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terra-cotta

[ter-uh-kot-uh]
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adjective
  1. made of or having the color of terra cotta.

Origin of terra-cotta

First recorded in 1865–70

terra cotta

[kot-uh]
noun
  1. a hard, fired clay, brownish-red in color when unglazed, that is used for architectural ornaments and facings, structural units, pottery, and as a material for sculpture.
  2. something made of terra cotta.
  3. a brownish-orange color like that of unglazed terra cotta.

Origin of terra cotta

1715–25; < Italian: literally, baked earth < Latin terra cōcta
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for terra-cotta

Historical Examples

  • It is noted for its terra-cotta ware, clocks, and Museum of Antiquities.

    Denmark

    M. Pearson Thomson

  • No. 19 is a splendid Terra-cotta vase from the Palace of Priam.

  • He came to a stop, and sat staring at the terra-cotta Spanish floor-tiles.

    The Prairie Mother

    Arthur Stringer

  • The too lachrymose Madonna in terra-cotta, 256, already ushers in the decadence.

  • The slab of terra-cotta was the most obvious material for its reception.


Word Origin and History for terra-cotta

n.

1722, from Italian terra cotta, literally "cooked earth," from terra "earth" (see terrain) + cotta "baked," from Latin cocta, fem. past participle of coquere (see cook (n.)). As a color name for brownish-red, attested from 1882.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper