noun Photography.

an early type of photograph, made by placing a glass negative against a dark background.

Origin of ambrotype

1850–55, Americanism; < Greek ámbro(tos) immortal (see ambrosia) + -type Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ambrotype

Historical Examples of ambrotype

  • Is it more wicked to have a marble portrait than an ambrotype?

  • It was an ambrotype, set into a case lined with purple velvet.

  • Suddenly Ellen Tiffton's story of the ambrotype flashed into 'Lina's mind.

    Bad Hugh

    Mary Jane Holmes

  • Si thrust his hand unceremoniously into Bushrod's pocket and found the ambrotype of Annabel.

  • He was unfortunately drowned a few months later; and for some cause the ambrotype was not returned.

    When Life Was Young

    C. A. Stephens

British Dictionary definitions for ambrotype



photog an early type of glass negative that could be made to appear as a positive by backing it with black varnish or paper

Word Origin for ambrotype

C19: from Greek ambrotos immortal + -type; see ambrosia
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

Word Origin and History for ambrotype

1855, American English, apparently from Greek ambrotos "immortal, imperishable" (see ambrosia), with second element from daguerreotype. A type of photograph on glass with lights given by silver and shades by a dark background showing through.

This invention consists in an improved process of taking photographic pictures upon glass, and also of beautifying and preserving the same, which process I have styled "ambrotype." My improved process has reference to the art of taking pictures photographically on a film of collodion upon the surface of a sheet of glass, the collodion being suitably prepared for the purpose. By the use of the said process, the beauty and permanency of such pictures are greatly increased, and I have on this account styled the process "ambrotype," from the Greek word ambrotos, immortal. ["Specification of the Patent granted to James A. Cutting, of Boston, in the United States of America, Photographer, for an Improved Process of taking Photographic Pictures upon Glass and also of Beautifying and Preserving the same. Dated London, July 26, 1854," printed in "Journal of the Franklin Institute," September 1855]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper