[boh-zahr; French boh-zar]


noting or pertaining to a style of architecture, popularly associated with the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, that prevailed in France in the late 19th century and that was adopted in the U.S. and elsewhere c1900, characterized by the free and eclectic use and adaptation of French architectural features of the 16th through 18th centuries combined so as to give a massive, elaborate, and often ostentatious effect, and also by the use of symmetrical plans preferably allowing vast amounts of interior space.
resembling the architecture, architectural precepts, or teaching methods of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris: often used in a pejorative sense to designate excessive formalism disregarding considerations of structural truth, advanced aesthetic theory, rational planning, or economy.

plural noun

(lowercase) the fine arts, as painting or music.

Origin of Beaux-Arts

First recorded in 1815–25 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for beaux-arts

Contemporary Examples of beaux-arts

Historical Examples of beaux-arts

  • So are made the belles-lettres and the beaux-arts and their professors.

  • He took part in a competition for admission to the Beaux-Arts, and failed.

    Paris and the Social Revolution

    Alvan Francis Sanborn

  • Until then the house had been temporarily under the direction of the Beaux-Arts.

    My Recollections

    Jules Massenet

  • This is according to M. Rivet's report on the Beaux-Arts in 1906.

    Musicians of To-Day

    Romain Rolland

  • In his opinion, it would have been more suitable to exhibit such works in a bar-room than at the Beaux-Arts.


    Albert Keim

British Dictionary definitions for beaux-arts


pl n

another word for fine art
(modifier) relating to the classical decorative style, esp that of the École des Beaux-Arts in Parisbeaux-arts influences

Word Origin for beaux-arts

C19: French, literally: fine arts
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