chi·​noi·​se·​rie shēn-ˈwäz-rē How to pronounce chinoiserie (audio)
: a style in art (as in decoration) reflecting Chinese qualities or motifs
also : an object or decoration in this style

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In 1670, King Louis XIV had the Trianon de Porcelaine erected at Versailles. It was a small structure-a pleasure house built for the king's mistress-and it was decorated with chinoiserie and faced with faience tiles with a blue and white chinoiserie pattern. The building persists in history as the first major example of chinoiserie-the English word is borrowed straight from French, which based the word on chinois, its word for "Chinese"-but the trend it began long outlasted the building itself, which was destroyed a mere 17 years later to make way for the Grand Trianon. Chinoiserie itself was popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and enjoyed a brief revival in the 1930s. And people still enjoy it today.

Examples of chinoiserie in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Each bracelet bead has a chinoiserie design on it, and there’s a golden bead located towards the blue fringe. Moriah Mason, Southern Living, 28 Nov. 2023 Her affinity for combining chinoiserie, Moghul-style flowers, and Provençal accents surfaces subtly, giving the rooms a whiff of exoticism without courting cliché. Robert Rufino, ELLE Decor, 27 Mar. 2023 All practicality stepped aside, though, for the home's pièce de résistance, a golden Gracie wallpaper that wraps the dining room in a chinoiserie pattern with hits of electric blue and jade green that set an elevated yet relaxed 1970s chic tone for the entire home. Darra Baker, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Feb. 2023 Furniture, mostly from the early 20th century with some chinoiserie mixed in (much of it from the Alexandria apartments of el-Habashi’s relatives), sits on a concrete floor inlaid with an expanse of teak wood. Hussein Omar Simon Watson, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2023 For the tree in a Connecticut home, designer Jenny Wolf added chinoiserie ball ornaments that easily incorporate both colors and make the overall tree look elevated. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 30 Nov. 2022 The chinoiserie ball ornaments easily incorporate both colors and make the overall tree look elevated. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 21 Nov. 2022 The commode is fitted with tôle-dorée doors that are curved like rolling waves and feature detailed chinoiserie landscapes. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 17 Nov. 2022 This classic chinoiserie pattern is reimagined with its watercolor aesthetic and range of cheerful colorways. Elizabeth Sweet, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chinoiserie.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from chinois Chinese, from Chine China

First Known Use

1883, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chinoiserie was in 1883


Dictionary Entries Near chinoiserie

Cite this Entry

“Chinoiserie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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