Pitch-perfect and picture-perfect

Pitch-perfect and picture-perfect are two idioms that are very similar in meaning. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idioms pitch-perfect and picture-perfect, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences.

Pitch-perfect is a hyphenated compound word that describes something that strikes just the right tone, either literally or figuratively. A singer who can find the exactly correct note without prompting may be said to be pitch-perfect; a speaker who says just the right thing at just the right moment may also be said to be pitch-perfect. The expression pitch-perfect refers to the definition of pitch to mean quality of sound. The expression pitch-perfect came into use right at the turn of the 20th century and the rate of common usage has remained steady.

Picture-perfect is a hyphenated compound word that describes something that is flawless or ideal. Something that is picture-perfect cannot be improved upon. The idiom picture-perfect also came into use right at the turn of the 20th century, though the rate of its common usage has soared since the mid-20th century. Note that both pitch-perfect and picture-perfect are adjectives that are properly rendered with a hyphen.


In tone, it was pitch-perfect for intimating to his dissatisfied fellow countrymen that they should not be self-satisfied. (Washington Post)

It was pitch-perfect, and it was very much in tune with the symbolism and metaphors that are everywhere you look in baseball, whose restart is — viewed without cynicism, inasmuch as that’s possible in 2020 — a grand embodiment of “the show must go on.” (Chicago Sun Times)

Fullback Donny Toia tossed a throw-in deep into the box where Damir Kreilach used his head to direct the ball to the chest of Rubin, who executed a picture-perfect bicycle kick in front of goal that gave RSL the 1-0 lead. (Deseret News)

This Atlanta company can help you throw a picture-perfect picnic (Atlanta Magazine)

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