Word of the Day

jalousie

audio pronunciation
May 05, 2011
noun
\JAL-uh-see\
Definition
1
: a blind with adjustable horizontal slats for admitting light and air while excluding direct sun and rain
2
: a window made of adjustable glass louvers that control ventilation
Examples
The rooms of the little bungalow were protected from the brutal tropical heat by wooden jalousies.

"The striated world visible through the slanted jalousies above the queen-size beds is bright and green." -- Donovan Hohn's 2011 book Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
Etymologists are clear on the source of the word "jalousie" -- it's French for "jealousy" -- but the relationship between the emotion and the window treatments originally referred to as jalousies is not something they've speculated much about. Is it that those peering out through the original jalousie blinds were jealous of the people outside? Or is it more likely that the jealousy festered in the hearts of those outside, who could see the blinds but not the faces and lives of the people they hid? This excerpt from the October 23, 1766 entry in the Duchess of Northumberland's diary perhaps provides a clue: "Rows of Seats with Jalousies in Front that [the women] may not be seen."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "disseise," our Word of the Day from April 20, 2011? The answer is ...
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears