Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Bijou

Bijou, Bijoux, Jewellery, Jewel, Amber, Gem, Gemstone, Trinket

BIJOU

Foreign. Noun (plural bijoux) & adjective. Mid-17th century.
[French from Breton bizoù finger-ring, from biz finger.]

A noun. A jewel, a trinket. M17

B adjective. Small and elegant. M19

Also: bijouterie noun jewellery, trinkets, etc. E19

For such a small, delicate, nay bijou word, bijou certainly is a lot of things. It's a cocktail (gin, vermouth and chartreuse), a classic car in the Citroën Bijou, an actress in Bijou Phillips, a rather obscure Cape Verdean footballer named (obviously) Bijou, and also a retired poodle Beanie Baby (again named Bijou). Oh, it's also a song by Queen and a type of vial used in laboratories. Lastly, for those that like Tintin trivia (and who doesn't?), the French title of The Castafiore Emerald is 'Les Bijoux de la Castafiore'. What a charmingly promiscuous little fellow bijou is; I rather like him and his seductively soft pronunciation.

11 comments:

  1. How might one pronounce bijou, were one un petite rubbish a la francais?

    -je nais pas clue.

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    1. Ach ... you're quite right. I should have included a link to the pronunciation. It's bee-zhoo or thereabouts, sounding French. I'm correcting the post now : o )

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    2. Oh gumdrops! At the very moment I was typing out a reply, Bibi pipped me to the best. That dastardly Bibi and her Brilliantly Brainy Blogging!

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    3. Oh no : o (

      And now I've written "pipped me to the best" - I was thinking 'Bibi has bested me again!' while trying to type 'pipped me to the post'.

      My brain is just not built for this type of multi-level complexity.

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  2. I like the word bijou. We use it in our dialect (because who'd use "jewels" if there's a perfectly gorgeous word like "bijou" available to you?), but unfortunately, it hasn't made it into our official dictionary yet. English is so much more adaptive when it comes to foreign words!

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    1. Well this one has been around in English for close to 400 years and, yes, I agree: it's a positively delightful word. In English, 'jewels' can sound quite funny as it's also slang for ... well ... an example would be "I kicked him right square in the jewels, I did!"

      I shall let you infer the meaning in your own time : o )

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    2. Well, Ed, I'm delighted to tell you, in Flanders, and most likely in France as well, "bijoux" can be used in the exact same way. :)

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    3. I'm quite glad I didn't know that, or else I would have put that in the post. Maybe I still should ... ? No! I don't want to sully such a beautiful word!

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  3. :) Here we usually say 'family jewels'... amongst other things!

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    1. Yup. In Britain too. Also, 'the crown jewels' which is royally flattering : o )

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