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Pronunciation RealAudio

douceur (doo-SUHR) noun

A tip or bribe.

[From French douceur (sweetness), from Late Latin dulcor (sweetness), from Latin dulcis (sweet).]

What does dulcimer (a musical instrument), billet-doux (love letter), dolce (music direction) have in common with today's word? All derive from the same Latin root and involve the idea of sweetness.

"But even the most jaundiced observers have been astonished by the discovery of a slush fund of some pounds 40 million from which the douceur to (Charles) Haughey was ladled." Kevin Myers, Ireland's Shame: The Prime Minister and the Tycoon, The Sunday Telegraph (London), Jul 13, 1997.

"It became impossible for civilized people, particularly if they were Jewish, to participate in political culture. Instead, they interested themselves in the marvelously available circumstances of douceur: making money, performing or sponsoring art, and - like the Herzls or the Wittgensteins - encouraging their children to become geniuses." Nicholas Fraser, Deja vu, Harper's Magazine (New York), Dec 1995.

This week's theme: miscellaneous words.


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