Apr 30, 2008

Seize the day with éclat . . .

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song,
read a good poem, see a fine picture,
and, if it were possible,
to speak a few reasonable words.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


éclat \ah-KLAH\ noun
1 : ostentatious display : publicity *2 : dazzling effect : brilliance 3 a : brilliant or conspicuous success b : praise, applause

Example sentence: The young actor played the role with such éclat that he was nominated for several awards.

Did you know? “Éclat” burst onto the scene in English in the 17th century. The word derives from French, where it can mean “splinter” (the French idiom “voler en éclats” means “to fly into pieces”) as well as “burst” (“un éclat du rire” means “a burst of laughter”), among other things. The “burst” sense is reflected in the earliest English sense of the word, meaning “ostentatious display or publicity.” This sense found its own idiomatic usage in the phrase “to make an éclat,” which at one time meant “to create a sensation.” By the 1740s, “éclat” took on the additional meaning of “applause or acclamation,” as in “The performer was received with great éclat.”

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

© 2007 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated


  1. I love to learn new words so this was fun to read! I will go about the rest if the day with eclat!

    Hugs, Pat

  2. KJ you make my day always! I love visiting and I always leave with peace and loving feeling! You teach me on a daily basis, thank you sweet friend!

  3. Such good words to live by and a wonderful start to one's day by learning a new word....

    My friend have the best Thursday ever...Mary

  4. Hello KJ - so nice to meet you! I am enjoying reading your blog and I LOVE learning new words and how to use them - Thanks!
    Oh, and I clicked on the April Cornell site - thanks! I love it! Now she's added to my "favorites" as are you! Happy May Day.

  5. You are a veritable world of information about such fascinating things... great word!!



  6. Hear, hear to the Germans (Goethe) and the French (for eclat)!!

  7. You would think that with all the FRENCH things we are around down here I would know more French..but I must tell you...."Cajun French" is a bit different than French, French.
    I know some of those Cajun words...but they are goofy ones....not bad ones....just goofy.Not something you use everyday here in this city. HA!

    We did live in a town for many years further south and west that was heavily...ummm..Cajun and in a nearby little town (they call them "villages" if. HA!) they had all of their street signs and stops signs and other municipal signs and other such things all in FRENCH. Intersting. It was sort of weird at first. We got used to it though..then we moved BACK to the big city. :~)
    It's usually the smaller towns and outlying areas where the people speak Cajun French on a regular basis although I still run into people (usually older) here that do.
    You can always tell by their "accents"...they are very deep Cajun and they usually don't loose that.
    FYI. HA!
    Au Revoir for now my friend.


Thanks for stopping by!
♫ Karen