de rigueur

adjective
de ri·​gueur | \ də-(ˌ)rē-ˈgər How to pronounce de rigueur (audio) \

Definition of de rigueur

: prescribed or required by fashion, etiquette, or custom : proper … tattoos, of course, being de rigueur among the poetry set. …— Will Ferguson

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De Rigueur: How to Pronounce It, Spell It, and Use It in a Sentence

If you want to use de rigueur in conversation pronouncing it correctly is de rigueur. (Click here to find out how.)

Spelling this fancy French borrowing correctly, on the other hand, isn't de rigueur (your spellcheck will do it for you in most cases), but it is possible. The vowels of its final syllable are trickiest. It may help to remember other French borrowings that end in eur, such as amateur, chauffeur, and entrepreneur. And of course the last four letters of liqueur match de rigueur perfectly.

De rigueur has been used as an adjective in English for almost two centuries now, which means that it's established enough to appear in running text without italics. It's foreign-sounding enough, though, that people can feel tentative about using it. Apply it where synonyms like proper, correct, and decorous are at home. Here are some examples of it in use in its adopted language:

Anglophone parents worry that being too strict will break their kids' creative spirits. A visiting American mother was shocked when she saw a playpen in our apartment in Paris. Apparently, back home, even playpens are now seen as too confining. (We didn't know. In Paris they're de rigueur.)
— Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé, 2012

Being in the business of writing about cocktails and bars, I often find myself in some pretty swank digs—various "mixology" dens where the elaborate drinks require complex techniques, house-made bitters and farm-to-table infusions are de rigueur, and the bartender has achieved celebrity-chef star status.
— Jason Rowan, Wine Enthusiast, April 2014

Although de rigueur is usually found after the verb (especially after is or are), it's also sometimes used in the traditional adjectival territory before a noun:

Stone, who patiently smiled through the de rigueur photo shoot in front of a backdrop emblazoned with the logos of the festival and its sponsors …
— Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal (marinij.com), 6 Oct. 2016

Why Does Your Invite Say Costume de rigueur?

If you're invited to a ball or other social function and the invitation includes the French phrase costume de rigueur, you are expected to adhere to a very strict dress code-typically, a white tie and tails if you're a man and a floor-length evening gown if you're a woman. In French, de rigueur means "out of strictness" or "according to strict etiquette"; one definition of our word rigor, to which rigueur is related, is "the quality of being strict, unyielding, or inflexible." In English, we tend to use de rigueur to describe a fashion or custom that is so commonplace within a context that it seems a prescribed, mandatory part of it.

Examples of de rigueur in a Sentence

Dark sunglasses are de rigueur these days. though he was wearing a dinner jacket and a black bow tie, his jeans and tennis shoes were hardly de rigueur

Recent Examples on the Web

In a few years, using a brain implant to control your devices may be as de rigueur among San Francisco’s techno-chics as wearing wireless earbuds is today. The Economist, "Elon Musk wants to link brains directly to machines," 18 July 2019 To Angelenos who can afford one, a birth photographer is as de rigueur as a doula. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today: When a home means abandoning your past," 16 Aug. 2019 Across the country, the gender-reveal party is increasingly de rigueur and, along with other forms of competitive parenting, a kind of arms race has ensued. Te-ping Chen, WSJ, "Gender-Reveal Parties Are Getting Out of Hand," 20 June 2019 The itinerant fashion show is de rigueur these days for the major luxury brands, because their in-between-seasons collections are so lucrative. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Chanel Sets Sail for New York City," 15 Nov. 2018 Such platforms are becoming de rigueur in Europe, leaving the US further behind, even as smartphones become commonplace and online commerce grows. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Elizabeth Warren is siding with Google and Amazon when it comes to digital payments," 25 July 2019 As tech enterprises release new projects, T-shirts are de rigueur for fostering esprit de corps among team members. Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "It’s free. It’s fun. Why Silicon Valley loves swag — and how it’s changing," 21 July 2019 So how did the lightweight dewy look become de rigueur? Sarah Todd, Quartzy, "Why getting dewy skin became a global obsession," 24 July 2019 Keeping the ball out of play and putting it out of play are de rigueur. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "You get a whiff of failure when boiling down baseball numbers," 22 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of de rigueur

1833, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for de rigueur

French

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for de rigueur

The first known use of de rigueur was in 1833

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More Definitions for de rigueur

de rigueur

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of de rigueur

formal : necessary if you want to be fashionable, popular, socially acceptable, etc.

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