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BIJOU

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BIJOU

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:13 pm

• bijou •


Pronunciation: bee-zhu • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A dainty exquisite trinket. 2. A jewel in the metaphoric sense (a jewel of a house), a small but especially elegant or glamorous work of art in the generic sense, that is, including music, architecture, jewelry, etc.

Notes: Today's Good Word cannot seem to shake its French plural, bijoux, which it brought with it from the middle of the 17th century. The word for bijoux taken collectively is bijouterie. I suppose this word could double as the name of a shop trading in bijoux.

In Play: In times gone by almost every town in American had a Bijou theater; not all were small. Now only large cities have one. Remember today's word carries the senses of small and exquisite: "Bill Jerone Holmes himself resides in a bijou house surrounded by lush gardens on Mulberry Street." Don't forget the collective noun: "Maude Lynn Dresser came to the ball in the most outlandish bijouterie you have ever seen."

Word History: English obviously borrowed today's Good Word from French bijou; in fact, it gobbled it whole, including, as mentioned above, the plural bijoux. There is no evidence of this word among the other Indo-European languages, including Latin, which became French over the centuries. So we think French took the word from Breton, a Celtic language spoken in northern France. Breton has word, bizou "ring with a gem". Cornish, a related Celtic language has a word bisou "finger-ring" from bis "finger" (Breton biz, Welsh bys). I'm afraid the trail goes cold at this point. (Now let's all thank Dee Brown for suggesting such a bijou word as a Good Word today.)
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Re: BIJOU

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:47 pm

The only place I had heard or seen the word before this post was on the theaters! If you had asked me I might have said it was French for theater.
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Re: BIJOU

Postby goodwinnihon » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:07 am

no known analogues in other i-e languages?

so, perhaps that's from Japanese(?): "bijo" ("a beautiful women")
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Re: BIJOU

Postby MTC » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:16 am

There is a related form:

bi·jou·te·rie (b-zht-r)
n.
1. A collection of trinkets or jewelry.
2. Decoration.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[French, from bijou, piece of jewelry; see bijou.]

To illustrate, some of you may remember Richard Burton's gift of the 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond to Elizabeth Taylor.

Liz to Richard:

To the bijouterie
And no tomfoolery!

Richard to Liz:

The Taylor-Burton
Has left me hurtin'.

from The Apocrypha of MTC
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Re: BIJOU

Postby damoge » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:45 pm

there is a small shop in boston-- "it had to bijou"
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Re: BIJOU

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:01 pm

Perry Lassiter wrote:The only place I had heard or seen the word before this post was on the theaters! If you had asked me I might have said it was French for theater.


I knew it was not the French word for theatre, but it certainly
was on every main street theater in every small town
around here.
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Re: BIJOU

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:02 pm

goodwinnihon wrote:no known analogues in other i-e languages?

so, perhaps that's from Japanese(?): "bijo" ("a beautiful women")



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Re: BIJOU

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:03 pm

damoge wrote:there is a small shop in boston-- "it had to bijou"


Hi there!
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Re: BIJOU

Postby damoge » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:09 pm

hey Luke! good to see you! All is well here. just too much sun today.
still working on the house, but I guess that is forever. I feel rather like sisyphus
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Re: BIJOU

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:57 pm

Bijou is a popular name for small town movie theaters. Tivoli and Rialto are also popular names. They give one a sense of the exotic. My hometown theater is the Rialto. Many small town movie theaters were closed in the wake of television. In my home town, the City Government bought the Rialto and it is still in business.
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Re: BIJOU

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:50 am

When I was growing up in the north part of this
city we had neighborhood theaters all in walking
distance, The Avenue, Beacon (with lighthouse tower),
Ames, MinneLusa, Military. Downtown there were
many, Brandeis, Cooper, State, Town,Chief, Admiral,
and so on. All are gone now, in favor of the 14-20+
screens in huge shopping malls, and all with so
few cars in front one wonders how they make a living.
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Re: BIJOU

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:48 pm

Exotic! My childhood theaters were the Paramount, Capital, Joy, and Delta. Across the river there were the Rialto and the Strand with interchangeable rats.
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Re: BIJOU

Postby gailr » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:01 pm

We had the "Grand".

Of course, that was part of the city name as well. :wink:
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Re: BIJOU

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:59 pm

In Wayne, NE, the theater dates from a different
era, and is called the Gay.
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Re: BIJOU

Postby bamaboy56 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:57 pm

Being born and reared in Houston, Texas, I haunted 30+ screen mall multi-plexes, although I'm old enough now that I remember as a really young boy going with my family to a three-screen drive-in theatre. Every Monday night was called "Buck Night", where you could get in for $1 a carload. We would be stuffed in the car like sardines! Now in the small town I live in, we have the only movie theatre in the county. It was originally called "The Martin" but has been sold and is now called "The Clark". Don't know for sure but I'm guessing it reflects the name of the owner. It has three screens and, like I said, is the only theatre in the county.
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