bi·​jou | \ ˈbē-ˌzhü How to pronounce bijou (audio) \
plural bijous or bijoux\ ˈbē-​ˌzhü(z) How to pronounce bijou (audio) \

Definition of bijou

1 : a small dainty usually ornamental piece of delicate workmanship : jewel
2 : something delicate, elegant, or highly prized

Other Words from bijou

bijou adjective

Did you know?

Bijou (which can be pluralized as either bijoux or bijous) has adorned English since the late 17th century. We borrowed it from French, but the word ultimately traces to Breton, a Celtic language closely related to Cornish and Welsh and spoken by inhabitants of the Brittany region of northwest France. Our modern English word derives from Breton bizou, which means "ring." That history makes bijou a rare gem in English because, although the Breton people occupied part of England for many years before they were pushed into France by the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th and 6th centuries, very few Breton-derived words remain in our language. (Another Breton descendant is menhir, a term for a kind of monolith.)

Examples of bijou in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In addition to the Christie’s auction, Hubert de Givenchy’s style has inspired a tribute across town, at the Galerie Kugel, a bijou of an antiques gallery on the Left Bank. Tina Isaac-goizé, Vogue, 13 June 2022 The bijou is at home now, on the couch or bed, streaming in ultrahigh definition. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 16 Dec. 2021 Treat yourself with a bijou boutique cruise and set sail in some of the world’s most stunning locations. Nicole Trilivas, Forbes, 19 Oct. 2021 For a bijou pied-à-terre, opt instead for one of the 218 apartment residences in the mixed use complex, starting at just over $400,000. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 22 Sep. 2021 Heading to meet the French president in Paris on June 21, Hailey Bieber carried a top-handle tote that was more structured and traditional than her bijou By Far favorites. Naomi Pik, Vogue, 9 July 2021 Take Bonifacio, southern Corsica’s bijou citadel splayed on limestone cliffs. Travis Levius, Condé Nast Traveler, 11 Mar. 2020 The system that gave us this bijou of Streamline Moderne design also brought us here, to the brink of planetary collapse. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, 27 Jan. 2020 Nearby is Le Restaurant , a bijou Francophile enclave, with charming owners and a superb wine list. Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, 24 Dec. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bijou.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bijou

1668, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bijou

French, from Breton bizou ring, from biz finger

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bijou.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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