|Actress Gina Lollobrigida and her fabulous 1960s décolletage|
Noun. Late 19th century.
[French, from décolleter expose the neck, from dé + collet collar of a dress etc.]
1 The low-cut neckline of a woman's garment. L19
2 Exposure of the neck and shoulder by such a neckline. L19
|Portrait of Isabella of Parma|
Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779)
Adjective. Mid-19th century.
[French décolleter, as above.]
Of a (woman's) garment: having a low-cut neckline.
Of a woman: wearing a low-necked garment.
Also figuratively, daring, slightly improper.
As much I relished writing about cleavage, I must admit that the word is rather vulgar. Fortunately, the saucy French have provided us (as they so often do) with an altogether more refined alternative in décolletage, which originates from the delightfully specific French verb décolleter, 'to show the neck'. And as a bonus, its related adjective décollete has the thoroughly marvellous definition of 'slightly improper'!
If you have something to get off your décolletage, do please leave a comment in the box below.