xy·​log·​ra·​phy | \ zī-ˈlä-grə-fē How to pronounce xylography (audio) \

Definition of xylography

: the art of making engravings on wood especially for printing

Other Words from xylography

xylograph \ ˈzī-​lə-​ˌgraf How to pronounce xylography (audio) \ noun
xylographer \ zī-​ˈlä-​grə-​fər How to pronounce xylography (audio) \ noun
xylographic \ ˌzī-​lə-​ˈgra-​fik How to pronounce xylography (audio) \ or less commonly xylographical \ ˌzī-​lə-​ˈgra-​fi-​kəl How to pronounce xylography (audio) \ adjective

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Current evidence dates the word xylography to 1816, but it is linked to printing practices that are much older. In fact, the oldest known printed works (from Japan and China in the 8th and 9th centuries) were made by xylography, a printing technique that involves carving text in relief upon a wooden block, which is then inked and applied to paper. This method of wood-block printing appeared in Europe in the 14th century, and eventually inspired Johannes Gutenberg to create individual and reusable pieces of type out of metal. These days, xylography can also describe the technique of engraving wood for purely artistic purposes. English speakers picked up the word from French, where it was formed as a combination of xyl-, meaning "wood," and -graphie, which denotes writing in a specified manner.

First Known Use of xylography

1816, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for xylography

French xylographie, from xyl- + -graphie -graphy

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The first known use of xylography was in 1816

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Cite this Entry

“Xylography.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xylography. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on xylography

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about xylography


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