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: rococo work or style


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

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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 But all fashions fade, and by the mid-1800s the rococo style was deemed excessively ornate and out-of-date.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
Its two exceptional suites go full rococo with ornamentation from an earlier lavish era. Laura Manske, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2023 The show features pieces produced on the island by painters including rococo artist José Campeche and Impressionist Francisco Oller. Samantha Nelson, Chicago Tribune, 23 Dec. 2022 His dishes are classic Nikkei with local ingredients, such as sea bass ceviche with fried squid, tuna tiradito with leche de tigre, and Noia cockles with rococo (pepper) meunière. Ann Abel, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2022 Instead, the apartment is laden with beautiful objects, from the giddily rococo and Orientalist to the polished Art Deco and Modernist, all of it meticulously arrayed and moodily lit. Nancy Hass Anthony Cotsifas, New York Times, 16 Aug. 2022 For four decades Marshall has been helping himself to the bounty of art history, extrapolating distinctive strengths of early Renaissance or French rococo and setting them to work in entirely novel ways to depict Black subjects and Black experience. Susan Tallman, The New York Review of Books, 12 Dec. 2022 More elaborate dishes, which have recently infiltrated the fashion world’s parties and installations in the form of rococo seafood towers and avant-garde cakes, are finally popping up on runways, too. Marian Bull, ELLE, 18 Nov. 2022 The actual room is this crazy mix of rococo and even Chinese architecture. Selome Hailu, Variety, 23 Nov. 2022 Similar to Buckingham Palace, the interiors feature a variety of Baroque, rococo, and 19th-century finishes—all distinguished by the famous neoclassical-style columns, geometric features, and uniform patterns. Rachel Silva, ELLE Decor, 9 Nov. 2022
To become Edna, Humphries would put on a mauve wig, an increasingly rococo pair of eyeglasses and a glittering gown that screeched conspicuous consumption. Ben Brantley, New York Times, 24 Apr. 2023 After announcing a years-long renovation in 2017, Park Avenue’s landmark venue will be selling classical baroque and rococo French furniture from the Windsor Suite, the Cole Porter Suite, the Winston Churchill Suite, and the Marilyn Monroe suite, among others. Hannah Elliott,, 13 Oct. 2020 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rococo.' 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, irregular from rocaille rocaille

First Known Use


1835, in the meaning defined above


1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of rococo was in 1830


Dictionary Entries Near rococo

Cite this Entry

“Rococo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: of or relating to a style of artistic expression common in the 18th century marked by fancy curved forms and much ornament
rococo noun

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