Definition of persiflage
: frivolous bantering talk : light raillery
persiflage was our Word of the Day on 03/28/2015. Hear the podcast!
Examples of persiflage in a sentence
their tongue-in-cheek persiflage is sometimes mistaken for an exchange of insults by people who don't know them
Did You Know?
Unwanted persiflage on television might provoke an impatient audience to hiss or boo, but from an etymological standpoint, no other reaction could be more appropriate. English speakers picked up persiflage from French in the 18th century. Its ancestor is the French verb persifler, which means "to banter" and was formed from the prefix per-, meaning "thoroughly," plus siffler, meaning "to whistle, hiss, or boo." Siffler in turn derived from the Latin verb sibilare, meaning "to whistle or hiss." By the way, sibilare is also the source of sibilant, a word linguists use to describe sounds like those made by "s" and "sh" in sash. That Latin root also underlies the verb sibilate, meaning "to hiss" or "to pronounce with or utter an initial sibilant."
Origin and Etymology of persiflage
French, from persifler to banter, from per- thoroughly + siffler to whistle, hiss, boo, ultimately from Latin sibilare
First Known Use: 1757
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