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Word of the Day : July 14, 2013

frisson

play
noun free-SAWN

Definition

: a brief moment of emotional excitement : shudder, thrill

Examples

The emotionally-charged scene adds a frisson of tension to the play's final act.

"By the end of the book the party is over, but it is hard to feel any frisson of regret when the party was so little fun when it was going on." - From an article by Douglas Murray in The Spectator, May 11, 2013



Did You Know?

"I feel a shiver that's not from the cold as the band and the crowd go charging through the final notes…. That frisson, that exultant moment...." That's how writer Robert W. Stock characterized the culmination of a big piece at a concert in 1982. His use of the word "shiver" is apt given that "frisson" comes from the French word for "shiver." "Frisson" traces to Old French "friçon," which in turn derives from "frictio," Latin for "friction." What does friction-normally a heat generator-have to do with thrills and chills? Nothing, actually. The association came about because "frictio" (which derives from Latin "fricare," meaning "to rub") was once mistakenly taken to be a derivative of "frigēre," which means "to be cold."

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