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[French ber-sœz] /French bɛrˈsœz/
noun, plural berceuses
[French ber-sœz] /French bɛrˈsœz/ (Show IPA).
a cradlesong; lullaby.
a composition for instrument or voice, having a soothing, reflective character.
Origin of berceuse
1875-80; < French, equivalent to berc(er) to rock + -euse -euse Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for berceuse
Historical Examples
  • Every violinist plays, or ought to play, his delicious "berceuse."

    Masters of French Music Arthur Hervey
  • If you would like some more, I will play you the berceuse now.

  • The plaintive melody of the berceuse rang in her ears on duty and off, till at last she could stand it no longer.

    Leerie Ruth Sawyer
  • When d'Albert plays Chopin's berceuse, beautifully, it is a lullaby for healthy male children growing too big for the cradle.

    Plays, Acting and Music Arthur Symons
British Dictionary definitions for berceuse


/French bɛrsøz/
a cradlesong or lullaby
an instrumental piece suggestive of this, in six-eight time
Word Origin
C19: from French: lullaby, from bercer to rock
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
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Word Origin and History for berceuse

"cradle song," 1876, from French berceuse "cradle-song, woman who rocks an infant," from bercer "to rock" (Old French bercier "to rock" a child in a cradle, 12c.) + fem. agent suffix -euse.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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