What are bibelots?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: bibelots.

When I studied French in high school, I loathed the subject. I think I might even have had a mild learning disability with languages when I was younger. (I hated Latin, too, which I was also forced to take). In grade 11, however, I had an excellent teacher. And, wouldn’t you know it, I suddenly started retaining some French. My accent also improved a little but it was my attitude that had the most dramatic turnaround. I enjoyed it!

When I went to university, I even took enough French that, ever so briefly, I started to think and dream in the language (I mean that literally, not figuratively). Now, of course, I’ve lost most of it and when my family was on holiday in Paris three years ago, I couldn’t bear to ask shopkeepers for directions.

Still, however, I usually recognize French words when I see them and here is one I came across in the weightless but easy-to-read novel A Rather Lovely Inheritance by C.A. Belmond:

This may sound faintly glamorous, but in reality it simply requires me to research, paint and generally help create fake versions of the decor, doodads and bibelots of dead rich people.

Bibelots are small decorative ornaments or trinkets. The word dates back to 1870 and comes from the French root bibel-  meaning bauble.

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