[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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