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A.Word.A.Day--amuse-bouche

Pronunciation RealAudio

This week's theme: French terms for food.

amuse-bouche (uh-MYUZ-boosh) noun

Similar to but not to be confused with hors d'oeuvre. This is a tidbit, often tiny, served as a free extra to keep you happy while you are waiting for your first course to come. It gives you an idea of the chef's approach to cooking and the restaurant's attention to your appetite.

[From French, literally, "mouth amuser", from amuser (to amuse) + bouche (mouth). Its more informal twin, amuse-gueule, is the same thing, but may be considered vulgar in some circles. Gueule is the French term for an animal's mouth, bouche for a human's.]

-Guest wordsmith Rudy Chelminski (rudychelminskiATaol.com)

"The service and the food were both excellent, kicking off with an amuse-bouche of truffled field-mushroom soup." Ginny Dougary; The Gingerman at Drakes; The Times (London, UK); Oct 22, 2005.

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