Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day
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Thursday word: clinquant

clinquant (KLING-kuhnt) - adj., glittering with or as with tinsel. n., imitation gold leaf, false glitter, tinsel.


As an adjective, there is a connotation of being garishly decked -- showy but false finery. Originally, both in English and French, it meant true golden, as in gold coins clinking (sound word borrowed in both languages from Dutch) -- thus Shakespeare: "To-day the French, / All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods, / Shone down the English." Eventually, though, it shifted to the fake gold of tinsel. Regardless, the sound that underlies it has been completely lost -- it's a purely visual quality, something I have to remind myself.

The Governor's audience hall was clinquant with its black and white floor, long mirrors, and a single gilded center-table.
Tags: adjective, c, dutch, french, noun
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