girandole

noun

gir·​an·​dole ˈjir-ən-ˌdōl How to pronounce girandole (audio)
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

Illustration of girandole

Illustration of girandole
  • girandole 2

Did you know?

The word girandole can refer to several different things, all of them designed to provoke oohs and aahs. The earliest uses of girandole in English, in the 17th century, referred to a kind of firework, or to something with a radiating pattern like that of a firework, such as a fountain. 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 use for a kind of earring was lit during the 19th century. While pinwheel and Catherine wheel are more often called upon for firework duty today, we note that there’s nothing stopping you from applying the elegant girandole to the impressive displays that light up festive night skies.

Examples of girandole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The girandole-style, four-panel earrings are crafted of more than 136 carats of natural purple sapphires, paraiba tourmalines and diamonds, set in 18-karat white gold and were said to be valued at close to $3 million. Degen Pener, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Mar. 2023 The magnificent hall hints at extravagance within: The walls are lined in pleated pistachio silk; bunches of fruit-and-flowers plasterwork tumble from the ceiling; glimmering crystal girandoles stand sentry beside the fireplace. Pascal Chevallier, Vogue, 19 Mar. 2018 Mr. Due toured Europe and collected English secretaries, French demi-lunes and crystal girandoles to sell from his antiques store outside Frederick. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, 4 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'girandole.' 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 & Italian; French, from Italian girandola, from girare to turn, from Late Latin gyrare, from Latin gyrus gyre

First Known Use

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of girandole was in 1749

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Cite this Entry

“Girandole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/girandole. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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