chi·​noi·​se·​rie | \ shēn-ˈwäz-rē How to pronounce chinoiserie (audio) , -ˈwä-zə-; ˌshēn-ˌwäz-ˈrē, -ˌwä-zə-\

Definition of chinoiserie

: a style in art (as in decoration) reflecting Chinese qualities or motifs also : an object or decoration in this style

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

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

Style your traditional blue and white chinoiserie with simple red containers, or swap them out with blue, white and red variations. Ap Mcclatchy, The Mercury News, "Play up red, white and blue all summer long," 24 June 2019 Yews clipped in the shape of chubby pagodas surround the performance space, adding an element of chinoiserie flair. Melissa Biggs Bradley, House Beautiful, "William Christie on Reviving a 16th-Century French Estate," 1 Sep. 2013 Each chapter presents copious riffs on specific styles, such as chinoiserie, stripes, damask and ikat, while unlocking the secrets to successful layering. Elizabeth Anne Hartman, WSJ, "The Best Interior-Design Books to Give as Holiday Presents," 5 Dec. 2018 The flagship store, with its Shanghai Art Deco touches and chinoiserie, is the best way to experience the brand. Janice Leung Hayes, Condé Nast Traveler, "22 Best Shops in Hong Kong," 4 Mar. 2018 Wallpaper My inner archaeologist loved uncovering the layers of 1920s wallpaper, with chinoiserie pagodas and cutesy florals. Jaithan Kochar, House Beautiful, "What You Should Actually Keep When Renovating Your House," 3 Nov. 2017 In the court of Versailles, during the 17th and 18th centuries, chinoiserie motifs were highly prevalent, and many, if not most, textile techniques in existence first originated in Asia. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "You Can Now See Some of Marie Antoinette’s Most Cherished (and Tiny) Possessions," 20 Jan. 2018 To equally memorable effect, Bikoff chose a Mimi chinoiserie wallpaper by Voutsa alongside powder blue banquettes and Venetian glass mirrors for the restaurant's main dining room. Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson, ELLE Decor, "This Instagram-Worthy Restaurant Never Opened, And Now You Can Buy The Decor Right Off The Walls," 21 June 2017 Getty Images Getty Images Getty Images The dress featured a softly pleated skirt and is made from pure Italian silk with a delicate floral print inspired by chinoiserie. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Pregnant Pippa Middleton Stole the Show at the Royal Wedding," 19 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of chinoiserie

1883, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chinoiserie

French, from chinois Chinese, from Chine China

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chinoiserie

Listen to Our Podcast about chinoiserie

Dictionary Entries near chinoiserie



Chino Hills





Statistics for chinoiserie

Last Updated

29 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chinoiserie

The first known use of chinoiserie was in 1883

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on chinoiserie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chinoiserie Encyclopedia article about chinoiserie

Comments on chinoiserie

What made you want to look up chinoiserie? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!