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DEBONAIR

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DEBONAIR

Postby Slava » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:49 am

Today's Good Word (7/12/13):

Dr. Goodword wrote:

• debonair •


Pronunciation: deb-ê-nerHear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Suave, sophisticated, urbane. 2. Affable, pleasant, genial.

Notes: Today's Good Word comes with an adverb, debonairly, and a noun, debonairness. A truly sophisticated adjective needs no more. If you need words to poke fun at phony debonairness, debonarious and your debonairship have been used before and should equip you well for that situation.

In Play: Today's word should be reserved for the truly sophisticated only: "Perry Yare struck everyone as the most debonair fellow, perfectly dressed and appointed, and extremely gracious to all he encountered at the soirée that evening." That is, until he put a lampshade on his head and began frolicking about the living room. Seriously, though: "Alec Sander very debonairly kissed the hand of the countess, while bowing at the same time."

Word History: Today's word comes from an Old French phrase, de bon aire "of good lineage" comprising de "of" + bon "good" + aire "nest, family". Aire was borrowed by English as an earlier form airie (US) or eyrie "eagle's nest, a high vantage point" (UK). (The misspelling eyrie in the 1660s is due to the false assumption that the word came from Middle English ey "egg".) This word seems to have been derived from post-Classical Latin aerium "room at the top of a tower", which is based on the Latin word for air, aer. French inherited bon, of course, from Latin bonus "good", a word English borrowed on one of its borrowing rampages, and currently uses in a different sense. We borrowed bon, too, for good measure, to use in such expressions as bon voyage, bon vivant, and bon appétit. (Our gratitude today is owed Eric Berntson, a very debonair fellow himself, I'm sure, for his suggestion of this excellent Good Word.)
Last edited by Slava on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DEBONAIRE

Postby call_copse » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:59 am

I might have comment about the derivation but firstly let's clear this up: surely there is no E at the end of debonair even in US English?
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Re: DEBONAIRE

Postby Slava » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:08 pm

call_copse wrote:I might have comment about the derivation but firstly let's clear this up: surely there is no E at the end of debonair even in US English?
Sorry 'bout that. Fixed it. :oops:
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Re: DEBONAIR

Postby call_copse » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:19 am

Actually a quick search does reveal the -e spelling as an alternative version, I've not come across it though.

I'm was going to say I'm not that convinced about the nest thing but it does seem there was a usage of debonair for hawk grading and so I guess it is feasible - not totally convinced still.
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Re: DEBONAIR

Postby MTC » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:24 am

Insouciant and debonaire
He glides without the slightest care
Across the floor with style and flair.
Top hat and tails, a boutonnière,
Who could this be? Of course, "Astaire!"

From the Apocrypha of MTC
Last edited by MTC on Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DEBONAIR

Postby gailr » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:39 pm

Very nice, MTC.
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