• synonyms

terra cotta

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  1. a hard, fired clay, brownish-red in color when unglazed, that is used for architectural ornaments and facings, structural units, pottery, and as a material for sculpture.
  2. something made of terra cotta.
  3. a brownish-orange color like that of unglazed terra cotta.
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Origin of terra cotta

1715–25; < Italian: literally, baked earth < Latin terra cōcta


  1. made of or having the color of terra cotta.
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Origin of terra-cotta

First recorded in 1865–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for terracotta


  1. a hard unglazed brownish-red earthenware, or the clay from which it is made
  2. something made of terracotta, such as a sculpture
  3. a strong reddish-brown to brownish-orange colour
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  1. made of terracottaa terracotta urn
  2. of the colour terracottaa terracotta carpet
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Word Origin

C18: from Italian, literally: baked earth
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 terracotta



1722, from Italian terra cotta, literally "cooked earth," from terra "earth" (see terrain) + cotta "baked," from Latin cocta, fem. past participle of coquere (see cook (n.)). As a color name for brownish-red, attested from 1882.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper