Definition of girandole
1 : a radiating and showy composition (such as a cluster of skyrockets fired together)
2 : an ornamental branched candlestick
3 : a pendant earring usually with three ornaments hanging from a central piece
girandole was our Word of the Day on 02/05/2009. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
The earliest uses of girandole in English, in the 17th century, referred to a kind of firework or to something, such as a fountain, with a radiating pattern like that of a firework. Such a pattern is reflected in the word’s etymology: girandole can be traced back, by way of French and Italian, to the Latin word gyrus, meaning "gyre" or "a circular or spiral motion or form." By the 18th century girandole was being used for a branched candlestick, perhaps due to its resemblance to the firework. The word’s third sense, referring to a kind of earring, did not appear in English until the 19th century.
Origin and Etymology of girandole
French & Italian; French, from Italian girandola, from girare to turn, from Late Latin gyrare, from Latin gyrus gyre
First Known Use: 1749
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up girandole? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).