Definition of lunette
1 : something that has the shape of a crescent or half-moon: such asa : an opening in a vault especially for a windowb : the surface at the upper part of a wall that is partly surrounded by a vault which the wall intersects and that is often filled by windows or by mural paintingc : a low crescentic mound (as of sand) formed by the wind
2 : the figure or shape of a crescent moon
lunette was our Word of the Day on 05/03/2012. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
Lunette, a word borrowed from French, looks like it should mean "little moon" - "luna" being Latin for moon and "-ette" being a diminutive suffix. There is indeed some 17th-century evidence of the word being used for a small celestial moon, but that meaning is now obsolete. Earlier, in the 16th century, "lunette" referred to a horseshoe having only the front semicircular part - a meaning that still exists but is quite rare. "Lunette" has other meanings too rare for our Collegiate Dictionary but included in our Unabridged. Among these are "a blinder especially for a vicious horse" and, in the plural form, "spectacles." ("Lunettes" is the usual term for eyeglasses in modern French.) The oldest meaning of "lunette" still in common use is "something shaped like a crescent or half-moon," which our evidence dates to circa 1639.
Origin and Etymology of lunette
French, from Old French lunete small object shaped like the moon, from lune moon
First Known Use: circa 1639See Words from the same year
Seen and Heard
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