• bungalow •
bung-gê-lo • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A small, cozy, one-story cottage. 2. A small hotel or motel room or suite set aside from others.
Notes: This word was once upon a time written without the final W and you may run into it spelled in books printed before the middle of the 19th century. The fact that bungalow has a final W but buffalo does not is just one of those arbitrary twists of English spelling.
In Play: To my ear, bungalow connotes coziness in a way that cottage does not: "Frieda Gogh told Jessie that she didn't need a castle, just a bungalow filled with a family that enjoyed sharing the housework (or bungalow work)." Like cottage, though, it often turns up in jokes of understatement (the opposite of 'hyperbole') like this: "When Izzy Rich sold his business, he built a million dollar 'bungalow' (as he calls it) at the shore."
Word History: Today's Good Word was drawn from the Hindi word bangle, which means "bungalow" but also, as an adjective, "Bengalese, Bengali, belonging to someone Bengalese". Bungalows were originally small cottages in India associated with Bengali people and the word for them is a variant of the initial element in the name of the Bengalese nation, Bangladesh. (Best wishes to Robert Fitzgerald and all who live in his cozy bungalow whatever its size for suggesting this Good Word with its very fetching history.)
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