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n. pl. tes·ser·ae (tĕs′ə-rē′)
One of the small squares of stone or glass used in making mosaic patterns.

[Latin, from Greek, neuter of tesseres, variant of tessares, four; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -serae (-səˌriː)
1. (Ceramics) a small square tile of stone, glass, etc, used in mosaics
2. (Historical Terms) a die, tally, etc, used in classical times, made of bone or wood
[C17: from Latin, from Ionic Greek tesseres four]
ˈtesseral adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈtɛs ər ə)

n., pl. tes•ser•ae (ˈtɛs əˌri)
1. one of the small pieces used in mosaic work.
2. a small square of bone, wood, or the like, used in ancient Rome as a token, tally, ticket, etc.
[1640–50; < Latin, perhaps shortening of Greek *tessarágōnos square]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.tessera - a small square tile of stone or glass used in making mosaics
mosaic - art consisting of a design made of small pieces of colored stone or glass
tessella - a small tessera
tile - a flat thin rectangular slab (as of fired clay or rubber or linoleum) used to cover surfaces
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The points remained visible, akin to tesserae in a mosaic, but produced a shimmering translucent effect (5).
By definition a tesserae is a small block or piece of glass, pebbles, tile, bone, or other materials employed in the creation of a mosaic.
Anthologies of Historiographical Speeches From Antiquity to Early Modern Times: Rearranging the Tesserae
Tesserae con inscripcion GVLO y numeral IIII: 1) Puig del Castell de Samalus, Barcelona; 2) Chiusi, Museo de Perugia (en base a la fotografia de Banducci 2015); 3) Gabii (Banducci, 2015).
It depicts several men in togas, surrounded by "multicolored geometric patterns, which were formed using small tesserae (mosaic pieces) placed densely at about 12,000 stones per square meter," according to the Times of Israel.
Surviving ancient Roman mosaics include some very finely worked panels using very small tesserae, especially from Pompeii, but only from Byzantine art are there very rare icons in micromosaic with tesserae as small as the best from the modern period.
Mosaic tesserae pieced together like hieroglyphics on a wall tell stories of a rich life, surely rich in character, in diversity, in lessons to learn from and build on.
"Mosaics are made with several tiny little cubes of different shapes, called 'tesserae'," said al-Tawil, adding that tesserae can be of different materials: stone, marble, glass, mother of pearl or ceramic and they are never perfectly cubic as they are hand cut with special tools such as the hardie and the mosaic hammer.
Likewise, the stippling in Frost's Untitled #1, 1992, seems to puncture the surface of the paper even as it forms a mosaic of minute tesserae, a swirling, cosmic vortex with a dense center.
Last two of the six collections Sassi has available are the Tesserae and the Enchanted.