adjective \ˌa-rə-ˈbesk, ˌer-ə\

Definition of ARABESQUE

:  of, relating to, or being in the style of arabesque or an arabesque


French, from Italian arabesco Arabian in fashion, from arabo Arab, from Latin Arabus
First Known Use: circa 1656

Other Dance Terms

attitude, honor, saltatory, sashay, taw



: a complicated decorative design made with many lines that curve and cross each other

: a ballet position in which the dancer stands on one foot and holds one arm forward while the other arm and leg are held out behind

Full Definition of ARABESQUE

:  an ornament or style that employs flower, foliage, or fruit and sometimes animal and figural outlines to produce an intricate pattern of interlaced lines
:  a posture (as in ballet) in which the body is bent forward from the hip on one leg with one arm extended forward and the other arm and leg backward
:  an elaborate or intricate pattern

Examples of ARABESQUE

  1. The students practiced their arabesques.
  2. She held her arms in arabesque.

Illustration of ARABESQUE

First Known Use of ARABESQUE

circa 1720

Other Fine Arts Terms

Gothic, baroque, bas-relief, limn, oeuvre, pastiche, rococo, sfumato


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Arabesque decoration on the dome of the Madar-i-Shah madrasah (“school”) …—Ray Manley/Shostal Associates

Style of decoration characterized by interlacing plant forms and abstract curvilinear motifs. It is typical of Islamic ornamentation from c. 1000. The word was first used in the 15th or 16th century when Europeans became interested in the Islamic arts, but the motif itself was derived from Hellenistic craftsmen in Asia Minor. Arabesques were also applied to the decoration of illuminated manuscripts, walls, furniture, metalwork, pottery, stonework, majolica, and tapestry from the Renaissance to the 19th century.


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