bag·​a·​telle ˌba-gə-ˈtel How to pronounce bagatelle (audio)
: any of various games involving the rolling of balls into scoring areas
: a short literary or musical piece in light style

Examples of bagatelle in a Sentence

the question of who will pick up the coffee is a mere bagatelle in the overall planning of the conference
Recent Examples on the Web Pinball is back Pinball got its start in 18th-century France with the billiardslike tabletop game bagatelle, which used a springlike launcher. San Antonio Express-News, 5 Mar. 2020 Overall this novel is an entertaining bagatelle, told by a proficient storyteller in an engaging way. David Shribman,, 22 Aug. 2019 Lewis kept the scope of emotion in the first bagatelle more along the lines of concerned. Peter Dobrin,, 11 May 2018 As far as performance marathons go, the 10 hours of John Zorn’s bagatelles on Saturday at National Sawdust in Brooklyn may not have been the most sprawling. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 24 Oct. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bagatelle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Italian bagattella

First Known Use

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bagatelle was in 1633

Dictionary Entries Near bagatelle

Cite this Entry

“Bagatelle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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