douceur

noun

dou·​ceur dü-ˈsər How to pronounce douceur (audio)
: a conciliatory gift

Did you know?

In French, douceur means "pleasantness," and it is often used in phrases such as "douceur de vivre" ("the pleasure of life"). The word derives from the Latin adjective dulcis, meaning "sweet." A douceur is a gift or payment - sometimes, but not necessarily, considered a bribe - provided by someone to enhance or "sweeten" a deal. In the United Kingdom, "douceur" specifically refers to a tax benefit given to someone who sells a historical artifact to a public collection. Other sweet treats that "dulcis" has given to our language include "dulcet" (having a "sweet" sound that is pleasing to the ear) and "dulcimer" (a kind of stringed instrument that provides "sweet" music).

Examples of douceur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bordeaux’s sleepy country cousin is known for what the Bordelaise call the douceur de vivre — the gentle way of life. David Lansing, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2019

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

Word History

Etymology

French, pleasantness, from Late Latin dulcor sweetness, from Latin dulcis

First Known Use

1721, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of douceur was in 1721

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near douceur

Cite this Entry

“Douceur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/douceur. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on douceur

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!