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sfumato

[sfoo-mah-toh]
noun Fine Arts.
  1. the subtle and minute gradation of tone and color used to blur or veil the contours of a form in painting.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sfumato

Historical Examples of sfumato

  • The gods were everything and nothing; they got lost in a sfumato.

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

    Franz Cumont

  • All the secrets of richness, softness, and morbidenza, all the mysteries of pastoso and sfumato were his.

  • It is like a picture, or a succession of pictures, painted in what the Italians call the sfumato, or "smoky" manner.


British Dictionary definitions for sfumato

sfumato

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

adj.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper