[French ber-sœz]

noun, plural ber·ceuses [French ber-sœz] /French bɛrˈsœz/. Music.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for berceuse

music, song, berceuse, croon

Examples from the Web for berceuse

Historical Examples of berceuse

  • Every violinist plays, or ought to play, his delicious "Berceuse."

  • 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.


    Ruth Sawyer

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

British Dictionary definitions for berceuse



a cradlesong or lullaby
an instrumental piece suggestive of this, in six-eight time

Word Origin for berceuse

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

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