• synonyms


[skrah-fee-toh; Italian zgrahf-fee-taw]
noun, plural sgraf·fi·ti [skrah-fee-tee; Italian zgrahf-fee-tee] /skrɑˈfi ti; Italian zgrɑfˈfi ti/.
  1. a technique of ornamentation in which a surface layer of paint, plaster, slip, etc., is incised to reveal a ground of contrasting color.
  2. an object, especially pottery, decorated by this technique.
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Compare graffito.

Origin of sgraffito

1720–30; < Italian, past participle of sgraffire to do graffito work, derivative of sgraffio a scratch, implement for drawing, itself derivative of (s)graffiare to scratch, draw on plaster with a pointed tool; see ex1, graffito
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sgraffito

Historical Examples of sgraffito

  • The roof and part of the walls are decorated with sgraffito work.

    A History of Giggleswick School

    Edward Allen Bell

  • Finally, the limitations of sgraffito as a method of expression are the same as those of all incised or line work.

  • Sgraffito work may claim a special aptitude for design whose centre of aim is line.

  • The sgraffito pottery is a red earthenware, coated with a white slip through which designs have been incised.

  • Worth Bailey, then museum technician at Jamestown, was the first to recognize the source of the sgraffito ware as “Devonshire.”

British Dictionary definitions for sgraffito


noun plural -ti (-tɪ)
  1. a technique in mural or ceramic decoration in which the top layer of glaze, plaster, etc, is incised with a design to reveal parts of the ground
  2. such a decoration
  3. an object decorated in such a way
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Word Origin for sgraffito

C18: from Italian, from sgraffire to scratch; see graffiti
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