rococo

noun
ro·co·co | \rə-ˈkō-(ˌ)kō, rō-kə-ˈkō \

Definition of rococo 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: rococo work or style

rococo

adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Adjective

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 But all fashions fade, and by the mid-1800s the rococo style was deemed excessively ornate and out-of-date.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

There, an after party ensued, with men in 18th-century rococo suits ushering attendees into the Temple of Dendur, where a projection gave the bare walls the appearance of a grand European palace façade. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "All the Stars Turned Out for the World Premiere of Ocean’s 8," 6 June 2018 At the end of the episode, Axe attends a dinner with Andolov's family in one hell of a gold rococo room. refinery29.com, "Billions Season 3, Episode 10 Recap: "Texas Roadkill Chili"," 28 May 2018 What looks like a fancy rococo wallpaper design in black and white and in gold is actually an arrangement of handcuffs, chains, surveillance cameras, Twitter birds and stylized alpacas—an animal which in China has become a meme against censorship. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "Ai Weiwei Depicts the Brutality of Authoritarianism in an Unusual Medium–Legos," 12 July 2017 As a strategic argument, this might make sense: Most people are always going to be more worried about their immediate economic prospects than even the most rococo of Washington misdeeds. Michelle Goldberg, Slate Magazine, "Tick, Tick, Tick," 26 June 2017 London Lace Scotland is the source for this company's lovely lace window coverings, which range in style from sweet to over-the-top rococo. John Loecke, ELLE Decor, "2004 Home Magazine 100 Plus Secret Sources," 5 July 2012 What looks like a fancy rococo wallpaper design in black and white and in gold is actually an arrangement of handcuffs, chains, surveillance cameras, Twitter birds and stylized alpacas—an animal which in China has become a meme against censorship. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "Ai Weiwei Depicts the Brutality of Authoritarianism in an Unusual Medium–Legos," 12 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

With 30 days to vacate her 56,500-square-foot mansion, Candy Spelling had decades of rococo treasures to relocate. Ronald D. White, latimes.com, "From Sinatra to the Spellings, California's oldest moving company has thrived by remaining discreet," 8 July 2018 Every item — brocade sofas, velvet upholstered chairs, metal hinges, parquet de Versailles floors — is period perfect; Smith will brook no interruption of his rococo illusion. Nancy Hass, New York Times, "In the Heart of Louisiana, One Man’s Impossibly Ornate Home," 8 May 2018 Still, the increasingly rococo costumes are a delight, especially for Rubinstein. Jesse Oxfeld, Town & Country, "Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone Go Head to Head in the New Musical War Paint," 7 Apr. 2017 The Warfield was a glamorous old theater with an elaborately detailed rococo interior, grand antebellum-style spiral stairwells, and enormous chandeliers. Rachel Kushner, Vogue, "Rachel Kushner on the San Francisco Dives of Her Youth, and That Time She Tended Bar With Keith Richards," 27 Apr. 2018 Among the highlights of the 200-item show is the reunion of six related mythological paintings by François Boucher, a rococo painter who made them for a Parisian mansion. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "Two Museums Conjure the Days When Fans Were in the Air," 6 Apr. 2018 The White House decor might be a bit subdued for him though, since the penthouse was modeled after the Palace of Versailles, with rococo decor and a profuse amount of gold. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "All of Donald Trump's Houses, in Photos," 15 Aug. 2017 And their look flits from rococo one day to bohemian the next. Leigh-ann Jackson, latimes.com, "Chloe and Halle Bailey on their personal style, getting ready for their Coachella debut and Beyoncé," 5 Apr. 2018 My interest now, more aesthetic than athletic, is increasingly in the players’ rococo hairdos, body tattoos and exotic first names. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "I Loved College Basketball, but Now I Feel March Sadness," 15 Mar. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of rococo

Noun

1835, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for rococo

Adjective

French, irregular from rocaille rocaille

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rococo

Listen to Our Podcast about rococo

Statistics for rococo

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rococo

The first known use of rococo was in 1830

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rococo

rococo

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of rococo

: of or relating to a style of artistic expression that involves fancy curved forms and much decoration and was popular in the 18th century

More from Merriam-Webster on rococo

See words that rhyme with rococo

Comments on rococo

What made you want to look up rococo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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