patina

play
noun pa·ti·na \pə-ˈtē-nə, ˈpa-tə-nə\

Definition of patina

plural

patinas

play \-nəz\ or

patinae

play \-ˌnē, -ˌnī\
  1. 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 colorb :  a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use the beautiful patina of this antique table

  2. 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. 3 :  a superficial covering or exterior The toast was spread with a patina of butter.

patina was our Word of the Day on 11/03/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of patina in a sentence

  1. although the winery is brand-new, it has been constructed and decorated to give it a patina of old-world quaintness

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."

Origin and Etymology of patina

Italian, from Latin, shallow dish — more at paten


First Known Use: 1748

Other Metals and Metallurgy Terms


PATINA Defined for English Language Learners

patina

play
noun pa·ti·na \pə-ˈtē-nə, ˈpa-tə-nə\

Definition of patina for English Language Learners

  • : 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



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

capable of being understood in two ways

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ