fres·​co | \ˈfre-(ˌ)skō \
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

To serve, top tortillas with beans, peppers, avocado, queso fresco (if desired), cilantro and a squeeze of lime from the wedges. Melissa Clark, The Seattle Times, "How to make sheet-pan suppers without the meat," 1 Oct. 2018 Outdoor heaters, an outdoor hearth and a fire pit mean that al fresco entertaining in cooler weather is an option, and the terrace is Ms. Moller’s go-to spot. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "A Home in an Affluent Copenhagen Suburb Keeps Getting Better," 6 Sep. 2018 Get ready for a night of dining al fresco while strolling the streets of Northeast Philadelphia., "Art Star Craft Bazaar, Love Your Park Week, New Hope Celebrates Pride, and other great events, May 11-18," 9 May 2018 Many of wine country’s top eateries are al fresco at award-winning wineries, dreamily set amidst acres of vines, or Michelin-starred. Marie Salcido, Sunset, "A Beloved Wine Country Diner Has Closed its Doors," 22 Jan. 2018 The scene is reminiscent of Capri’s Da Paolino restaurant, where diners, including many wedding parties, eat al fresco amid a grove of lemon trees. Jay Jones,, "Here's what 57,000 flowers create at Vegas' Bellagio Conservatory, where love is in the air," 12 July 2018 Here are the other best al fresco dining honorees from Florida, according to OpenTable. Lauren Delgado,, "Disney Springs restaurant named one of the best al fresco eateries by OpenTable," 9 July 2018 The least tiny part about the home is the covered deck, which alone comes in at 280 square feet and includes a wood burning stove, couch, and enough room to have a leisurely meal al fresco. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Prefab cabin comes with a deck almost as big as the house," 26 June 2018 Dining al fresco is divine, but the intimate dining room makes for an elegant evening. Jennifer Mcclellan, azcentral, "20 romantic restaurants in Phoenix for your next date night," 21 Mar. 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

30 Nov 2018

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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

Comments on fresco

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living or existing for a long time

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