You may have heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” many times in conversation or in written text. It is a commonly used phrase in the English language, and can be used easily within informal conversations. But where did this saying come from and what exactly does it mean? We are going to take a look at the meaning behind this saying and what its origins are.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words Meaning
A picture is worth a thousand words is a phrase which talks about how a visual image can mean a lot more than words. When trying to explain a profound meaning behind a situation, person or item, you can spend hours trying to describe it with words and yet a simple picture of the thing can explain it much more quickly and efficiently.
Origin of this idiom
The origin behind the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” began in the early 1900s when the saying was very first coined by Henrik Ibsen whilst he was dying. The phrase was then used in advertising circles a few years later. A man named Fred R Barnard later made the phrase famous by using it on adverts which were on the sides of streetcars. This was happening in the 1920s and so shows that the phrase has been used for around 100 years.
“A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” Examples
You might use the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” in a conversation where you are being taught something and do not understand the written explanation. In this instance you might ask your tutor for a visual example and say “I would find it easier to understand because after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.”
You might also use it when looking at a photograph of a happy memory and seeing the smiles on the faces in the image, you might remember the memory and tell someone with you “a picture is worth a thousand words in remembering this day.”
Some examples of a conversation which includes this phrase are:
- Person 1: Look at this photograph of my baby daughter.
- Person 2: That is beautiful. Is that her favourite toy in the picture with her?
- Person 1: Yes, it’s hard to explain how much she loves that doll.
- Person 2: There’s no need, look how much she is smiling, a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Teacher: The human body contains many organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, stomach, and many more.
- Student: Where are these organs placed in the body?
- Teacher: I could explain it to you, but take a look at this diagram, it will be much easier, after all a picture is worth a thousand words.
Other Ways to Say This Phrase
Whilst the most common way to express the meaning of the phrase is by saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” there are other variations of the saying, which include:
- Use a picture, it’s worth a thousand words.
- An image can speak a thousand words
- The drawing shows me at one glance, what a book can show me in many pages
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words | Picture