trompe l'oeil[trōnp lë′y']
- a painting, etc. that creates such a strong illusion of reality that the viewer may not at first be sure whether the thing depicted is real or a representation
- an illusion or effect of this kind
Origin of trompe l'oeilFrench literally , trick of the eye
nounpl. trompe l'oeils
- A style of painting that is intended to give a convincing illusion of reality.
- A painting or effect created in this style.
Origin of trompe l'oeilFrench trompe l'œil : trompe, third person sing. present tense of tromper, to deceive + le, the + œil, eye.
1784 mural painting on the Pilatushaus, Oberammergau, Germany, by Franz Seraph Zwinck (1748–1792)
(usually uncountable, plural trompe l'oeil or trompe l'oeils) (see usage notes)
- This phrase is sometimes misconstructed as trompe d’œil and trompe-d’œil, which, literally interpreted in French, means “deceives of eye”.
- In French, trompe-l’œil is an invariant noun; the same usage is reflected in the plural use of the English trompe l’oeil. Alternatively, trompe l’oeil is treated as a headless noun phrase, to which is suffixed -s to form a regular plural form. Still otherwise, some authors form novel plurals on modified etymological bases, such as the technically correct trompent-l’œil (“[they] deceive the eye”) and the ultimately mistaken trompe les yeux (“deceives the eyes”); however, such neologistic constructions are vanishingly rare.