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gens du monde

[ zhahndy-mawnd ] [ ʒɑ̃ dü ˈmɔ̃d ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

plural noun

people of the world; leaders in society; fashionable people.

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More about gens du monde

Gens du monde “people of the world” is a borrowing from French comprising gens “people,” du “of the,” and monde “world.” Gens is a plural noun that comes from Latin gēns (stem gent-) “clan, nation, race,” which is also the source of gendarme, genteel, gentile, and gentle. The singular form of gens is gent, but only the plural gens is used in modern French; for perpetual plurals in modern English, compare binoculars, clothes, contents, jeans, outskirts, scissors, thanks, and trousers. French monde comes from Latin mundus, which originally meant “clean” before expanding to mean “elegant, decorated,” then “ornament, implement,” and finally “the heavens, world.” Gens du monde was first recorded in English at the turn of the 19th century.

how is gens du monde used?

Her unconstrained shabbiness in Rome consisted in living in a very picturesque palazzo with two maids brought with her from Russia, a male factotum, and a number of Italian assistants; … in the evening, receiving an amusing assembly of gens du monde and celebrities…

Ossip Schubin (1854–1934), Asbeïn, from the Life of a Virtuoso, translated by Élise L. Lathrop, 1890

These literary gens du monde have the tact to observe, but not the patience, perhaps not the time, to investigate. They make the maxim, but they never explain to you the train of reasoning which led to it. Hence they are more brilliant than true.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Pelham: or The Adventures of a Gentleman, 1828
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[ ahy-loor-uh-fahyl, ey-loor- ] [ aɪˈlʊər əˌfaɪl, eɪˈlʊər- ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a person who likes cats.

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More about ailurophile

Ailurophile “a person who likes cats” is a compound of two Ancient Greek-origin combining forms: ailuro- “cat” and -phile “lover of, enthusiast for.” Ailuro- comes from Ancient Greek aílouros “cat,” which is of uncertain origin, but a popular explanation is that it is based on aiólos “fickle, changeful” (compare aeolo-, as in aeolotropic) and ourá “tail” (compare uro-, as in uropod). The word aiólos also gives rise to the name Aeolus, the ruler of the winds in Greek mythology, and past Word of the Day aeolian “of or caused by the wind,” but it is not related to the combining form aero- “air.” Take care not to confuse uro- “tail” with uro- “urine,” which comes from Ancient Greek oûron. Despite the similar spelling, there does not appear to be any deeper connection between the two forms. Ailurophile was first recorded in English in the late 1920s.

how is ailurophile used?

There was a time when I managed to keep a lid on my love for all things feline …. Matters began to really get out of hand … when I married a fellow ailurophile.

Tom Cox, “That loving feline,” The Guardian, May 5, 2009

Does Alicia have a dog or cat or nothing? I decide on a cat called Chestnut. An old cat with one blind eye. Alicia is not a serious ailurophile, however; she neglects Chestnut, and Chestnut knows it.

Carol Shields, Unless, 2002
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[ purs ] [ pɜrs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


of a very deep shade of blue or purple.

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More about perse

Perse “of a very deep shade of blue or purple,” despite the similar spelling, is not related to per se “by itself” or purse “handbag.” Instead, perse comes from Latin perseus “kind of blue,” which does not come from Perseus, the Ancient Greek hero, but rather likely derives from Persicus “Persian.” The connection here is that fabrics containing the hue in question were imported from the Middle East. Perse is far from the only color named after an Asian country; compare turquoise, after Turkey, and indigo, after India. A fruity word with the same origin as perse is peach, which comes by way of French and Latin from Ancient Greek mêlon persikón “Persian apple.” Perse was first recorded in English in the mid-14th century.

how is perse used?

We crossed the circle to the other bank, / Near to a fount that boils, and pours itself / Along a gully that runs out of it. / The water was more sombre far than perse; / And we, in company with the dusky waves, / Made entrance downward by a path uncouth.

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1867

That circle of hell where all those who had sinfully loved were whirled incessantly in the perse, dark, stormy air, appeared in the eyes even of Dante as a place less of punishment than of glory; and, especially since the Middle Ages, all mankind looks upon that particular hell-pit with admiration rather than with loathing.

Vernon Lee, Euphorion: Being Studies of the Antique and the Mediæval in the Renaissance, 1884
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