pa·​ti·​na | \ pə-ˈtē-nə , ˈpa-tə-nə \
plural patinas\ pə-​ˈtē-​nəz , ˈpa-​tə-​nəz \ or patinae\ pə-​ˈtē-​ˌnē , -​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

Over the years, with proper care, your cast-iron will develop a deep, dark patina. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Cast Iron the Right Way," 27 Aug. 2018 Living surface sinks are made with metal materials like cast bronze that can develop a unique patina over time. Ed Del Grande, The Seattle Times, "Create a one-of-a-kind bathroom with a living surface sink," 24 July 2018 Over time, the silver will also develop a lustrous and desired patina. Georgina Schaeffer, Town & Country, "How To Polish Your Silver," 9 Dec. 2013 The actual patina surface varies from sink to sink. Ed Del Grande, The Seattle Times, "Create a one-of-a-kind bathroom with a living surface sink," 24 July 2018 The architecture blends English stone farmhouse with the patina of an old church wall in Paris and a Pennsylvania Dutch barn. Barbara King, House Beautiful, "Jeannette Whitson on Creating a New House With Timeless Appeal," 15 May 2013 Antique Touch: Vintage-style fittings, like the faucets and lighting, have the patina of timeworn pieces. Ayn-monique Tetreault-rooney Klahre, Woman's Day, "What's Your Decorating Style?," 9 Nov. 2010 The best pieces of clothing acquire a couple different kinds of patina. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "GQ Editors on the Piece of Clothing They Stole from Dad," 15 June 2018 Their presence adds a patina of documentary credibility. Bart Layton, New York Times, "Review: In ‘American Animals,’ These Guys Didn’t Visit the Library to Study," 30 May 2018

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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Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for patina

The first known use of patina was in 1748

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More Definitions for patina



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with patina

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for patina

Spanish Central: Translation of patina Encyclopedia article about patina

Comments on patina

What made you want to look up patina? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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