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bric-a-brac

or bric-à-brac

[brik-uh-brak]
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noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
  1. miscellaneous small articles collected for their antiquarian, sentimental, decorative, or other interest.
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Origin of bric-a-brac

1830–40; < French, Middle French: literally, at random, without rhyme or reason; gradational compound from elements of obscure origin

Synonyms

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trinkets, gimcracks, knickknacks, baubles, gewgaws.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

virtu

Examples from the Web for bric-a-brac

Historical Examples

  • The "home" does not consist in the furniture, the rooms, the bric-a-brac, or the curtains.

    The Mother and Her Child

    William S. Sadler

  • Always remember when you are in Society that bric-a-brac is expensive.

  • Spending his money on bric-a-brac like that—and that's not all!

    Skippy Bedelle

    Owen Johnson

  • These houses are as quaint in their antique interiors as a bric-a-brac cabinet.

    Duffels

    Edward Eggleston

  • Theyve sold most of the pictures, china, bric-a-brac and other valuables.


British Dictionary definitions for bric-a-brac

bric-a-brac

noun
  1. miscellaneous small objects, esp furniture and curios, kept because they are ornamental or rare
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Word Origin

C19: from French; phrase based on bric piece
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 bric-a-brac

n.

1840, from obsolete French à bric et à brac (16c.) "at random, any old way," a nonsense phrase.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper