chi·noi·se·rie | \shēn-ˈwäz-rē, -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

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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

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 Louis the 16th armchair, and a wonderful vintage yellow Baker desk with chinoiserie decoration. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tour for a cure: Architectural treasure is this year's Breast Cancer Showhouse," 18 May 2018 Introduce the East to the West Blending chinoiserie and clean midcentury lines keeps either from becoming themey. Kathryn O’shea-evans, WSJ, "Interior Design That Will Let You Party Like a President," 23 Mar. 2018 Hartig’s sensibility is always slightly punk, and his collection veered from delightfully chic flapper-era gowns with chinoiserie embroidery to army jackets emblazoned with the image of Cher, yes, Cher. Booth Moore, The Hollywood Reporter, "When the Runway Is a Party," 14 Feb. 2018 Many of the season’s ready-to-wear pieces reference period textiles like chinoiserie and brocade, with additional textural layering from leather, knits and plumage. Sophia Markoulakis, San Francisco Chronicle, "Style Pairing: Dare to wear patterns," 1 Feb. 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.

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First Known Use of chinoiserie

1883, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chinoiserie

French, from chinois Chinese, from Chine China

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Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

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The first known use of chinoiserie was in 1883

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to reject or criticize sharply

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