Definition of polychrome in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpɒlɪkrəʊm/


Painted or printed in several colours: a precious polychrome ikon
More example sentences
  • 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]
1Varied colouring: Modigliani continued to carve his large heads, sometimes in polychrome, until 1916
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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)
Execute (a work of art) in several colours: a polychromed bust of a young girl
More example sentences
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /-ˈkrəʊmɪk/


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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: poly|chrome

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.