balletomane was our Word of the Day on 06/07/2010. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
If you suspected that "balletomane" originated with the idea of a "mania" for ballet, you are correct. What you may not have guessed is that the language that inspired English speakers to borrow the word in the 1930s was Russian. Balletomane derives from the Russian noun "baletoman," which in turn combines the word for "ballet" ("balet") and the suffix -man, from "maniya" (meaning "mania"). The English words "mania" and "ballet" did not, however, come from Russian. ("Mania" comes from Latin and Greek, and "ballet" comes from French and Italian.) "Balletomane" is therefore somewhat unusual, both for its Russian origins and for the fact that it does not follow the more traditional "-phile" model for words meaning "someone who likes a specified thing."
Origin and Etymology of balletomane
Russian baletoman, from balet ballet + -o- + -man, from maniya mania
First Known Use: 1919
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