[ nee-el-oh ]
/ niˈɛl oʊ /

noun, plural ni·el·li [nee-el-ee] /niˈɛl i/.

a black metallic substance, consisting of silver, copper, lead, and sulfur, with which an incised design or ground is filled to produce an ornamental effect on metal.
ornamental work so produced.
a specimen of such work.
a print on paper made from an incised metal plate before the application of niello and associated especially with 15th-century Italy.

verb (used with object), ni·el·loed, ni·el·lo·ing.

to decorate by means of niello; treat with niello or by the niello process.

Origin of niello

1810–20; < Italian < Latin nigellus blackish, diminutive of niger black

Related forms

ni·el·list, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for niello

British Dictionary definitions for niello


/ (nɪˈɛləʊ) /

noun plural -li (-lɪ) or -los

a black compound of sulphur and silver, lead, or copper used to incise a design on a metal surface
the process of decorating surfaces with niello
a surface or object decorated with niello

verb -los, -loing or -loed

(tr) to decorate or treat with niello

Derived Forms

niellist, noun

Word Origin for niello

C19: from Italian from Latin nigellus blackish, from niger black
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