pa·​ti·​na | \ pə-ˈtē-nə How to pronounce patina (audio) , ˈpa-tə-nə How to pronounce patina (audio) \
plural patinas\ pə-​ˈtē-​nəz How to pronounce patinas (audio) , ˈpa-​tə-​nəz \ or patinae\ pə-​ˈtē-​ˌnē How to pronounce patinae (audio) , -​ˌnī , ˈpa-​tə-​ \

Definition of patina

1a : a usually green film formed naturally on copper and bronze by long exposure or artificially (as by acids) and often valued aesthetically for its color
b : a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use the beautiful patina of this antique table
2 : an appearance or aura that is derived from association, habit, or established character the criminal has acquired a patina of respectability by his friendship with well-known businessmen
3 : a superficial covering or exterior The toast was spread with a patina of butter.

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Did You Know?

Italians began using "patina" in the 17th century to refer to the green film that is produced on the surface of copper. They borrowed the word from Latin, where it means "a shallow dish." (Presumably, the Italian meaning developed from the observation of such film forming on copper dishes.) By the mid-18th century, English speakers were also calling the green film "patina." And by the early 20th century, "patina" was being used in English for the gloss of polished metals, like silver, as well as wooden furniture - a meaning that led to its literary use for a surrounding aura, as demonstrated in this quote from Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm (1932): "The very atmosphere seemed covered with a rich patina of love."

Examples of patina in a Sentence

although the winery is brand-new, it has been constructed and decorated to give it a patina of old-world quaintness
Recent Examples on the Web The wood has been left untreated so the structures continue to weather and form patinas; window frames and red cedar roofs blend into the shadows of the surrounding primary forest. Rebecca Misner, Condé Nast Traveler, "Island Hopping in French Polynesia," 15 Nov. 2019 The orchestra carried that comfortable patina into the opening of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto. Matthew Guerrieri, Washington Post, "Melbourne Orchestra brings sense of several places to Kennedy Center," 17 Oct. 2019 Embracing the French penchant for patina, Ward spent months converting a 1920s era barn into a tasting room and recently transformed an 1850s farmhouse into lodging where guests sleep within sight of the orchards. Nancy Moreland,, "An Appalachian Eden for apples thrives in North Carolina’s Henderson County," 7 Oct. 2019 Its terracotta color with gold leafing detail has aged to spectacular soft patina over the years and could work well with almost every color palette. Elizabeth Pash, House Beautiful, "What You Should Know Before Shopping for Chinoiserie," 18 Oct. 2019 But instead of putting a damper on the festivities, the low clouds that threaded through the surrounding hills lent an ethereal patina over the party. Jane Napier Neely,, "The Valley Line: YMCA of the Foothills, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy enjoy great turnouts for their respective May events," 22 May 2018 For its first year or so, the Kushner peace team included an Arab-American woman, Dina Powell, which at least offered it the patina of diversity. Ron Kampeas,, "Who is Avi Berkowitz, the Kushner adviser stepping in to work on Israeli-Palestinian peace?," 10 Sep. 2019 During my week sojourn, the patina of sweat on my skin disappeared only in the shower. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: A lesson on identity politics from the Dominican Republic," 5 Sep. 2019 The tradition of drafting a fantasy football team may not have the patina of say, Monday Night Football or high school's Friday night lights. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Fantasy Football Draft Night at NRG Stadium raises $375,000 for abused and neglected Houston youth," 5 Sep. 2019

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

1748, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for patina

Italian, from Latin, shallow dish — more at paten

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Time Traveler for patina

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The first known use of patina was in 1748

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Last Updated

9 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Patina.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for patina


How to pronounce patina (audio) How to pronounce patina (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of patina

: a thin usually green layer that forms naturally on the metals copper and bronze when they are exposed to the air for a long time
: a shiny or dark surface that forms naturally on something (such as wood or leather) that is used for a long time
: a thin layer

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More from Merriam-Webster on patina

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for patina

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with patina

Spanish Central: Translation of patina Encyclopedia article about patina

Comments on patina

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to state or do over again or repeatedly

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