Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A hard semifired waterproof ceramic clay used in pottery and building construction.
  • n. Ceramic wares made of this material.
  • n. A brownish orange.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling of terracotta.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Baked clay; a kind of hard pottery used for statues, architectural decorations, figures, vases, and the like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A hard pottery made for use as a building-material and for similar purposes, of much finer quality and harder baked than brick; in the usual acceptation of the term, all unglazed pottery, or any article made of such pottery.
  • n. A work in terra-cotta, especially a work of art: specifically applied to small figures (statuettes) or figurines in this material, which have held an important place in art both in ancient and in modern times, and are of peculiar interest in the study of Greek art, which is presented by them in a more popular and familiar light than is possible with works of greater pretensions. See Tanagra figurine (under figurine), and see also cut under Etruscan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a hard unglazed brownish-red earthenware

Etymologies

Italian : terra, earth (from Latin terra; see terrace) + cotta, baked, cooked (from Latin cocta, feminine past participle of coquere, to cook).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • A number of ancient household articles were dug up, and one, a terra cotta lamp bearing upon its crown in bas-relief the legend of "Leda and the Swan," was presented to me as a souvenir of the occasion, though it is usual for the Government to place in its museums everything of such value that is unearthed.

    She Makes Her Mouth Small & Round & Other Stories

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