bou·​le·​ver·​se·​ment | \ bül-ˌver-sə-ˈmäⁿ How to pronounce bouleversement (audio) \

Definition of bouleversement

1 : reversal
2 : a violent disturbance : disorder

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Bouleversement Has French Roots

English picked up bouleversement from French in the latter part of the 18th century (it ultimately traces to Middle French boule, meaning "ball," and verser, meaning "to overturn"), and while not very common, it has steadily remained in use since that time. F. Scott Fitzgerald, for one, used it in his 1920 novel This Side of Paradise: "For the second time in his life Amory had had a complete bouleversement and was hurrying into line with his generation." Both Fitzgerald's use and our first example sentence suggest the idea of turning something around, but as shown in our second example, some usage of bouleversement dispenses with this notion and instead implies a general kind of upheaval or dramatic change, as in a revolution.

Examples of bouleversement in a Sentence

the bouleversement in the print media since the rise of the Internet

First Known Use of bouleversement

1782, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bouleversement


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Time Traveler for bouleversement

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The first known use of bouleversement was in 1782

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Cite this Entry

“Bouleversement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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