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 plein air (audio) , ple-​ \ noun
pleinairist \ plā-​ˈner-​ist How to pronounce plein air (audio) , ple-​ \ noun

Examples of plein air in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Hansen was a prominent plein air painter, and his work is highly sought after. oregonlive, "Armin Carl Hansen etching could fetch thousands: Today’s Collectibles," 1 Dec. 2020 While some gyms and boutique studios have reopened—or reimagined their services en plein air—many remain shuttered. Kari Molvar, Vogue, "High- and Low-Tech Solutions for Staying in Shape at Home This Winter," 22 Oct. 2020 Crystal Moll, a plein air artist and Baltimore gallery owner, is the guest juror for this year’s Paint It! Katie V. Jones,, "Annual Paint It! Ellicott City competition takes a fall turn this year amid the coronavirus pandemic," 8 Oct. 2020 Originally planned for the end of June, the plein air painting competition was rescheduled for Oct. 15 to 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic, placing the outdoor-painting event smack in the middle of the fall season. Katie V. Jones,, "Annual Paint It! Ellicott City competition takes a fall turn this year amid the coronavirus pandemic," 8 Oct. 2020 The back of the painting includes Vining's weather notes for that day (17 degrees), an important aspect in his appreciation of plein air. David Lindquist, The Indianapolis Star, "This 10th Street spot combines Justin Vining's art gallery and his brother's law office," 21 Sep. 2020 These en plein air works are placed where the artists, including Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, painted them, revealing a glimpse of a time and an invention that, nearly 350 years later, still inspires awe. National Geographic, "The mechanical wonder that powered Versailles’s fountains," 20 Aug. 2020 Although painting outdoors is frequently identified with the Barbizon school and Impressionism, painting en plein air was long central to an artist’s training. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, WSJ, "‘True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780-1870’ Review: Spontaneous Creation," 5 Aug. 2020 But it’s not just the French who can pull off a classy picnic or appreciate the casual, carefree ambiance associated with dining en plein air. Jennifer G. Wolcott, The Christian Science Monitor, "In a pandemic summer, picnicking ‘nurtures the soul’," 1 July 2020

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

9 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plein air.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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