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milieu

play
noun mi·lieu \mēl-ˈyə(r), -ˈyü, -ˈyœ; ˈmēl-ˌyü\

Simple Definition of milieu

  • : the physical or social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of milieu

plural milieus or milieux play \-ˈyə(r)(z), -ˈyüz, -ˈyœ(z); -ˌyü(z)\

  1. :  the physical or social setting in which something occurs or develops :  environment

Examples of milieu in a sentence

  1. Theirs was a bohemian milieu in which people often played romantic musical chairs. —Edmund White, New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2009

  2. People in France admire the United States, and much of what passes for anti-Americanism is limited to the intellectual milieu of Paris. —Jonathan Alter et al., Newsweek, 29 May 2000

  3. She might stay home, might marry and live as a housewife. And if her milieu does not sanction such a solution, there are, she knows, milieux which do. —David Mamet, Jafsie and John Henry: Essays, 1999

  4. Certainly there are very few American milieus today in which having read the latest work of Joyce Carol Oates or Richard Ford is more valuable, as social currency, than having caught the latest John Travolta movie or knowing how to navigate the Web. —Jonathan Franzen, Harper's, April 1996

  5. They're caught in their own hazy milieu—working, smoking, talking, drinking. —Gerri Hirshey, Rolling Stone, 12 Nov. 1992

  6. <young, innovative artists thrive in the freewheeling milieu that a big city offers>



Did You Know?

The etymology of milieu comes down to "mi" and "lieu." English speakers learned the word (and borrowed both its spelling and meaning) from French. The modern French term comes from two much older French forms, mi, meaning "middle," and lieu, meaning "place." Like so many terms in the Romance languages, those Old French forms can ultimately be traced to Latin; "mi" is an offspring of the Latin medius(meaning "middle") and "lieu" is a derivative of "locus" (meaning "place"). English speakers have used "milieu" for the environment or setting of something since at least the mid-1800s, but other "lieu" descendants are much older. We've used both "lieu" itself (meaning "place" or "stead," as in "in lieu of") and "lieutenant" since the 14th century.

Origin of milieu

French, from Old French, midst, from mi middle (from Latin medius) + lieu place, from Latin locus — more at mid, stall


First Known Use: 1854

Synonym Discussion of milieu

background, setting, environment, milieu, mise-en-scène mean the place, time, and circumstances in which something occurs. background often refers to the circumstances or events that precede a phenomenon or development <the shocking decision was part of the background of the riots>. setting suggests looking at real-life situations in literary or dramatic terms <a militant reformer who was born into an unlikely social setting>. environment applies to all the external factors that have a formative influence on one's physical, mental, or moral development <the kind of environment that produces juvenile delinquents>. milieu applies especially to the physical and social surroundings of a person or group of persons <an intellectual milieu conducive to artistic experimentation>. mise-en-scène strongly suggests the use of properties to achieve a particular atmosphere or theatrical effect <a gothic thriller with a carefully crafted mise-en-scène>.

Medical Dictionary

milieu

play play
noun mi·lieu \mēl-ˈyə(r), -ˈyü; ˈmēl-ˌyü, mē-lyœ̅\

Medical Definition of milieu

plural milieus or milieux \-ˈyə(r)(z), -ˈyüz; -ˌyü(z), -lyœ̅(z)\play





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