plein air

\ ˌplān-ˈer How to pronounce plein air (audio) ; ple-ˈner\

Definition of plein air

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to painting in outdoor daylight
2 : of or relating to a branch of impressionism that attempts to represent outdoor light and air

plein air

French adjective
\ ple-ner How to pronounce plein air (audio) \

Definition of plein air (Entry 2 of 2)

: open-air : outdoor

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Other Words from plein air


pleinairism \ plā-​ˈner-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce pleinairism (audio) , ple-​ \ noun
pleinairist \ plā-​ˈner-​ist How to pronounce pleinairist (audio) , ple-​ \ noun

Examples of plein air in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

An exhibition of en plein air artwork in Abita Springs and a Friday night concert at the Community Beehive, a wood-shop and gathering spot in downtown Covington. Sarah Bonnette,, "Artscape: Busy spring showcases arts culture on the North Shore," 1 June 2018 The tour also will offer margaritas and Mexican food, plein air painters in several gardens and a raffle for prizes from local artists and businesses. Kathleen Luppi,, "Tour will spotlight 10 gardens in Laguna Beach," 1 May 2018 Up to 40 plein air artists also will be in the area. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Historic Concordia home is 4,000 square feet of hard work - and love," 31 May 2018 Designer Sandra Sandor has put her hometown on the map with the label’s ’90s-style belt bags, kicky babouche shoes, and aforementioned puffers, and last night’s dinner en plein air also paid homage to Budapest. Rachel Marlowe, Vogue, "Langley Fox, Aubrey Plaza, and the Willis Sisters Celebrate the Nanushka Pop-Up in Los Angeles," 31 May 2018 During this era, female artists were encouraged to pursue portrait or still life, which could be created in the home, rather than landscapes or plein air, which would require them to go outside. Susan Dunne,, "'Two Lives, One Passion' At Springfield Museums," 7 July 2018 Activities include plein air art sessions, guided tours, art activities, and live music by Beatles for Sale. Robert Knox,, "Scituate arts festival invites young and old to paint outdoors," 1 June 2018 The Walters Art Museum is holding a block party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 16 that will include live music, food trucks, games, activities such as plein air painting and mosaic tile crafting and ceramic-making demonstrations. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "The Walters' renovated Mount Vernon mansion is a work of art in itself," 15 June 2018 The workshop will focus on plein air painting, from sketchbook to finished painting. Courant Community, "Community News For The Vernon Edition," 5 June 2018

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


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plein air


French, open air

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Dictionary Entries near plein air




plein air

plein jeu



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Time Traveler for plein air

The first known use of plein air was in 1894

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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