Definition of sienna in US English:



  • 1A kind of ferruginous earth used as a pigment in painting, normally yellowish-brown in color (raw sienna) or deep reddish-brown when roasted (burnt sienna).

    • ‘In the middle of the zone, where it narrowed to less than a kilometre near Byumba, I spotted soldiers swarming around the rich sienna of freshly turned mounds of earth; they were like giant anthills bracketing the city on both flanks.’
    • ‘Natural ochres, siennas, and umbers are found in a range of colours from red, orange, yellow, and brown to virtually black.’
    1. 1.1 The color of sienna pigment.
      • ‘The piece is illustrated with images that demonstrate the austere intensity of his work since then, exquisite abstract interiors and still lifes executed in his preferred palette of white, grey, light ochre and sienna.’
      • ‘For example, if you have a warm complexion (yellow or olive tones), select colors with names like auburn, copper, red or sienna.’
      • ‘Through the water he could see layers of other leaves that had earlier sunk to the bottom, arranging themselves in shaded and mottled patterns of burnt umber and sienna.’
      • ‘As I watched Amy adding the final touches to her make-up, I noticed she was wearing a new necklace - a long string of Peruvian ceramic beads, a mixture of cobalt blue and dark sienna, with a large Nazca Indian pendant on the end.’
      • ‘Slightly smaller than life-size, the statue's forehead bears a cobra, a symbol of royalty, and the face is painted a rich sienna.’
      • ‘Each animal is shown completely isolated, without context or even a horizon line, while the siennas, ochers and blacks of the scorches make for forms that pop out from the bare backgrounds.’
      • ‘The paintings of this third and continuing phase, elaborated in the artist's hallmark palette of ochre, ultramarine, sienna and viridian, carry a sharp whiff of pine from the Shivaliks, the Himalayan foothills.’
      • ‘Avoid big, bulky sweaters and select thin knits (with no wild life embellishments, please) in warm dark hues like eggplant, sienna, or olive and wear them out over your jeans.’
      • ‘Hartley favored a range of reds throughout his work, and many of the still-life arrangements are set against a ground of dark sienna or Indian red verging on black.’
      • ‘He also extended his gamut of colours to include umbers and siennas; transparent oxides as well.’
      • ‘Lead white, yellow ochre and raw sienna were found throughout the painting, together with chalk (used as an extender).’
      • ‘There are a lot of siennas, rich reds and browns, in its tonality, something that Megan absolutely adores.’
      • ‘When Claude Monet wanted a brown, he typically mixed it from primary colors rather than using traditional earth pigments such as sienna and umber.’
      • ‘In the center are two squares consisting of nine deeply saturated blocks of red, sienna, blue and black.’
      • ‘Natural colours such as sienna, coffee, verdure, burgundy, metal and champagne are chosen as ambient colours.’
      • ‘I used a mixture of green, sienna, brown and ochre.’
      • ‘Deep sienna and browns, both reddish and nearly black, sweep over the canvas, the forms, if not the hues, like those of a cloudscape.’
      • ‘The cool avenues and glades of sun-dappled green were gone, stolen by the seasons, repainted by nature's hand into a landscape of golds and yellows and siennas and reds.’
      • ‘In the larger of these, the backgrounds are sepia, white, black, deep yellow, peachy sienna.’
      • ‘I paused before closing the drapes, watching the last of the sun vanishing beyond the silhouette of treetops in the west: a darkening sky, the underbellies of high wind-streaked clouds painted sienna and salmon by the setting sun.’


Late 18th century: from Italian (terra di) Sienna ‘(earth of) Siena’.