vi·​trine | \ və-ˈtrēn How to pronounce vitrine (audio) \

Definition of vitrine

: a glass showcase or cabinet especially for displaying fine wares or specimens

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The history of "vitrine" is clear as glass. It comes to English by way of the Old French word vitre, meaning "pane of glass," from Latin vitrum, meaning "glass." "Vitrum" has contributed a number of words to the English language besides "vitrine." "Vitreous" ("resembling glass" or "relating to, derived from, or consisting of glass") is the most common of these. "Vitrify" ("to convert or become converted into glass or into a glassy substance by heat and fusion") is another. A much rarer "vitrum" word - and one that also entered English by way of "vitre" - is vitrailed, meaning "fitted with stained glass."

Examples of vitrine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But what about the cute little faience hippo in the same vitrine? New York Times, 6 Jan. 2022 In Edmund de Waal’s home in South London stands a 19th-century vitrine once in the Victoria & Albert Museum. New York Times, 17 Oct. 2021 The last gallery contains posters of her concerts over the decades, while a vitrine holds her digital and neon-illuminated violins along with other customized instruments. Richard B. Woodward, WSJ, 16 Oct. 2021 Two men, contorted and confined, slumber in a vitrine, a dress shoe on one man’s head, a urinal on his hip, while his genitals peek out, as the two standing men, both pants-less, observe, compelling us to participate in this overt conversation. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 The Cypriot sun is impatient, a woman undressed who can’t spare the time to dress, so light like a vitrine holds even a storm. Elisa Gonzalez, The New Yorker, 2 Aug. 2021 In what was once the main storefront vitrine at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 40th Street, movable armchairs cluster beneath a circular chandelier. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 4 June 2021 In it, Luna laid for hours at a time in a vitrine, wearing just a loin cloth. New York Times, 15 Oct. 2020 The gallery functions less as a white cube and more like a vitrine or shadowbox, the contents a curious spectacle housed within an otherwise traditional neighborhood. Danielle Avram, Dallas News, 29 June 2020

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

1880, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vitrine

French, from vitre pane of glass, from Old French, from Latin vitrum

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Time Traveler for vitrine

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The first known use of vitrine was in 1880

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vitrine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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