• debouch •
dee-bush • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To issue forth, to come out of a narrowly confining space into a larger one or through a bottleneck.
Notes: The word for the place where something debouches is used so seldom, it still carries its French diacritics and accentuation: débouché pronounced [de-bu-shay]. The alternative is debouchment, which you may pronounce in either the French or English manner. This noun also serves as a more elegant if more snooty word for "mouth of a river".
In Play: One of the stranger expressions we use and seem to understand is "the river empties into the sea". Actually, very few rivers are ever seen empty; rivers debouch into seas and oceans: "The Mississippi River debouches into the Gulf of Mexico." Armies may debouch through enemy lines if they break through a small hole and disperse on the other side: "Our troops exultantly debouched the enemy line only to advance on a cliff with a 100-foot drop!"
Word History: Today's Good Word obviously is a loaner from French déboucher, a verb made up of dé "(out) of" + bouche "mouth". Bouche is from Latin bucca "cheek, mouth", itself borrowed for English buccal "pertaining to the cheek". English buckle comes from Old French boucle, originally the Latin diminutive of bucca, buccula "little cheek, cheek strap (of a helmet)". (Let us debouch a deluge of gratitude on Suzanne Williams, Florida photographer, for suggesting this delightful and useful word.)
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