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

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 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 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 See More

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.

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

Learn More About pointillism

Time Traveler for pointillism

Time Traveler

The first known use of pointillism was in 1897

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near pointillism




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for pointillism

Cite this Entry

“Pointillism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pointillism. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on pointillism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pointillism


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!