fres·​co | \ ˈfre-(ˌ)skō How to pronounce fresco (audio) \
plural frescoes

Definition of fresco

1 : the art of painting on freshly spread moist lime plaster with water-based pigments
2 : a painting executed in fresco

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Other Words from fresco

fresco transitive verb

Fresco and the Art World

The Italian word fresco means “fresh” and comes from a Germanic word akin to the source of English fresh. In the Renaissance, pittura a fresco, meaning “painting freshly,” referred to paint applied while the plaster on the wall was still wet, as opposed to pittura a secco “painting dryly,” in which paint is applied when the plaster was dry. In English, fresco appears earliest as part of the phrase in fresco; it does not appear as a noun referring to a painting until 1670. A different sense of Italian fresco, meaning “fresh air,” appears in the phrase al fresco “outdoors,” borrowed into English as alfresco and used particularly in reference to dining outdoors.

Examples of fresco in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The designer hinted at the garden by giving the surrounding walls a fresco-like treatment: three coats of gray plaster, topped with a layer of white wax. Karen Bruno, WSJ, "A Staircase That Takes a Step Up," 21 Aug. 2018 Beyond al fresco dining options and bright pedicure shade choices, there's another pressing concern on the minds of diehard warm weather enthusiasts at the moment. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "9 Instant Body Bronzers For People Who Hate Self Tanner," 12 May 2018 Mythological frescoes, statues and fountains festoon the house, now an intimate hotel. Kimberly Chrisman Campbell, WSJ, "Getting Cozy with Coco: Touring the Private Villas of Fashion Icons," 13 Sep. 2018 Coastal meets local at Page at 63 Main, where stylish and cozy vibes meet a rustic-chic dining concept that boasts an outdoor patio for dining al fresco. Natasha Huang Smith, Harper's BAZAAR, "Your 2017 Hamptons Summer Guide," 14 July 2017 The room is decorated with Mantegna’s trompe l’oeil frescoes, including a ceiling panel that gives viewers the impression of being watched by figures peering down from an apparent opening above. John Hooper, WSJ, "At Long Last, Early Renaissance Works Are Reunited," 28 Nov. 2018 Guests can enjoy a selection of cocktails by the cozy fire, or dine al fresco on the pool menu. Jenna Gottlieb, Vogue, "The Hottest Hotel Pools to Cool Down In This Summer," 21 June 2018 The atmosphere is colorful and authentic – an ideal setting for dining al fresco under the Ibizan moonlight. Amy Louise Bailey, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Fashion Girl's Guide to Ibiza," 17 Oct. 2017 Each day ends with an al fresco dinner on the boat’s panoramic deck. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "The Best Places to Travel in 2019," 7 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fresco.' 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 fresco

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fresco

Italian, from fresco fresh, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German frisc fresh

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Statistics for fresco

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for fresco

The first known use of fresco was in 1598

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English Language Learners Definition of fresco

: the art of painting on wet plaster
: a painting that is done on wet plaster

More from Merriam-Webster on fresco

Spanish Central: Translation of fresco

Nglish: Translation of fresco for Spanish Speakers

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