Definition of rococo in US English:



  • 1(of furniture or architecture) of or characterized by an elaborately ornamental late baroque style of decoration prevalent in 18th-century Continental Europe, with asymmetrical patterns involving motifs and scrollwork.

    • ‘Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, baroque, and rococo facades combine to create majestic results.’
    • ‘When I first arrived at the Akademie Schloss Solitude near Stuttgart, Germany, I was struck by a flamboyant baroque and rococo construction.’
    • ‘Before the house re-opened, she mowed the lawns into rococo designs, and this spring, he will create an installation in the grounds.’
    • ‘He produced some charming teawares decorated with putti and children in the rococo manner.’
    • ‘These furnishings included carpets, curtains, louvres, rococo chairs, plaster casts of antique statues and busts, paintings, Chinese vases and diverse plants.’
    • ‘His rococo pieces were obviously executed before the neo-classical ones, but the transition between the two styles in England spanned at least a decade.’
    • ‘These were of eclectic style, many of them with baroque and rococo elements.’
    • ‘A further four medallions were also added to the rococo ceiling in the Great Room, in this instance in monochrome with backgrounds painted to represent terracotta.’
    • ‘But more picturesque venues include the Gothic convent of St Agnes of Bohemia and the Kinsky Palace, the most beautiful rococo building in Prague.’
    • ‘Charles-Joseph Natoire's resplendent decorative style typifies the sophistication and elegance of French art during the rococo period.’
    • ‘Each is massively framed by an ornate gilt rococo cartouche carved by Giovanni Giuliani in 1706.’
    • ‘Accordingly, the transitional period between the opulent baroque period and the less formal rococo era of Louis XV became known as French Régence, or Regency.’
    • ‘Her Great Room occupying the front of the house has a fine rococo ceiling, newly fashionable as a feature at the time.’
    • ‘Joseph McDonnell has highlighted instances where Irish goldsmiths appear to have used moulds to copy London designs in the rococo idiom.’
    • ‘Thus we have a medley of dates, spanning the reigns of Louis XIII to Louis XV, if you include the rococo picture frame on the Rigaud to the right of the chimney.’
    • ‘The whole tableau is set upon a rococo footed platter, white with gold wave trim, that recalls the mirrored trays of mid 20th-century suburban dresser sets.’
    • ‘Another example of the English rococo style promoted by Moser is the snuffbox recently promised to the Museum.’
    • ‘As in the rococo period, virtually no surface was allowed to escape unembellished.’
    • ‘The quality of Calderwood's work during that period is illustrated by a fine pair of rococo candlesticks, in the collection of the National Museum of Ireland.’
    • ‘Maria sat bolt upright on a pretty rococo chair, watching the dancing couples.’
    1. 1.1 Extravagantly or excessively ornate, especially (of music or literature) highly ornamented and florid.
      • ‘To sell such a rococo character, the producers relied heavily on a number of sure-fire gimmicks.’
      • ‘In Haydn's C major sonata he navigates its florid rococo embroidery with the deft assurance of a Swiss jeweler, while lending to Rachmaninoff's blustery Etude Tableau in D the grandeur its imitative bell sonorities demand.’
      • ‘In instrumental music, the rococo keyboard sonatas of Seixas rivalled those of Domenico Scarlatti, who worked at John's court between 1719 and 1728.’
      ornate, fancy, very elaborate, curlicued, over-elaborate, extravagant, baroque, fussy, busy, ostentatious, showy, wedding-cake, gingerbread
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  • The rococo style of art, decoration, or architecture.

    • ‘Her brushwork is lighter, looser, and more melodramatic than Freud's; there is even some pink playfulness - a touch of rococo - in her work.’
    • ‘The massive and elaborately gilded furniture and furnishings of the late baroque were so entrenched in Italy, that rococo took longer to establish itself there than in France, southern Germany or even England.’
    • ‘The visual vocabulary of the Baroque and rococo, which the Europeans brought to Brazil, also lends itself to sublime extravagance.’
    • ‘Art nouveau's swirling forms and arabesques, decorative playfulness and openness to the exotic, in this case from Japan rather than China, also seem descended from rococo.’
    • ‘The candlesticks with Apollo and Daphne, made in London around 1740, are rare and unusual examples of the full-blown English rococo.’
    • ‘In the Svindersvik manor, the characteristics of Swedish rococo were boiled down to their essence and even enhanced by its minute size.’
    • ‘The arresting mirror from Milan shows the Italian rococo at its most lively, with scrollwork rising detached from the bottom of the frame, to converge in a vortex in time cresting.’


Mid 19th century: from French, humorous alteration of rocaille.