Definition of sgraffito in English:

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Pronunciation: /zɡräˈfētō/ Pronunciation: /skrä-/

noun (plural sgraffiti /-tē/)

A form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color, typically done in plaster or stucco on walls, or in slip on ceramics before firing.
Example sentences
  • Here the last vestiges of the figurative, a few delicately poised hands, flowers and shells, are subsumed into patterned and highly coloured surfaces of glazes, scumbles, impasto, sgraffito, stipples, dots and splodges of paint.
  • Façades were further decorated with virtuoso sgraffiti, the top layer of plaster etched away to reveal a contrasting colour beneath.
  • It occupies the entire 6-foot-high composition, with ink spatters, sgraffito and handprints enlivening the surface.


Mid 18th century: Italian, literally 'scratched away', past participle of sgraffiare.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sgraf·fi·to

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