vi·​trine və-ˈtrēn How to pronounce vitrine (audio)
: a glass showcase or cabinet especially for displaying fine wares or specimens

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 At MoMA, Blue Collar paintings and their postscripts face off on either side of a vast vitrine filled with books and photographs of Los Angeles. Susan Tallman, The New York Review of Books, 2 Nov. 2023 In a room adjacent to the main selling space sit displays and wall vitrines showcasing gala-appropriate jewels set with Colombian emeralds, unheated rubies and sapphires, and Type IIa diamonds (a gemological classification that denotes the finest, most limpid stones). Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 30 Oct. 2023 There are archaeological findings in museum vitrines to back that up. Lizzie Tisch, Town & Country, 25 Apr. 2023 The ancient gold in the vitrines reminded me of a passage from Wilson’s introduction to the Odyssey. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 The vitrines also include plaques listing the stones’ origins and properties. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, 21 Aug. 2023 In the last act, the vitrines tilt every which way, as if after an earthquake. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 8 Aug. 2023 Bundles of plastic mushrooms glow in tinted vitrines. Travis Diehl, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2023 Moran made sure there was a book from the Armstrongs’ vast collection in every vitrine. Melena Ryzik, New York Times, 3 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1880, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vitrine was in 1880


Dictionary Entries Near vitrine

Cite this Entry

“Vitrine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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