• pastiche •
pæs-tish • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A work of art in an obvious mixture of styles or materials of other works, a collage. 2. A work of art composed of a medley of pieces from various sources, a medley.
Notes: A pastiche may be a collage if it is a picture and a medley if it is piece of music. Someone who imitates the styles of others is a pasticheur. You may use the noun itself as a verb, to pastiche, if you wish, as 'His music pastiches that of George Shearing, Bill Evans, and Dave Grusin'.
In Play: Today's Good Word may refer to a mixture of musical style: "The dances were all a pastiche of Fijian, Samoan, and Tongan motions, the dancers dressed in a pastiche of the same cultures." It may also be used metaphorically in reference to any organized arrangement of pieces that don't fit: "The vehicle Rusty Carr drove was a pastiche of parts from all the cars up on cinder blocks in his back yard."
Word History: Here is another word English borrowed from French, which simply modified Italian pasticcio "medley, pastry cake". We may presume it was inherited from Vulgar Latin pasticium "composed of paste", a derivative of Late Latin pasta "paste, pastry, cake". Latin borrowed this word from ancient Greek pasta "barley-porridge", the neuter plural of pastos "sprinkled, salted" from passein "to sprinkle". In French the Latin word lost the S to become pâte and from the Old French pasticier "to make pastry", patisserie. (Let's now pause to thank Jackie Strauss for the pastiche of Good Words like today's she has submitted over the past years.)