• montage •
mahn-tazh • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. An artistic composition created from bits and pieces of other objects, such as a picture made up of pieces from other pictures. 2. (Motion pictures) The selecting and arranging of scenes and transitions in putting together a motion picture.
Notes: No doubt because it mostly haunts the world of arts, today's Good Word has not wandered far from its original French pronunciation. The sequence GE in French is pronounced [zh]. However, the pronunciation often converts to English [j] in borrowed words like garage, and the suffix -age we see in mileage and footage. It can only be pronounced [zh] in today's word, though.
In Play: Today's Good Word probably is used most often to refer to a work of art: "The mural on the wall of the dormitory was a montage created from objects students left behind after graduation." The second sense of today's word is used figuratively to refer to a series of diverse objects or events: "Montague's life was a montage of colorful adventures encircling the globe."
Word History: The Proto-Indo-European word mont-/ment- seems to have referred to prominences, objects jutting out. It obviously went on to become the mount in mountain, and the verb meaning to get up on something high (mount a horse). In Latin it turns up as mentum "chin" and in Germanic languages it came to mean "mouth", as in German Mund, something located near the chin. Projections and prominences can be threatening, so Latin minax (minac-s) took on that meaning before English borrowed the Old French version of it, as menace. (The montage of information about today's Good Word was brought to prominence by a suggestion from Loren Baldwin.)
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