Definition of intaglio in US English:



  • 1A design incised or engraved into a material.

    ‘the dies bore a design in intaglio’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Two more intaglios have found their way into the house: quite lowgrade Roman ones.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘Several categories of artwork are featured, including cameos and intaglios, carvings of natural-history subjects, boxes and bottles, and jewelry (wearable art).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Perhaps the most interesting piece illustrated is a brooch with a moonstone intaglio of Aurora within a diamond morning glory.’
      • ‘New ground was broken in the same sale with the price fetched for Rothschild cameos and intaglios formerly displayed at Waddesdon Manor.’
    2. 1.2 Any printing process in which the type or design is etched or engraved, such as photogravure or dry point.
      • ‘After experimenting with different printmaking techniques like etching and aquatint she finally discovered drypoint combined with aquatint as her favorite intaglio process.’
      • ‘The currency was printed in North Korea, which had acquired a sophisticated intaglio printing press similar to that used by the US Treasury.’
      • ‘This creates a plate that can be used to print either in relief or in intaglio.’
      • ‘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.’


[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’.