dernier cri


der·​nier cri ˌdern-ˌyā-ˈkrē How to pronounce dernier cri (audio)
: the newest fashion

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How Long Has French dernier cri Been in Use in English?

Paris has long been the last word in fashion, but hot designer clothes from the city's renowned runways aren’t the only stylish French exports. Words, too, sometimes come with a French label. Dernier cri, literally "last cry," is one such chic French borrowing. The word is no trendy fad, however. More than a century has passed since "dernier cri" was the latest thing on the English language scene (and cut-steel jewelry was declared the dernier cri by the Westminster Gazette of December 10, 1896), but the term (unlike cut-steel) remains as modish as ever. Other fashionable French words have walked the runways of the English language since then: "blouson" (1904); "couture" (1908); "culotte" (1911); "lamé" (a clothing fabric, 1922); and "bikini" (1947), to name a few.

Examples of dernier cri in a Sentence

when deconstructionism became the dernier cri in literary criticism
Recent Examples on the Web But here, the couple dove in joyously and with abandon: Their kitchen could stand as Gambrel’s dernier cri. Nancy Hass, ELLE Decor, 16 Oct. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dernier cri.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, last cry

First Known Use

1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dernier cri was in 1896


Dictionary Entries Near dernier cri

Cite this Entry

“Dernier cri.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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