sgraf·​fi·​to | \ zgra-ˈfē-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce sgraffito (audio) , skra-\
plural sgraffiti\ zgra-​ˈfē-​(ˌ)tē How to pronounce sgraffiti (audio) , skra-​ \

Definition of sgraffito

1 : decoration by cutting away parts of a surface layer (as of plaster or clay) to expose a different colored ground — compare graffito
2 : something (such as traditional Pennsylvania Dutch pottery) decorated with sgraffito

Examples of sgraffito in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The earliest paintings were done in the sgraffito technique, where a light layer of plaster is applied over a darker one and then scraped off to create patterns with the color underneath (think large-scale scratch art). Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Engadin Has Some of the Most Delightfully Painted Homes in the World," 23 July 2019 Etch a sketch: The village of Pontresina, in Switzerland’s Engadine Valley, is known for an unusual ornamentation on its buildings called sgraffito. National Geographic, "Fun Facts About the Swiss and Italian Alps," 26 Mar. 2019

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

First Known Use of sgraffito

circa 1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sgraffito

Italian, from past participle of sgraffire to scratch, produce sgraffito

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for sgraffito

The first known use of sgraffito was circa 1730

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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