Etymology
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portray (v.)

mid-13c., portraien, "to draw, paint" (something), from Anglo-French purtraire, Old French portraire "to draw, to paint, portray" (12c.), literally "trace, draw forth," from por- "forth" (from Latin pro-; see pro-) + traire "trace, draw," from Latin trahere "to drag, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Meaning "depict in words, describe" is from late 14c. Related: Portrayed; portrayer; portraying.

Latin protrahere was "to draw forth" but in Medieval Latin also "to draw, paint."

updated on September 10, 2020

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Definitions of portray from WordNet

portray (v.)
portray in words;
The book portrays the actor as a selfish person
portray (v.)
make a portrait of;
Goya wanted to portray his mistress, the Duchess of Alba
Synonyms: depict / limn
portray (v.)
assume or act the character of;
The actor portrays an elderly, lonely man
Synonyms: impersonate
portray (v.)
represent abstractly, for example in a painting, drawing, or sculpture;
The father is portrayed as a good-looking man in this painting
Synonyms: present
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.