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Word of the week – girandole

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girandole   ; noun

1 : a radiating and showy composition (as a cluster of skyrockets fired together)

2 : an ornamental branched candlestick

3 : a pendant earring usually with three ornaments hanging from a central piece

Example Sentence:

“I sat in my usual nook, and looked at him with the light of the girandoles on the mantelpiece beaming full over him….” (Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre)

Did you know?

The earliest uses of “girandole” in English, in the 17th century, referred to a kind of firework or to something, such as a fountain, with a radiating pattern like that of a firework. Such a pattern is reflected in the word’s etymology: “girandole” can be traced back, by way of French and Italian, to the Latin word “gyrus,” meaning “gyre” or “a circular or spiral motion or form.” By the 18th century “girandole” was being used for a branched candlestick, perhaps due to its resemblance to the firework. The word’s third sense, referring to a kind of earring, did not appear in English until the 19th century.

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