• synonyms


[pree-raf-ee-uh-lahyt, -rey-fee-]
  1. any of a group of English artists (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) formed in 1848, and including Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who aimed to revive the style and spirit of the Italian artists before the time of Raphael.
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  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the Pre-Raphaelites.
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Origin of Pre-Raphaelite

First recorded in 1840–50; pre- + Raphael + -ite1
Related formsPre-Raph·a·el·it·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pre-raphaelite

Historical Examples

  • And now the pre-Raphaelite is just a little evident in an excess of detail.

    The History of Modern Painting, Volume 3 (of 4)

    Richard Muther

  • I learned afterwards that Whaley, the Pre-Raphaelite, had used the place as a studio.

    Sonia Married

    Stephen McKenna

  • Every tassel of their rusty foliage is defined with pre-Raphaelite minuteness.

    Essays of Travel

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • I'd rather be an Impressionist than a Pre-Raphaelite any day.

    Loyal to the School

    Angela Brazil

  • One of the famous English school of so called pre-Raphaelite painters.

    The Bible Story

    Rev. Newton Marshall Hall

British Dictionary definitions for pre-raphaelite


  1. a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, an association of British painters and writers including Rossetti, Holman Hunt, and Millais, founded in 1848 to combat the shallow conventionalism of academic painting and revive the fidelity to nature and the vivid realistic colour that they considered typical of Italian painting before Raphael
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  1. of, in the manner of, or relating to Pre-Raphaelite painting and painters
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Derived FormsPre-Raphaelitism, noun
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 pre-raphaelite


n., adj.

c.1848, in reference to the "brotherhood" (founded 1847) of Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and others (seven in all) who, encouraged by Ruskin, sought to revive the naturalistic spirit of art in the age before Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper