- something of little value or importance; a trifle.
- a game played on a board having holes at one end into which balls are to be struck with a cue.
- 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
I don't know that there is much soaring upwards in bagatelle.
And, after all, when they got to Berkeley Square no bagatelle was played at all.
But the bagatelle would almost have been better than what occurred.
He was a member of the Baldwin, the Cavendish, and the Bagatelle card clubs.The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle
He could not be cold-blooded enough to drive even such a bagatelle from his head.Debts of Honor
- something of little value or significance; trifle
- a board game in which balls are struck into holes, with pins as obstacles; pinball
- another name for bar billiards
- a short light piece of music, esp for piano
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
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