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 Like her Impressionist peers, Williams painted landscapes, often en plein air (a method that, to her joy, often required her to hike for miles in the Northeastern wilderness). Vogue, "American Impressionist Mary Rogers Williams Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves," 6 Nov. 2019 Features artwork by juried artists during the annual plein air paint-out. Allana Haynes,, "14 can’t-miss events in Howard County in August and September," 31 July 2019 Working in acrylics and oils, painting on canvas and on boards, in studios and en plein air, the seven share their take on the world at large. Denise Coffey,, "August Moon Art Exhibit At The Vanilla Bean Cafe," 26 Aug. 2019 Especially in late September, being able to walk along the manicured paths and taking in The Thinker andThe Gates of Hell en plein air is such a treat. Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "What to Do and How to Pack for Paris Fashion Week," 3 Sep. 2019 Presented by Howard County Arts Council with support from Art in Ellicott City and Howard County Tourism, the plein air — or outdoor painting — event features artists of all levels working to paint the scenes around them. Katie V. Jones,, "Get your brushes out for Paint It! Ellicott City," 27 June 2019 With the backing and blessing of community leaders and businesses citywide, some of the best muralists in the world — including art-world darlings like Axel Void and Shepard Fairey — are transforming the state capital into a giant plein air gallery. Harriot Manley,, "9 must-see murals in downtown Sacramento," 22 Aug. 2019 So everything gets into the painting, wood smoke from the studio stove, The high pollen count of a high summer’s day en plein air by the Seine. Ciaran Carson, The New Yorker, "Claude Monet, “The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil,” 1880," 12 Aug. 2019 The painting was done en plein air (painted from life, on site) at a botanical conservatory in Toronto. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "Artist Darby Milbrath Collaborated With Celine on an Embroidered Bomber Jacket," 27 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for plein air

Time Traveler

The first known use of plein air was in 1894

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Statistics for plein air

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Plein air.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plein air

Comments on plein air

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very cautious or careful

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