pen·​ti·​men·​to ˌpen-tə-ˈmen-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce pentimento (audio)
plural pentimenti
: a reappearance in a painting of an original drawn or painted element which was eventually painted over by the artist

Examples of pentimento in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps this is what eventually awaits those who experience migratory grief: the ability to see one’s former life not as a pentimento, crudely painted over by the present, but as part of a diptych, in which a past self sits more comfortably beside the new. Sheon Han, The Atlantic, 30 Mar. 2022 When looked one way, pentimento is evidence of a cheat or a cover-up. Vulture, 29 Nov. 2022 Obsidian Entertainment’s latest game, Pentiment, takes its title from the term pentimento, a change made by an artist while painting. Will Bedingfield, WIRED, 17 Nov. 2022 The yellow title casts a grayish shadow within the turquoise, a pentimento whose sign of an earlier paint layer signals a stratum of history. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2022 But none of this backstory is explained in the film, which instead comes across as the cinematic equivalent of a pentimento, with the trace of the men’s friendship concealed beneath a conventional documentary form. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 5 May 2021 Alabama’s flag is a giant crimson X, St. Andrew’s cross, that’s almost a pentimento of the Confederate flag. Karen Heller, Washington Post, 1 July 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pentimento.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian, literally, repentance, correction, from pentire to repent, from Latin paenitēre — more at penitent

First Known Use

1823, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pentimento was in 1823

Dictionary Entries Near pentimento

Cite this Entry

“Pentimento.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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