• recherche •
rê-sher-shay • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Uncommon, rare, arcane, obscure. 2. Overrefined, pretentious.
Notes: This word was borrowed from French so recently it just now has time to take off its hat. You may still use the acute on the final E: recherché. Because it has retained its 'frenchiness', it hasn't had time to produce a family.
In Play: Concessation is a good example of a recherché word in the first sense. Conversations are likely to be researché on college campuses: "The conversations at Sarah Bellam's parties touch on some pretty recherché topics."
Word History: Today's word is the French past participle of rechercher "to research", from Old French recercher; re- "over, again" + cerchier "to search". Cerchier devolved from Latin circare "to go around, to circle", based on circus "ring, circle", the equivalent of Greek kirkos "circle". Greek and Latin obtained their words from Proto-Indo-European (s)ker- "to turn, bend", which also gave English its shrink and, without the Fickle S, ring (from Old English hring). Of course, English circus comes from the identical word in Latin, where it meant simply "circle". Very appropriate that circuses of the past contained rings where different acts were performed. (We should now thank George Kovac, who lent us today's Good Word from his recherché vocabulary.)
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