Definition of grisaille in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɡriˈzī/ Pronunciation: /-ˈzāl/


1A method of painting in gray monochrome, typically to imitate sculpture.
Example sentences
  • Painted in grisaille, they show a top-hatted character wandering through hilly landscapes and inclement weather.
  • Although she paints basically in grisaille, she will often add color to the figures to approximate old-fashioned hand-tinted photographs.
  • The center panel, executed in grisaille, shows the dog of the title - a pointer - walking down a flight of stairs somewhat uneasily, as dogs tend to do.
1.1A painting or stained-glass window in grisaille style.
Example sentences
  • When Eddy and Sophie met he mainly painted grisailles, works in shades of grey.
  • The mechanically produced grisailles are of the same high standard of quality that I have always demanded of my work.
  • He made grisailles of the destitute and maimed which have a moralizing character.


Mid 19th century: French, from gris 'gray'.

Words that rhyme with grisaille

ail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, curtail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, frail, Gael, Gail, gale, Grail, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, webmail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, quail, rail, sail, sale, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, veil, surveil, wail, wale, whale, Yale

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gri·saille

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.