ma·​quette ma-ˈket How to pronounce maquette (audio)
: a usually small preliminary model (as of a sculpture or a building)

Did you know?

Maquette came to English directly from French, first appearing in our language in the late 19th century. The French word, which possesses the same meaning as its English descendant, derived from the Italian noun macchietta, meaning "sketch," and ultimately from Latin macula, meaning "spot." Maquettes are generally intended to serve as rough models of larger designs. Architects make maquettes of their buildings, and sculptors often create maquettes in wax or clay to help them realize the final sculpture. As an aside, you might spot something familiar in the word's Latin ancestor. The term "macula" in English refers to a spot (such as one on the eye) that is different from surrounding tissue; this is where we get the term "macular degeneration."

Examples of maquette in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That day at MoMA, Jonas and Janevski were talking in the museum’s model room, where doll-size configurations of exhibits are imagined, and maquettes of the museum’s various spaces, each for a different forthcoming show, clutter the tables. Susan Dominus Emiliano Granado, New York Times, 1 Mar. 2024 Kent Melton, the animation sculptor who created maquettes made of clay for iconic characters found in movies including Aladdin, The Lion King, Mulan, The Incredibles and Coraline, has died. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 Inside artist Chas Fagan’s modest home studio in Myers Park, dozens of little maquettes — one-eighth size sculpture models — mingle with busts of past presidents, a pilot and even a pope. Virginia Brown, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Here, a maquette by Baxter Koziol; there, a sculpture of a pigeon by Pat McCarthy. Joanne Kaufman, New York Times, 24 Oct. 2023 In the aftermath of this upheaval, Pinch and Bannon returned, for reassurance, to a small balsa-wood maquette of the home that Pinch had made during the planning phase. Ellie Pithers, New York Times, 21 July 2023 The stories are breathtakingly small, as though the original show has been shrunk down into a vivid maquette. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 22 June 2023 Four bronze maquettes were unveiled on the Plumage Act centenary, 1 July 2021 in Emily’s former garden, now a public park in Manchester. Mary Jo Dilonardo, Treehugger, 25 May 2023 The display includes a telegram of condolence to Berger’s family from then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, and a small-scale maquette of the abstract sculpture created as a memorial to Berger by Cleveland artist David Davis, now installed at the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood. Steven Litt, cleveland, 10 Jan. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'maquette.' 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, from Italian macchietta sketch, diminutive of macchia, ultimately from Latin macula spot

First Known Use

1880, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of maquette was in 1880


Dictionary Entries Near maquette

Cite this Entry

“Maquette.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on maquette

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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