tes·​sera | \ ˈte-sə-rə How to pronounce tessera (audio) \
plural tesserae\ ˈte-​sə-​ˌrē How to pronounce tesserae (audio) , -​ˌrī \

Definition of tessera

1 : a small tablet (as of wood, bone, or ivory) used by the ancient Romans as a ticket, tally, voucher, or means of identification
2 : a small piece (as of marble, glass, or tile) used in mosaic work

Examples of tessera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some tessera were damaged and others were missing when it was rolled up and transported overseas, but those too were restored. Joseph Serna, latimes.com, "Authorities say ancient mosaic seized at Palmdale home was looted from war-torn Syria," 27 May 2018 In the milling street Crivano feels invisible again, a tessera blended into a mosaic. Scarlett Thomas, New York Times, "‘The Mirror Thief,’ by Martin Seay," 27 May 2016

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

First Known Use of tessera

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tessera

Latin, probably ultimately from Greek tessares four; from its having four corners — more at four

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The first known use of tessera was in 1538

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Cite this Entry

“Tessera.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tessera. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on tessera

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tessera

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