sculp·​ture | \ ˈskəlp-chər How to pronounce sculpture (audio) \

Definition of sculpture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the action or art of processing (as by carving, modeling, or welding) plastic or hard materials into works of art
b(1) : work produced by sculpture
(2) : a three-dimensional work of art (such as a statue)
2 : impressed or raised markings or a pattern of such especially on a plant or animal part


sculptured; sculpturing\ ˈskəlp-​chə-​riŋ How to pronounce sculpture (audio) , ˈskəlp-​shriŋ \

Definition of sculpture (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to form an image or representation of from solid material (such as wood or stone)
b : to form into a three-dimensional work of art
2 : to change (the form of the earth's surface) by natural processes (such as erosion and deposition)
3 : to shape by or as if by carving or molding

intransitive verb

: to work as a sculptor

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Synonyms for sculpture

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of sculpture in a Sentence

Noun a sculpture of an elephant an exhibit of African sculpture Verb the artist used a hammer and chisel to sculpture the horse out of ice
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In Begur’s grand central church, an ethereal sculpture depicts a Virgin of the Coral with flowing hair and gown, holding at her hip a child clutching a crimson coral branch. Autumn Spanne, The Atlantic, "The Mediterranean’s Red Gold Is Running Out," 24 Feb. 2021 Cajsa von Zeipel, a sculptor, recently put a question about sculpture to Eisenman, who’s a friend. Ian Parker, The New Yorker, "Every Nicole Eisenman Picture Tells a Story," 22 Feb. 2021 The frozen creations will be lit up at night with color-changing LED lighting, for a unique experience at each sculpture. David Petkiewicz, cleveland, "Spectacular ice sculptures on display in Medina Square through Monday evening (photos)," 20 Feb. 2021 With no clear destination, the steps become an abstraction, more sculpture than architecture. New York Times, "In and Around Guadalajara, Homes Like Sanctuaries," 15 Feb. 2021 The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln is the largest sculpture park in New England. Diana Bravo,, "Romantic hiking spots for Valentine’s Day," 11 Feb. 2021 By 1963, there were five art galleries, four studio classrooms, an art reference library, a 381-seat theater and a sculpture courtyard. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, "A gift for Arkansas," 7 Feb. 2021 Keller has invested over $4 million in improvements for the Old Town location, including the construction of a pedestrian promenade, addition of outdoor seating and community areas, and installation of 11 concrete sculpture pads. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, "Keller is seeking five sculptures to add to its Old Town public art program," 5 Feb. 2021 Many visitors don’t realize that 80 percent of the museum’s holdings comprises sculpture and decorative arts. Phyllis Tuchman, Town & Country, "The Frick Collection's New Home Away from Home," 25 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sidelight is flattering to sculpture and ceramic; the darker interior galleries would suit sensitive works on paper. Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker, "The Iconoclast Remaking Los Angeles’s Most Important Museum," 5 Oct. 2020 Mycelium acts like a glue and is grown into molds (no pun intended) fitting any shape, from packaging insert to sculpture to beauty applicator. Maria Geyman, Vogue, "How Mushrooms Could Help Solve the Beauty Industry’s Waste Problem," 14 Aug. 2020 The second owners also have wall art and sculpture throughout. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$2.45M West Bloomfield home is V-shaped, has lake views from every room," 4 July 2020 Her glam also features a black lip, sculptured x-shaped braided hair style and a gold crown to top it off. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Barbie Collaborates With Basquiat For World Art Day," 15 Apr. 2020 What is the significance of sharing art and specifically sculpture outside? Trevor Fraser,, "Local artist donates sculpture for auction to aid Wells'Built Museum," 3 Apr. 2018 A life-size cow sculptured from butter has been a tradition at the Ohio State Fair since the early 1900s. Polly Campbell,, "Ohio's 2017 butter sculpture: In living color," 25 July 2017 Two round medallions that stud this one-of-a-kind Makassar ebony pendant are sculptured from gold. Nancy Hass, New York Times, "T Magazine Newsletter," 10 Nov. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sculpture.' 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 sculpture


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1645, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for sculpture


Middle English, from Latin sculptura, from sculptus, past participle of sculpere to carve, alteration of scalpere to scratch, carve

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Time Traveler for sculpture

Time Traveler

The first known use of sculpture was in the 14th century

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Statistics for sculpture

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sculpture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for sculpture



English Language Learners Definition of sculpture

: a piece of art that is made by carving or molding clay, stone, metal, etc.
: the process or art of carving or molding clay, stone, metal, etc., into a sculpture


sculp·​ture | \ ˈskəlp-chər How to pronounce sculpture (audio) \

Kids Definition of sculpture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the action or art of making statues by carving or chiseling (as in wood or stone), by modeling (as in clay), or by casting (as in melted metal)
2 : a work of art produced by sculpture


sculptured; sculpturing

Kids Definition of sculpture (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (a work of art) by shaping (as stone, wood, or metal)

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