vi·​trine | \və-ˈtrēn \

Definition of vitrine 

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

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Did You Know?

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

Each little shop isolates one or two paintings, as if in their own pavilion or vitrine, with others always visible through the glass walls. Roberta Smith, Jason Farago, Martha Schwendener And Will Heinrich, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 17 Jan. 2018 Hollinger took Polaroids of trees, boiled the prints (sure, why not?) and put about a dozen of the distressed emulsions in a vitrine. Mark Feeney,, "Making art of root and branch, trunk and leaf in “Trees II”," 21 June 2018 The screen looks good, but the room, like most of the gallery space, is still a mess, scattered with empty vitrines and submarine parts and carts of tungsten track lighting that was swapped out for UV. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Unseen Oceans: How the American Museum of Natural History Builds a New Exhibit," 21 June 2018 Crowded into a small vitrine as a kind of visual footnote at one end of the exhibition are four long objects of similar scale. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "J.B. Blunk’s ‘everyday life’ of art and nature at Oakland Museum," 31 May 2018 They are accompanied by a vitrine holding a sampling of an archive about Ms. King, started by her grandmother and continued by her sister Petita Cole, a project perhaps unprecedented in the history of outsider art that Mr. Byrne calls Boswellian. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "The Outsider Fair Once More Confirms That Art Is Everywhere," 18 Jan. 2018 Williams-Tsien has replaced the stairway windows with light boxes, and their vitrine lets natural light into a gallery designated for sculpture not sensitive to the sun. Cate Mcquaid,, "A New Hampshire art museum faces the future," 10 May 2018 The ground floor was originally divided into three glass vitrines to maximize space for product display. Inga Saffron,, "Discovering an art deco Kresge's behind a Center City storefront," 13 Feb. 2018 Enormous sprays of blossoming plum branches loomed everywhere; in a tribute to the location, oversized faux-medieval books lay open on tables; and a series of vitrines displayed opulent, one-off trinkets. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, "Sarah Jessica Parker Helps Dolce & Gabbana Bring Luxe to the Library," 17 Apr. 2018

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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Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for vitrine

The first known use of vitrine was in 1880

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