[bah-ri-leef, bas-; bah-ri-leef, bas-]
relief sculpture in which the figures project slightly from the background.
Also called low relief.

1660–70; < French, on the model of Italian bassorilievo. Cf. basso-relievo, base2, relief Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bas-relief (ˌbɑːrɪˈliːf, ˌbæs-, ˈbɑːrɪˌliːf, ˈbæs-)
Also called (Italian): basso rilievo sculpture in low relief, in which the forms project slightly from the background but no part is completely detached from it
[C17: from French, from Italian basso rilievo low relief; see base², relief]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1660s, from Fr. bas-relief, a loan-translation of It. basso-rilievo "low relief, raised work."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
bas-relief [(bah ruh-leef)]

A kind of carving or sculpture in which the figures are raised a few inches from a flat background to give a three-dimensional effect. The term is French for “low relief.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The stone featured a sunken shield in which the inscription appeared in bas relief.
The tree has been depicted in bas relief, on monuments, and on coins.
Elements are often large and outstanding with the entire rock surface decorated, occasionally carved in bas relief.
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