variants or less commonly pointillist
: composed of many discrete details or parts
: of, relating to, or characteristic of pointillism or pointillists

Did you know?

In the late 19th century, Neo-Impressionists discovered that contrasting dots of color applied side by side would blend together and be perceived as a luminous whole when seen from a distance. With this knowledge, they developed the technique of pointillism, also known as divisionism. By the 1920s, the adjective pointillistic was being used as a word describing something having many details or parts, such as an argument or musical composition; it was then applied to the art of pointillism and its artists, the pointillists.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The pointillistic eclecticism of @NYT_first_said does tend to highlight the linguistic extremes—the novelties and the gags and the groaners. Max Norman, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2023 Its pointillistic portrait of the world of Earn, Glover’s character, could, at times, give us little onto which to grasp. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 7 Nov. 2022 With his pointillistic vision of microhistory, of an overwhelming profusion of details, Jancsó radically decontextualized historical events and turned them into abstract symbols. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 13 Jan. 2022 His meta-narrative is not a pointillistic patchwork but a seamless tapestry. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2021 The piece then breaks into a pointillistic texture, with pluckings all around. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 27 Apr. 2021 Use a power drill with varying sizes of bits to create an elegantly pointillistic design on your pumpkin…. Beth Segal, cleveland, 15 Oct. 2020 Printed on the front of certain legitimate N95 masks is a logo of sorts: a figure surrounded by a cloud of air particles, represented by tiny, pointillistic dots. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, 7 May 2020 Webber takes pointillistic dabs and flickers, volleys between trombone and piano, say, and conjures a solid rhythmic and melodic substance out of what at first sounds totally slippery and liquid. John Adamian, courant.com, 17 Nov. 2019 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1922, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pointillistic was in 1922


Dictionary Entries Near pointillistic

Cite this Entry

“Pointillistic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pointillistic. Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

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