noun, plural fres·coes, fres·cos.

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), fres·coed, fres·co·ing.

to paint in fresco.

Origin of fresco

1590–1600; < Italian: cool, fresh (< Gmc)
Related formsfres·co·er, fres·co·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for frescoes

Contemporary Examples of frescoes

Historical Examples of frescoes

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for frescoes


noun plural -coes or -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 for fresco

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

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

frescoes in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.