noun, plural ges·soes.

gypsum or plaster of Paris prepared with glue for use as a surface for painting.
any plasterlike preparation to prepare a surface for painting, gilding, etc.
a prepared surface of plaster or plasterlike material for painting, gilding, etc.

Nearby words

  1. gesner, konrad von,
  2. gesneria,
  3. gesneria family,
  4. gesneriad,
  5. gessen,
  6. gest,
  7. gesta romanorum,
  8. gestagen,
  9. gestalt,
  10. gestalt phenomenon

Origin of gesso

1590–1600; < Italian < Latin gypsum gypsum Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gesso

British Dictionary definitions for gesso



a white ground of plaster and size, used esp in the Middle Ages and Renaissance to prepare panels or canvas for painting or gilding
any white substance, esp plaster of Paris, that forms a ground when mixed with water

Word Origin for gesso

C16: from Italian: chalk, gypsum

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 gesso


plaster of Paris, 1590s, from Italian gesso, from Latin gypsum (see gypsum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper