ver·​di·​gris ˈvər-də-ˌgrēs How to pronounce verdigris (audio) -ˌgris How to pronounce verdigris (audio)
 also  -ˌgrē
: a green or greenish-blue poisonous pigment resulting from the action of acetic acid on copper and consisting of one or more basic copper acetates
: normal copper acetate Cu(C2H3O2)2·H2O
: a green or bluish deposit especially of copper carbonates formed on copper, brass, or bronze surfaces

Did you know?

“Green of Greece”—that is the literal translation of vert de Grece, the Anglo-French phrase from which we get the modern word verdigris. A coating of verdigris forms naturally on copper and copper alloys such as brass and bronze when those metals are exposed to air. (It can also be produced artificially.) Like cinnabar, fuchsia, and amaranth before it, however, verdigris is also seeing increased use as a color name that can be applied to anything suggestive of its particular hue. For more colorful history you might enjoy this article before testing your knowledge with a quiz.

Examples of verdigris in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With its gorgeous light-verdigris hue, Chamaerops humilis cerifera is originally from Morocco and known for its hardiness. Deanna Kizis, Sunset Magazine, 15 Mar. 2022 In Pessin’s home office, tucked into a nook under his staircase, there’s a verdigris Jean Prouvé-esque desk beneath a wall-hugging facsimile of a geometric Frank Stella painting. New York Times, 25 Nov. 2021 But the chloroplasts swathe large portions of their flat, billowy bodies in a startling verdigris. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 28 Sep. 2021 It’s 22-by-17 feet dominated by a large curving island of the verdigris marble. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, 4 Apr. 2020 It was inspired by the verdigris tones of a historic building across the street and the pale blush of another local landmark. Jane Margolies, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2019 From the open valley of the Río Chaschuil, the road suddenly plunged into narrow defiles where the rock was blushed with surreal mineral colors—crimson, verdigris, malachite, violet. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, 22 Aug. 2019 The handblown miniglobes have been fitted with warm LEDs and are attached to metal tubes that are available in verdigris, tarnished silver and mottled brass finishes. Arlene Hirst, New York Times, 8 May 2018 One private room, paneled in glass, with an extraordinary verdigris marble floor, is intended for Legacy members—100 people (about a quarter of them are Americans) who have bought lifetime memberships, which can be inherited by their children. Pascal Chevallier, Vogue, 19 Mar. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'verdigris.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English vertegrese, borrowed from Anglo-French verdegrece, vert de Grece, literally, "green of Greece"

Note: The current form reflects French vert-de-gris, with the final syllable assimilated to gris "gray."

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of verdigris was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near verdigris




Cite this Entry

“Verdigris.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


ˈvərd-ə-ˌgrēs, -ˌgris, -grəs also -ˌgrē
: a green or greenish blue poisonous pigment resulting from the action of acetic acid on copper, consisting of one or more basic copper acetates, and formerly used in medicine

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Ver·​di·​gris ˈvər-də-grəs How to pronounce Verdigris (audio)
river 351 miles (565 kilometers) long in southeastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma flowing into the Arkansas River
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