dégringolade

noun
dé·​grin·​go·​lade | \ ˌdā-ˌgraⁿ(ŋ)-gə-ˈläd How to pronounce dégringolade (audio) \

Definition of dégringolade

: a rapid decline or deterioration (as in strength, position, or condition) : downfall

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Did You Know?

If dégringolade looks French to you, you have a good eye. We lifted this noun directly from French, and even in English it is usually styled with an acute accent over the first "e," as in French. The French noun in turn comes from the verb dégringoler ("to tumble down"), which itself derives from the Middle French desgringueler (from des-, meaning "down," and gringueler, meaning "to tumble"). Although dégringolade retains the sense of a sudden tumble in English, it tends to be applied to more metaphorical situations - a rapid fall from a higher position in society, for example. These days, dégringolade is fairly rare in American English. We rely far more heavily on its familiar synonym downfall.

Examples of dégringolade in a Sentence

the sad dégringolade of the holiday from a solemn day of remembrance to just another excuse to go shopping a sad dégringolade for a theater company that once premiered important American plays

First Known Use of dégringolade

1873, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dégringolade

French, from dégringoler to tumble down, from Middle French desgringueler, from des- de- + gringueler to tumble, from Middle Dutch crinkelen to make curl, from crinc, cring ring, circle

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The first known use of dégringolade was in 1873

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Cite this Entry

“Dégringolade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/d%C3%A9gringolade. Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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