trompe l'oeil

noun, often attributive
\(ˌ)trȯmp-ˈlȯi, (ˌ)trȯmp-ˈlə-ē, trōⁿp-ˈlœi\

Definition of trompe l'oeil 

1 : a style of painting in which objects are depicted with photographically realistic detail also : the use of similar technique in interior decorating

2 : a trompe l'oeil painting or effect

3 : something that misleads or deceives the senses : illusion

Examples of trompe l'oeil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Versace is on the floor, chairs, and tables in the room where the the designer sits on a Baroque-style chair in front of trompe l'oeil gilt boiserie walls, and pours tea from—but of course—Versace porcelain. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "The Versace Mansion Comes to Instagram HQ with a New Made-for-the-Gram Mini Room," 5 June 2018 The Looters, one of the few remaining pieces Banksy produced during his blast through Crescent City in 2008, just three years after Hurricane Katrina, depicts a pair of soldiers taking electronics through a trompe l'oeil window. Sara Lieberman, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Newly Restored Banksy Has Been Unveiled in New Orleans," 1 Dec. 2017 Hanlon sought to transform Lina Hoss into a reincarnation of Ziggy Stardust, her dirty-blonde buzz cut topped in a trompe l'oeil mullet that was dyed a fiery tangerine. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "6 Scene-Stealing Beauty Trends to Borrow From Milan Fashion Week," 26 Feb. 2018 The trompe l'oeil case around the front door is my interpretation of a detail in the Chinese Bedroom at Claydon House. Lisa Cregan, House Beautiful, "An Empty "White Cube" Apartment Gets Its Masterpiece Theatre Moment," 19 Jan. 2017 The super was spotted yesterday in New York City having traded her high-impact windblown lengths for a trompe l'oeil bob born of a simple styling trick: the strategic tuck. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Has the Perfect Hair Trick for a 5-Second Faux Bob," 18 Dec. 2017 In Atami, the photographer and his friends paid about $9 to get into the Trick Art Museum, where visitors can take photos in trompe l'oeil paintings. New York Times, "Traveling Across Japan," 21 Oct. 2017 With rumors swirling that the transformation was the result of a full 15 hours in the colorist's chair, rather than the handiwork of a temporary trompe l'oeil wig, only a front row appearance at New York Fashion Week will tell. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West Reveals a New Shocking Silver Hair Color," 6 Sep. 2017 Inspired in part by sets from the Ballets Russes and working in a fanciful vein similar to the sets that Feinstein created for Marc Jacobs's Fall 2012 runway show, the works are a thrilling feat of trompe l'oeil. Kimberly Cutter, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rachel Feinstein's Fantasy Land," 7 Aug. 2014

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

1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for trompe l'oeil

French trompe-l'œil, literally, deceives the eye

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Time Traveler for trompe l'oeil

The first known use of trompe l'oeil was in 1889

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trompe l'oeil


English Language Learners Definition of trompe l'oeil

: a style of painting in which things are painted in a way that makes them look like real objects

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


to express warning or disapproval

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