[ ar-uh-besk ]
See synonyms for arabesque on
  1. Fine Arts. a sinuous, spiraling, undulating, or serpentine line or linear motif.

  2. a pose in ballet in which the dancer stands on one leg with one arm extended in front and the other leg and arm extended behind.

  1. a short, fanciful musical piece, typically for piano.

  2. any ornament or ornamental object, as a rug or mosaic, in which flowers, foliage, fruits, vases, animals, and figures are represented in a fancifully combined pattern.

  1. decorated with or characterized by arabesques: arabesque design.

Origin of arabesque

1605–15; <French <Italian arabesco ornament in Islamic style, literally, Arabian, equivalent to Arab(o) Arab + -esco-esque

Other words from arabesque

  • ar·a·besque·ly, adverb

Words Nearby arabesque Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use arabesque in a sentence

  • The Allegretti opens with an arabesque tone-poem of somber sweetness, under which strange and varied delights are hidden.

    Bizarre | Lawton Mackall

British Dictionary definitions for arabesque


/ (ˌærəˈbɛsk) /

  1. ballet a classical position in which the dancer has one leg raised behind and both arms stretched out in one of several conventional poses

  2. music a piece or movement with a highly ornamented or decorated melody

  1. arts

    • a type of curvilinear decoration in painting, metalwork, etc, with intricate intertwining leaf, flower, animal, or geometrical designs

    • a design of flowing lines

  1. designating, of, or decorated in this style

Origin of arabesque

C18: from French, from Italian arabesco in the Arabic style

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