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bagatelle

[bag-uh-tel]
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noun
  1. something of little value or importance; a trifle.
  2. a game played on a board having holes at one end into which balls are to be struck with a cue.
  3. pinball.
  4. a short and light musical composition, typically for the piano.

Origin of bagatelle

1630–40; < French < Upper Italian bagat(t)ella, equivalent to bagatt(a) small possession (perhaps bag(a) berry (< Latin bāca; cf. bay4) + -att(a) diminutive suffix) + -ella < Latin -illa diminutive suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bagatelle

Historical Examples

  • I don't know that there is much soaring upwards in bagatelle.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

  • And, after all, when they got to Berkeley Square no bagatelle was played at all.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

  • But the bagatelle would almost have been better than what occurred.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

  • He was a member of the Baldwin, the Cavendish, and the Bagatelle card clubs.

  • He could not be cold-blooded enough to drive even such a bagatelle from his head.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai


British Dictionary definitions for bagatelle

bagatelle

noun
  1. something of little value or significance; trifle
  2. a board game in which balls are struck into holes, with pins as obstacles; pinball
  3. another name for bar billiards
  4. a short light piece of music, esp for piano

Word Origin

C17: from French, from Italian bagattella, from (dialect) bagatta a little possession, from baga a possession, probably from Latin bāca berry
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bagatelle

n.

1630s, "a trifle," from French bagatelle "knick-knack, bauble, trinket" (16c.), from Italian bagatella "a trifle," diminutive of Latin baca "berry." As "a piece of light music," it is attested from 1827.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper