Definition of polychrome in English:


Line breaks: poly|chrome
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒlɪkrəʊm


  • Painted or printed in several colours: a precious polychrome ikon
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    • Some were beautifully illustrated in color; no doubt providing the source of some of the polychrome flower painting that sometimes complemented black and white penwork in the late 1820s and 1830s.
    • Fabrics varied, and included calendared or glazed fabrics of wool, plain or floral printed calicos and muslins, and glazed chintz monochrome or polychrome prints.
    • Ukiyo-e prints began to be produced in the late 17th century, but in 1764 Harunobu produced the first polychrome print.


[mass noun] Back to top  
  • 1Varied colouring: Modigliani continued to carve his large heads, sometimes in polychrome, until 1916
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    • Now though, in its restored polychrome of ochres, greens and blues, it harmonises perfectly with the building's essentially Italianate feel.
    • It could not have been lustred, and the bright polychrome is entirely out of key with the blue and gold of the other tiles.
    • The Nyoirin Kannon is described as decorated by saishiki, or polychrome, by the Kanshinji Register, which also notes the lecture hall guardian statue, Bishamontenno, as having saishiki decoration.
  • 1.1 [count noun] A work of art in several colours, especially a statue.
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    • This piece also reflects the fact that colors and surfaces change over time, so that monochromes frequently evolve into polychromes, or lose their original texture, hue or intensity.
    • The discovery made international headlines, and specialists arrived from Poland to examine the find - polychromes depicting colorful, fanciful figures, some with faces bearing a striking resemblance to Felix Landau and his mistress.
    • All his polychromes were thought to have been lost or defaced, until some of them were accidentally found just two years ago, hidden under whitewash and plaster, by a German film team making a documentary on the writer.


[with object] (usually as adjective polychromed) Back to top  
  • Execute (a work of art) in several colours: a polychromed bust of a young girl
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    • In 1911 he met Braque, and between 1914 and 1915 he produced the Constructions series, polychromed wood and plaster sculptures with an emphatic frontality, which investigated juxtapositions of volume.
    • The tomb consists of a prominent polychromed alabaster effigy of the duke lying in state on a slab of heavy black marble surrounded by heraldic symbols.
    • Similarly, it is typical for bodhisattva statues and those of deva or lesser deities to be polychromed.


early 19th century: from French, from Greek polukhrōmos, from polu- 'many' + khrōma 'colour'.

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