arabesque

noun
ar·​a·​besque | \ ˌa-rə-ˈbesk How to pronounce arabesque (audio) , ˌer-ə \

Definition of arabesque

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an ornament or style that employs flower, foliage, or fruit and sometimes animal and figural outlines to produce an intricate pattern of interlaced lines
2 : 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
3 : an elaborate or intricate pattern … richly pierced by an arabesque of wormholes.— John Chase an arabesque of vines and leaves

arabesque

adjective

Definition of arabesque (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Illustration of arabesque

Illustration of arabesque

Noun

arabesque 1

In the meaning defined above

Examples of arabesque in a Sentence

Noun The students practiced their arabesques. She held her arms in arabesque.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Drawings of small, spiky dancers and a voluptuous nude in a forward-bending arabesque penchée (all 1938), with an informative photograph, suggest an even earlier interest in the idea, with different results. Karen Wilkin, WSJ, 29 May 2021 In the third movement of the Ninth, the alternating themes are marked at 60 and a slightly faster 63 beats per minute, giving the secondary theme a delicate arabesque quality. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 24 July 2020 Watching all the pirouettes and arabesques will surely work up your appetite. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 15 Dec. 2019 There was no decoration on the outside, no roses, no arabesques. V. S. Naipaul, The New Yorker, 30 Dec. 2019 One focuses on the delicate art of pirouettes, arabesque and croisé positions. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, 15 Nov. 2019 Clad in white, the corps de ballet descends a ramp to the stage in a diagonal snaking pattern, repeating a meditative sequence of arabesques and port de bras. Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2019 The years of arabesques, pirouettes, and high-impact landings began to take their toll. BostonGlobe.com, 28 Sep. 2019 The last feature recalls Burle Marx’s most visible achievement — nearly three miles of mosaic paving along Rio’s Copacabana Beach that echoes the polychromatic arabesques of his paintings. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 8 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The green, black, and coral ornamentation incorporates an arabesque design, which can be seen in Islamic and European art across many centuries. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, 1 Apr. 2020 Fans come dressed in Chanel finery, gleaming guayaberas, or Stetsons color-coordinated with cinto piteados — leather belts stitched with arabesque designs. Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2019 Saidiya Hartman | An excerpt adapted from Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval | W. W. Norton & Co. | 25 minutes (6,922 words) The small naked figure reclines on the arabesque sofa. Longreads, 20 July 2019 Many visitors admire the arabesque architecture (detailed on page 78) but fewer realize the city’s real triumph: the plumbing dates back to the second century and effortlessly carries the waste away. Rebecca Hazelton, New Republic, 18 Jan. 2018 Saidiya Hartman | An excerpt adapted from Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval | W. W. Norton & Co. | 25 minutes (6,922 words) The small naked figure reclines on the arabesque sofa. Longreads, 20 July 2019 Many visitors admire the arabesque architecture (detailed on page 78) but fewer realize the city’s real triumph: the plumbing dates back to the second century and effortlessly carries the waste away. Rebecca Hazelton, New Republic, 18 Jan. 2018 The first move, the arabesque sous sous, gives a simple plank an upgrade. Health Staff, PEOPLE.com, 2 Nov. 2017 An at-home-after-a-long-day impromptu dance party in May, Arabella in arabesque pose inside the White House China Room, with a caption from Ivanka about being ready for the weekend in June. Kate Bennett, CNN, 4 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arabesque.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arabesque

Noun

circa 1720, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arabesque

Adjective and Noun

French, from Italian arabesco Arabian in fashion, from arabo Arab, from Latin Arabus

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Time Traveler for arabesque

Time Traveler

The first known use of arabesque was circa 1656

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Statistics for arabesque

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arabesque.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arabesque. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for arabesque

arabesque

noun

English Language Learners Definition of arabesque

: 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

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