• discotheque •
Pronunciation: dis-kê-tek • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A night club specializing in contemporary popular dancing of the 70s and 80s (or later).
Notes: Today's Good Word was snitched from French so recently that many dictionaries still list its French spelling, discothèque . You may place the grave over the E or not, as you please. In point of fact, however, English has proceeded very rapidly away from the French word by clipping it simply to disco, making the grave accent moot. The clipping disco also refers to a type of music popular in the 70s and early 80s, inside and outside the discotheques.
In Play: Discos were known for their lavish lighting as much as their disco music: "Leah Tarde spent so much time in discotheques and so little in libraries back in the 70s that she graduated a year behind her class." Discotheques in the US have become a rarity since disco music passed away in the early 80s, but they are still around in Europe playing more recent popular music: "Carmen Ghia and Minnie Miles travel to Europe frequently to keep up with the disco scene there."
Word History: Today's word is the undisguised French word discothèque "record library, disco nightclub", which came from Italian discoteca "record library". The Italian word is a patchwork of disco "disk, record" from Latin discus "quoit" + Greek theka "(storage) case". This word was created by analogy with Italian biblioteca "library" from Latin bibliotheca. The original Latin word discus was borrowed from Greek diskos, the noun from dikein "to throw". The root that went into the making of dikein seems to have originally meant "to show", for it turned up in English as teach and token. (Let us add here a token of our appreciation to Chris O'Neill for suggesting today's Good Word.)