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(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; extravagantly or excessively ornate. Recorded from the mid 19th century, the word comes from French, as a humorous alteration of rocaille, an 18th-century artistic or architectural style of decoration characterized by elaborate ornamentation with pebbles and shells. The word (which is French) comes from roc ‘rock’.

Subjects: Art.

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