Definition of mezzotint in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmetsōˌtint/ Pronunciation: /ˈmedzōˌtint/


1A print made from an engraved copper or steel plate on which the surface has been partially roughened, for shading, and partially scraped smooth, giving light areas. The technique was much used in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries for the reproduction of paintings.
Example sentences
  • In the 18th century mezzotints were issued in a highly artificial and codified manner - proofs before all letters, proofs with scratched letters - and aimed therefore at a sophisticated collecting fraternity.
  • There are many genres where prints of the highest quality, such as seventeenth-century French portraits, early lithographs and mezzotints are ridiculously cheap.
  • Gross, a master of etching in charge of graphics at the Slade School of Art, later helped Daphne Reynolds to develop mezzotints, the deep, velvety blacks created with home-made ink.
1.1The technique or process of making mezzotints.
Example sentences
  • Many engravers at this time complained of the rivalry of easier techniques, such as mezzotint and stipple engraving, and argued for the moral superiority of their more demanding technique.
  • His technique was mezzotint, the hybrid drypoint technique in which a texture is applied to a prepared etching plate, and the image is painstakingly burnished in.
  • The intaglio printmaking techniques are engraving, drypoint, etching, aquatint, stipple, mezzotint and are discussed in part two of this article.


[with object]
Engrave (a picture) in mezzotint.
Example sentences
  • Not only will mezzotinting give you stunning effects, but you'll also get more detail and a sharper image.
  • This, of course, refers to mezzotinting on copper; on steel it yields much larger editions.
  • It is interesting though because he alludes to mezzotinting, a printmaking process developed in the 17th century.



Example sentences
  • Such prints, decoratively framed, are known, in a rather derogatory way, as furniture prints, and stipple engravers were openly despised by the elite line engravers - who also despised and envied the mezzotinters.
  • He studied print-making under the mezzotinter and miniaturist, William Pether and, from 1780, at the Royal Academy Schools.
  • His father, Phillip Dawe, was a well known mezzotinter who produced many prints after the paintings of Henry Robert Morland.


From Italian mezzotinto, from mezzo 'half' + tinto 'tint'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mez·zo·tint

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