noun Fine Arts.

the subtle and minute gradation of tone and color used to blur or veil the contours of a form in painting.

Origin of sfumato

1840–50; < Italian, past participle of sfumare to gradate tone or color, equivalent to s- < Latin ex- ex-1 + fumare to smoke < Latin fumāre; see fume
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Historical Examples of sfumato

British Dictionary definitions for sfumato



(in painting) a gradual transition between areas of different colour, avoiding sharp outlines

Word Origin for sfumato

from Italian, from sfumato shaded off, from sfumare to shade off, from Latin ex- 1 + fūmāre to smoke
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 sfumato

1847, from Italian sfumato, literally "smoked," from Latin fumus "smoke" (see fume (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper