• millefleur
  • audio pronunciation
  • \meel-FLER\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: having an allover pattern of small flowers and plants
  • EXAMPLES

The museum's collection includes several medieval tapestries with millefleur designs.

"While millefleurs tapestries rarely fail to be decorative, the later ones of the period 1500 to 1520 are rather flimsy and lack the boldness of design of the 1460s." — From an article by Jamie Mulherron in Apollo Magazine, March 1, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Millefleur" (which can also be spelled "millefleurs," as in our second example sentence) came directly from French into English in the 18th century as a word for a perfume distilled from several different kinds of flowers. The literal meaning of "mille fleur" is "a thousand flowers," so it is easy to see how "millefleur" came to be applied to patterns or backgrounds of many tiny flowers or plants. A similarly colorful extension of "a thousand flowers" can be seen in the word "millefiori." That term, which refers to ornamental glass characterized by multicolored flower-like designs, comes from "mille fiori," the Italian phrase meaning "a thousand flowers."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "sui generis," our Word of the Day from May 13? The answer is …

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