often capitalized
: 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

Examples of pointillism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The fragmentary style of the novel is the literary equivalent of pointillism: examined close up, some of the dots seem random, misplaced, perhaps even ugly, but take a broader view and the effect is as mysterious as being in love. June Thomas, New York Times, 16 June 2023 Seurat’s solution was to invent pointillism, the technique of constructing pictures from small dots of complementary colors. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 1 June 2023 The paintings, done in a pointillism style, shimmered with the high-contrast pop of a flash photo or an instant Polaroid. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2022 His three-dimensional approach to pointillism dazzles the eye. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 18 Dec. 2022 Visitors can view works of art in pointillism and brocades woven in oil. San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Dec. 2022 The design is influenced by pointillism, and there is a subtle gradient of colors throughout the pattern. Carisha Swanson, House Beautiful, 18 Oct. 2022 In the four corners of the ceiling, sunlight streams through windows of Russian blue glass painted by the local Aboriginal artist Sharron Ohlsen, who also employs pointillism in her work. New York Times, 5 Jan. 2022 Seldom is this a problem when landing at an airport, since the trees, telephone poles, and air traffic control towers create a concrete referential pointillism easily processed by the eye. Eric Lindner, Popular Mechanics, 22 July 2021 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1897, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pointillism was in 1897

Dictionary Entries Near pointillism

Cite this Entry

“Pointillism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pointillism. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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