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underpainting

[uhn-der-peyn-ting]
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noun
  1. the first coat of paint, especially the initial painting on a canvas in which the major areas, tones, colors, and forms are indicated in mass.
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Origin of underpainting

First recorded in 1865–70; under- + painting
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for underpainting

underpainting

noun
  1. the first layer in a painting, indicating the design and main areas of light and shade
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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