de·​cou·​page ˌdā-(ˌ)kü-ˈpäzh How to pronounce decoupage (audio)
variants or découpage
: the art of decorating surfaces by applying cutouts (as of paper) and then coating with usually several layers of finish (such as lacquer or varnish)
: work produced by decoupage
decoupage transitive verb
or découpage

Did you know?

Decoupage originated in France in the 17th century as a means of artistically decorating pieces of furniture with pictures. It took a few centuries, but by the mid-20th century decoupage became a household name in American interior decoration. The word is fashioned from Middle French decouper, meaning "to cut out." Decouper, in turn, pastes together the prefix de- ("from" or "away") and couper ("to cut). Other descendants of couper include coppice (a growth of small trees that are periodically cut), coupé (a horse-drawn carriage for two with a driver outside and whose name is thought to be from French carrosse coupé, literally, "cut-off coach"), and the clear-cut coupon.

Examples of decoupage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Scouts would seek locations that reflected the decoupages, which set designers would then style with props to further emulate the artworks. Chantel Tattoli, New York Times, 10 Oct. 2023 Once the decoupage medium is dry, place a decorative bauble at the center of the handle. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Dec. 2023 Others are kept down the block, at a space used for shipping and storage, and at a studio on Chrystie Street where Mr. Derian makes decoupage, a type of cut-and-paste art. Christopher Barnard, New York Times, 24 Nov. 2023 Press and repeat until the ornament is covered, then brush on a top coat of decoupage and let dry. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Oct. 2023 Some decoupages were scanned and details from the artworks were added to scenes in postproduction. Chantel Tattoli, New York Times, 10 Oct. 2023 Using adhesive strips or a decoupage medium, carefully adhere each photo to a thick piece of white cardstock (the paper has to be thick enough to stand on its own). Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 May 2023 Stamp or draw a small heart to embellish, then seal the whole thing with decoupage. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 14 June 2023 Narrow ribbons and rickrack make easy egg decorations when adhered with decoupage. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'decoupage.' 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 découpage, literally, act of cutting out, from Middle French, from decouper to cut out, from de- + couper to cut — more at cope entry 1

First Known Use

1946, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of decoupage was in 1946


Dictionary Entries Near decoupage

Cite this Entry

“Decoupage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

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