bric-a-brac english


In VOCABULARY on November 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

Since bric-a-brac is what this blog is about, I thought I’d start with this lovely word.

Pronunciation: brik-uh-brak

It’s also spelt bricabrac and bric-à-brac (which betrays its French origin). It means, various objects, usually of no great value, like the ones sold in the shop in the photo. They could be interesting or attractive little things, and people might have collections of them.

Here’s how Oscar Wilde used the word:
“The mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-à-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.”

Oh, and it’s uncountable, so don’t use it in the plural (a shop that sells antiques and bric-a-brac). And, oh, don’t forget the final ‘c’, because then it would seem like a collection of lingerie.

If you want to talk about various little things of different types, you can also call them odds and ends, bits and pieces, this and that.


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