening of picture (n.). Short for motion picture by 1936. Even more colloquial piccy is recorded from 1889.

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