Definition of bistre in English:


Line breaks: bistre
Pronunciation: /ˈbɪstə
(US also bister)


[mass noun]
  • 1A brownish-yellow pigment made from the soot of burnt wood.
    More example sentences
    • It is a drawing in bister and reed pen on paper with no watermark.
    • De los Reyes has created new bister on paper works, stainless steel sculptures and exquisite monochromatic paintings in this exciting follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2005 exhibition.
    • The color of bistre varies with the wood from which the soot was derived, but in general it has a warm, transparent brown tone.
  • 1.1A brownish-yellow colour.
    More example sentences
    • Conté sticks and pencils are available in a wide range of colours including the traditional black, white, sepia, bistre and sanguine.
    • The colors on French colonial stamps are often brilliant and in unusual combinations: fuchsia and turquoise, blue and orange, purple and bistre.
    • By little and little, the surface of the plate takes a yellow tint, which darkens more and more, approaching to bistre.


early 18th century: from French, of unknown origin.

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