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 patina (audio) , ˈpa-​tə-​nəz \ or patinae\ pə-​ˈtē-​ˌnē How to pronounce patina (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.

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 While cars and trucks roar past on Ga. Highway 520, the sleepy town of Parrott, located between Columbus and Albany in southwest Georgia, retains the patina of an early 20th century community. Eric Dusenbery, ajc, 3 Jan. 2022 The story of Solhan is a notable mark in the patina of brutality spreading across the Sahel. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, 21 Dec. 2021 Not only did the dial patina in an incredible way, but so did the luminous material used on both the hands and markers turning into a golden almost dijon mustard tone. Matthew Catellier, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 The 12-inch bronze disc has a blue-green patina and is decorated with gold inlaid symbols, thought to represent the sun, moon, and stars. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 26 Oct. 2021 Distortion from the chopper blades gave the view a shimmering patina, and a band of cumulus edged toward the horizon. Jessica Camille Aguirre, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 While the world continues to transition and companies begin to reassess their needs, the meaning of the office will take on a new patina. Jonathan Kaufman, Forbes, 21 May 2021 And in the case of its Chambers Chelsea boot, the shoes are finished over an open flame to create a rich patina. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 24 June 2021 Sunlight makes the patina of sebum on his skin gleam. Hurmat Kazmi, The Atlantic, 23 Nov. 2021

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

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Patina.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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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