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SOMMELIER

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SOMMELIER

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:59 pm

• sommelier •

Pronunciation: sê-mêl-yayHear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: The wine steward of a luxury restaurant, usually an expert on wines.

Notes: In a French restaurant, if you would like to sound a bit more French when you pronounce this word, you may drop the L [sê-mê-yay]. Make a mental note: two Ms, one L, whether you pronounce the latter or not.

In Play: The job of the sommelier, of course, is to help the customer match the wine with his meal: "The sommelier was so good at his job that he could tell by the look in Redmond's eyes that he was in desperate need of a glass of California Cabernet Sauvignon." However, since only the poshest of restaurants have sommeliers, you cannot separate the connotation of classiness with this word: "Malcolm poured the oil into the engine of his Jaguar as adroitly as a sommelier in a Parisian restaurant might pour a glass of Pinot Noir."

Word History: We recently noted that janitor is a lowly job with a celestial title. Well, that of a sommelier is a celestial job with a lowly title. No, the title doesn't reflect the inattentiveness of some sommeliers (sommeil "sleepy" in French), it is an alteration of sommerier "mule or packhorse driver", a noun derived from sommier "beast of burden". French inherited sommier from Vulgar (street) Latin *saumarius, itself a corruption of sagmarius "packhorse", based on Greek sagma "packsaddle". Sumpter "packhorse driver" is a variant of the same word. Fort Sumter, without the P, where the US Civil War began April 12, 1861, was named for General Thomas Sumter, whose name shares the same origin. (Today we toast Miriam Brown for suggesting this most delicious sip of English vocabulary.)
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Postby Perry » Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:10 am

No that I know the word history, if a sommelier ever steers me wrong, I can always say, "The sommelier is aptly titled, because he is a horse's behind". This message was precensored, but you'uns know what I meant.

[Sigh] Problem is, most of them know their onions better than I do, so I will probably never get the chance to use this witty put-down. :?
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Postby skinem » Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:24 pm

[quote="Perry"]No that I know the word history, if a sommelier ever steers me wrong, I can always say, "The sommelier is aptly titled, because he is a horse's behind". This message was precensored, but you'uns know what I meant.quote]

Just snort in a French accent...
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