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[fres-koh] /ˈfrɛs koʊ/
noun, plural frescoes, frescos.
Also called buon fresco, true fresco. the art or technique of painting on a moist, plaster surface with colors ground up in water or a limewater mixture.
Compare fresco secco.
a picture or design so painted.
verb (used with object), frescoed, frescoing.
to paint in fresco.
Origin of fresco
1590-1600; < Italian: cool, fresh (< Gmc)
Related forms
frescoer, frescoist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for frescoes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A copy of the frescoes seems to have been made at the time, but no trace of it has been found.

    Pagan and Christian Rome Rodolfo Lanciani
  • Then, he would be putting his hands upon some of these frescoes.

    The Wedding Ring T. De Witt Talmage
  • Its walls are adorned with frescoes by Albrecht Hildebrandt.

    Europe After 8:15 H. L. Mencken, George Jean Nathan and Willard Huntington Wright
  • There are still some frescoes by Dossi and another unknown master.

    Lucretia Borgia Ferdinand Gregorovius
  • The last of the frescoes is almost as fine a study of magnificent attitude.

    Luca Signorelli

    Maud Cruttwell
  • After examining the frescoes on the outer wall, the party entered the building.

    Up The Baltic Oliver Optic
  • It was roughly plastered from the floor to the lower line of the frescoes.

  • Two cards, not so large, with photographs of pictures and frescoes by Gaudenzio.

    The Samuel Butler Collection Henry Festing Jones
  • In the nave are the remains of frescoes of the Last Judgment.

British Dictionary definitions for frescoes


noun (pl) -coes, -cos
a very durable method of wall-painting using watercolours on wet plaster or, less properly, dry plaster (fresco secco), with a less durable result
a painting done in this way
Word Origin
C16: from Italian: fresh plaster, coolness, from fresco (adj) fresh, cool, of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for frescoes



1590s, in fresco, literally "in fresh," with a sense of "painted on fresh mortar or plaster," from Italian fresco "cool, fresh," from Proto-Germanic *friskaz (see fresh (adj.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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frescoes in Culture

fresco definition

A painting on wet plaster. When the plaster dries, the painting is bonded to the wall. Fresco was a popular method for painting large murals during the Renaissance. The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, is a fresco, as are the paintings by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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