Definition of dégringolade
: a rapid decline or deterioration (as in strength, position, or condition) : downfall
dégringolade was our Word of the Day on 02/13/2008. Hear the podcast!
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
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.
Origin and Etymology of dégringolade
French, from dégringoler to tumble down, from Medieval French desgringueler, from des- de- + gringueler to tumble, from Middle Dutch crinkelen to make curl, from crinc, cring ring, circle
First Known Use: 1873
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