ro·​co·​co | \ rə-ˈkō-(ˌ)kō How to pronounce rococo (audio) , rō-kə-ˈkō How to pronounce rococo (audio) \

Definition of rococo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: rococo work or style



Definition of rococo (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : of or relating to an artistic style especially of the 18th century characterized by fanciful curved asymmetrical forms and elaborate ornamentation
b : of or relating to an 18th century musical style marked by light gay ornamentation and departure from thorough-bass and polyphony
2 : excessively ornate or intricate

Did you know?

In the 18th century, French artists rebelled against the ponderousness of baroque style and began to create light, delicate interior decorations, furniture, and architectural elements characterized by fanciful, curved, asymmetrical forms and elaborate ornamentation. The name of their new style, rococo, has been traced to the French rocaille, a term that evoked the ornamental use of rock and shell forms. In time, rococo was also applied to similarly ornamented and intimate styles of painting and music. But all fashions fade, and by the mid-1800s the rococo style was deemed excessively ornate and out-of-date. Now rococo is often used with mild disdain to describe the overly elaborate.

Examples of rococo in a Sentence

Adjective The chairs are carved in a rococo style.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For me, the feel is 21st-century rococo – opulence with a fresh modern twist. Felicity Carter, Forbes, 1 June 2022 This is surmounted by a rococo-style bow with trailing ribbons that terminate at the base with a flower garland. Tribune News Service, al, 13 May 2022 Except: as Saul Goodman's rococo buffet is loaded into a moving truck, one of the cupboards pops open, and a familiar object rolls out. Kat Rosenfield,, 19 Apr. 2022 The suite, impeccably designed by Beatty, is a French rococo painting come to life, while the period-perfect costumes by Jane Greenwood are a visual treat for the eyes. Maria Ward, Vogue, 29 Mar. 2022 But sandwiched between those time-and-space-traveling lewks was the real showstopper: a barely-there, rococo-style one-sleeve number paired with some starry pinstripe black trousers. Leah Greenblatt,, 4 Apr. 2022 Hers is the perpetual response of the rococo to the neoclassical, of Fragonard to David, of leaping frivolity to restraining solemnity, of the soap bubble to the boulder. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 In 2010, his French-style chateau that once blended rococo masterpieces and a shrine to Hoosier basketball, once valued at $25 million, sold at a sheriff's auction for $3 million. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 18 Feb. 2022 Breaking with earlier ideals of simplicity and grandeur, the rococo was exuberant, playful and highly ornamental. Peter Saenger, WSJ, 26 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Counting cupholders exposes the rococo nature of the minivan wars. Annie White, Car and Driver, 24 May 2020 The rooms, which are on display on the first floor in the Richelieu wing, and include a formal state dining room and a gilded drawing room, are prime examples of the elaborate, 18th-century rococo aesthetic. Betsy Blumenthal, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 May 2020 As for his personal design preference—the gold and rococo decor of his New York City penthouse is inspired by the Palace of Versailles. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, 7 Feb. 2020 The set, while minimalist, was suggestive of a rococo palace. Nicholas M. Gallagher, National Review, 21 Mar. 2020 The land at Kilometre 152 of Highway BR-174 is rococo in its greenness and relentlessly damp. Elizabeth Barber, The New Yorker, 17 Feb. 2020 The most rococo of them all is the Detroit-style pizza. Marian Bull, Saveur, 30 May 2019 Several books of rococo paintings are opened to pages with scenes that echo the ones Kassewitz painted. Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2020 The wings might belong to cherubs, common in rococo scenes. Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rococo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of rococo


1835, in the meaning defined above


1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for rococo


French, irregular from rocaille rocaille

Learn More About rococo

Listen to Our Podcast About rococo

Dictionary Entries Near rococo

rocky road



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for rococo

Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rococo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on rococo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rococo


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
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!