trompe l'oeil

noun, often attributive
\ (ˌ)trȯmp-ˈlȯi How to pronounce trompe l'oeil (audio) , (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

Dion paid homage to her by wearing one of the pieces from her spring 2019 couture collection, a red and black trompe l'oeil dress. Ana Colón, Glamour, "We Need to Talk About Céline Dion’s Haute Couture Fashion Week Outfits," 2 July 2019 Does the trompe l'oeil look mean the beginning of the end for the bob? Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Margot Robbie Is Barely Recognizable in Her First Look as Sharon Tate," 6 Aug. 2018 Perhaps most ubiquitous of all the carved creations is the alabaster grape—stones painted and polished into trompe l'oeil orbs that look good enough to eat. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Feast Your Eyes on the Next Design Must-Have: Antique Marble Apples, Bananas, and Grapes Galore," 19 Oct. 2018 The patisserie is known for its macarons in every color of the rainbow, as well as its trompe l'oeil ceiling. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Meghan Markle Enjoyed Some Fabulous Restaurants in New York City," 20 Feb. 2019 But a switch-up that requires neither makeup nor trompe l'oeil hair extensions makes for a memorable next-level beauty maneuver, even for the expert chameleon. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "There's Something Different About Kim Kardashian West Today," 15 Aug. 2018 Her front hall is decorated in trompe l'oeil draperies framing a Chinese landscape evoking all the time McCains have spent facing out over the Pacific. P.j. O'rourke, Town & Country, "Roberta McCain, the Woman Who Shaped Senator John McCain," 29 Aug. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about trompe l'oeil

Dictionary Entries near trompe l'oeil




trompe l'oeil




Statistics for trompe l'oeil

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trompe l'oeil

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

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for trompe l'oeil

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

More from Merriam-Webster on trompe l'oeil Encyclopedia article about trompe l'oeil

Comments on trompe l'oeil

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


a wrong name or inappropriate designation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

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

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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