Definition of terra cotta in English:

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terra cotta

Pronunciation: /ˌterə ˈkädə/
(also terracotta)


1Unglazed, typically brownish-red earthenware, used chiefly as an ornamental building material and in modeling.
Example sentences
  • To the rear of the house is the kitchen/breakfast room, with polished terracotta floor tiles and French doors leading out to a patio.
  • Both unglazed terracotta ware and highly glazed ware crafted there are on sale in the museum foyer and the adjacent conservatory.
  • The artists use materials such as fibreglass, terracotta, oil, acrylic and other mixed media.
1.1A statuette or other object made of terra cotta.
Example sentences
  • The Archaic period (c. early 6th century - 480 BC) saw a great flowering of Etruscan art with the production of fine tomb paintings, funerary sculptures, and architectural terracottas.
  • And there are some, they continued, that are incredibly important, such as the series of Kwahu funerary terracottas or the 1971 sequence showing the Timi of Ede in Nigeria.
  • Upon entering the dark galleries, one is welcomed by some remarkable exemplars of Nok terracottas and Ife heads on loan from the Nigerian National Museum, Lagos, and the Ife Museum.
1.2A strong brownish-red or brownish-orange color.
Example sentences
  • They are very strong but not gaudy, colours like terracotta, green and yellow.
  • There are plenty of rich silks and organzas both in bright colours and earthy tones of terracotta, deep burgundy, pewter and slate black.
  • Also at ground level, the living room is decorated in warm terracotta tones and features a beamed ceiling and open brick fireplace.


Early 18th century: from Italian terra cotta 'baked earth', from Latin terra cocta.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ter·ra cot·ta

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