noun, often capitalized
poin·​til·​lism | \ ˈpȯin-tə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce pointillism (audio) , ˈpwaⁿ(n)-tē-ˌyi-zəm How to pronounce pointillism (audio) \

Definition of pointillism

: the theory or practice in art of applying small strokes or dots of color to a surface so that from a distance they blend together

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Other Words from pointillism

pointillist \ ˈpȯin-​tə-​list How to pronounce pointillism (audio) , ˌpwaⁿ(n)-​tē-​ˈyēst How to pronounce pointillism (audio) \ noun

Examples of pointillism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Quantum is like pointillism—a world made up of little dots. Time, 25 May 2021 His art evolved around that time, not toward despair or sadness but experiments in pointillism and swirls of color inspired by chemical reactions. Kristen Leigh Painter, Star Tribune, 13 May 2021 With his development of pointillism, Seurat painted tiny juxtaposed dots in varying colors to further disintegrate images beyond those of the impressionists. John Zotos, Dallas News, 7 May 2021 Cox’s style might be described as dynamic pointillism, with breathy instrumental noises giving way to mournfully wailing glissandi, and then to a climactic stampede of frantic figuration. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 12 Apr. 2021 Her signature sound, in which ethereal vocal pointillism details the upper limits of sensual songs driven by bouncing beats, expresses Twigs’s embrace of embodiment as well as her penchant for the abstract. Emily J. Lordi Photographs By Liz Johnson Artur, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2020 The Singer Laren's collection has a focus on modernism such as neo-impressionism, pointillism, expressionism and cubism. Bloomberg.com, 8 May 2020 Instead of heavy breathing and heaving bodices, this adaptation owes more to the pointillism of Wes Anderson, with its dioramic compositions, brightly colored symmetries, and fishbowl sets. Ross Douthat, National Review, 2 Apr. 2020 The museum houses the collection of American couple William and Anna Singer, with a focus on modernism such as neo-impressionism, pointillism, expressionism and cubism. USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2020

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

1897, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pointillism

French pointillisme, from pointiller to stipple, from point spot, from Old French — more at point

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Time Traveler for pointillism

Time Traveler

The first known use of pointillism was in 1897

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Statistics for pointillism

Last Updated

31 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pointillism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pointillism. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for pointillism



English Language Learners Definition of pointillism

: a style of painting in which a picture is formed from small dots of color

More from Merriam-Webster on pointillism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pointillism


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