Definition of frottage in English:



  • 1Art
    The technique or process of taking a rubbing from an uneven surface to form the basis of a work of art.

    • ‘His interest in Freudian psychoanalysis is apparent in such works as the oil painting Pietà, or Revolution by Night, while his interest in automatism led him to develop the techniques of frottage and grattage.’
    • ‘Rather than using collage, frottage, silkscreen and airbrush, this uncontested master of image transfer turns to the technology of the moment and a considerable archive of images.’
    • ‘The most complex of the large pieces incorporates frottage, seen as areas of a tiny dot-grid blotching the surface.’
    • ‘Other imaginative techniques of which he was a leading exponent were frottage (which he invented in 1925) and decalcomania.’
    • ‘His range of effects is unusually eloquent; there is something of the monoprint to them, as well as elements of the Surrealist techniques of decalcomania and frottage.’
    1. 1.1[count noun]A work of art produced by taking a rubbing from an uneven surface.
      • ‘Surrealist artists in the 1920s sought equivalents to automatic writing, e.g. André Masson's free ink drawings, Max Ernst's frottages, or Joan Miró's field painting.’
      • ‘In August 2000 a retrospective of the artist's frottages and other drawings from 1978-1999 was held at the Salle du Couvemt in Seillans, France.’
      • ‘Ernst adopted their techniques in developing his well-known frottages, which he produced throughout his career.’
      • ‘The installation Don't Forget by Japanese artist Okabe Masao displayed frottages inside and outside a large circular panel suspended mid-gallery.’
      • ‘I sat in my semi-secluded backyard and rubbed my first frottages with a graphite stick.’
  • 2The practice of touching or rubbing against the clothed body of another person in a crowd as a means of obtaining sexual gratification.


1930s: French, rubbing, friction, from frotter to rub, of unknown origin.