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

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 \ ˌpwaⁿ(n)-​tē-​ˈyēst , ˈpȯin-​tə-​list \ noun

Examples of pointillism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Polka Dot Remember pointillism from your Art History 101 class? Devon Abelman, Allure, "13 Unexpected Ways to Wear Winged Eyeliner That Are Taking Over Instagram," 14 Sep. 2018 Is there a sort of pointillism equivalent for film in digital stuff next to the more watercolor-y way actual film stock behaves? Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Eighth Grade director Bo Burnham on what most movies get wrong about the internet," 25 Aug. 2018 Abigail Fischer sings the piece vividly, with members of Sequitur, conducted by Jayce Ogren, moving easily through the score’s episodes of pointillism, stateliness and hazy dissonance. Allan Kozinn, WSJ, "Romantic Lushness Meets Post-Tonal Grittiness," 30 May 2018 Just like the Seurat painting, minus the class status and pointillism. Elisa Albert, Longreads, "O, Small-bany!," 7 May 2018 Roxi Satni: @roxitattoo Roxi Satni specializes in blackwork, pointillism, and geometric tattooing. Andrea Alonso, Los Angeles Magazine, "12 L.A.-Based Women Tattoo Artists You Need to Follow on Instagram," 2 Apr. 2018 Polka Dot Remember pointillism from your Art History 101 class? Devon Abelman, Allure, "13 Unexpected Ways to Wear Winged Eyeliner That Are Taking Over Instagram," 9 Mar. 2018 Ruscha employs a kind of sonic pointillism to create swirling melodies and softened rhythms. Randall Roberts, latimes.com, "California Sounds: E Ruscha V video premiere, and new songs by Alice Bag, the Marías and Lord Huron," 1 Mar. 2018 Meltzer’s Piano Quartet, which alternates between prickly pointillism and full-voiced lyricism, makes an inviting curtain-raiser. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "CD review: Harold Meltzer, ‘Variations on a Summer Day’," 17 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for pointillism

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for pointillism

The first known use of pointillism was in 1897

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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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