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

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

Illustration of girandole

Illustration of girandole

girandole 2

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Examples of girandole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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,, 4 June 2017

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

First Known Use of girandole

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for girandole

French & Italian; French, from Italian girandola, from girare to turn, from Late Latin gyrare, from Latin gyrus gyre

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About girandole

Time Traveler for girandole

Time Traveler

The first known use of girandole was in 1749

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About girandole

Dictionary Entries Near girandole



girandole clock

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for girandole

Cite this Entry

“Girandole.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on girandole

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for girandole Encyclopedia article about girandole


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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