Definition of intaglio in US English:



  • 1A design incised or engraved into a material.

    ‘the dies bore a design in intaglio’
    • ‘The term intaglio is used when the design is incised and sunk beneath the surface of the block and is moulded in reverse, which strictly speaking is not really a relief but the reverse of relief, and is often used for gemstone carvings.’
    • ‘The Southwark intaglio could indicate a Chnoubis, or Gorgon, a type of head which was well used in Late Antiquity as an apotropaic device whose protective power concerned the abdomen.’
    • ‘Engraving, or incising, to use Wood's term, refers to cutting into the plaque to form the design so that the face of the plaque is flat, the design inset as an intaglio.’
    • ‘The majority of the Roman finds were of finger-rings, many with carved intaglios or other engravings, used for stamping seals.’
    • ‘Two more intaglios have found their way into the house: quite lowgrade Roman ones.’
    1. 1.1 A gem with an incised design.
      • ‘There is also always the challenge before a man of sensibility as to how many rings set with antique intaglios he can get onto his hands and still be able to move his fingers.’
      • ‘New ground was broken in the same sale with the price fetched for Rothschild cameos and intaglios formerly displayed at Waddesdon Manor.’
      • ‘Perhaps the most interesting piece illustrated is a brooch with a moonstone intaglio of Aurora within a diamond morning glory.’
      • ‘The Italian travels are reflected in his acquisition of Italian seventeenth- and eighteenth-century paintings and bronzes, classical and renaissance cameos and intaglios and Italian maiolica.’
      • ‘Several categories of artwork are featured, including cameos and intaglios, carvings of natural-history subjects, boxes and bottles, and jewelry (wearable art).’
    2. 1.2 Any printing process in which the type or design is etched or engraved, such as photogravure or dry point.
      • ‘The exhibition is organized by medium, beginning with the artist's exploration of various forms of intaglio printing.’
      • ‘During his career, Grooms has employed nearly every printmaking technique from relief to intaglio to lithography to silkscreen, and every variant in between.’
      • ‘After experimenting with different printmaking techniques like etching and aquatint she finally discovered drypoint combined with aquatint as her favorite intaglio process.’
      • ‘This creates a plate that can be used to print either in relief or in intaglio.’
      • ‘The currency was printed in North Korea, which had acquired a sophisticated intaglio printing press similar to that used by the US Treasury.’


[with object]usually as adjective intaglioed
  • Engrave or represent by an engraving.

    ‘a carved box with little intaglioed pineapples on it’
    • ‘The rock appeared very old and worn, especially the cliff face, which looked as though it had been eroded by water over many millennia, leaving its scrub-grown surface scored and intaglioed with rounded vertical gullies.’


Mid 17th century: Italian, from intagliare ‘engrave’.