ra·​con·​teur ˌra-ˌkän-ˈtər How to pronounce raconteur (audio)
: a person who excels in telling anecdotes

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Raconteur Has Old French Roots

If you’re a sage of sagas, a bard of ballads, or a pro in prose, you may have lost count of the accounts you’ve recounted. Some might call you a recounter, but as a master of narrative form you may find that recounter lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Sure, it has a cool story—it traces back to the Latin verb computere, meaning “to count”—but so do many words: compute and computer, count and account, and neither last nor least, raconteur, a singsong title better fit for a whimsical storyteller. English speakers borrowed raconteur from French in the early 19th century.

Examples of raconteur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On her first two records, the Quebecois folk singer wrapped her low, steely purr around diverse material—from the sardonic light verse of raconteur Dorothy Parker to her own lyrics about the birth of her daughter. Reed Jackson, SPIN, 16 May 2024 Tremaine Emory’s Scars: Streetwear’s Black history raconteur survived Kanye, Supreme and a near-death experience. Alyson Krueger, New York Times, 4 May 2024 One Dahl story won’t do; his ingenuity runs to the elaboration of four convoluted tales, all featuring long-winded raconteurs atop the on-screen narrator Dahl (played by Ralph Fiennes). Armond White, National Review, 15 Mar. 2024 His Kevin was a raconteur and barman at his best friend Johnny Ryan's (Bernie Barrow) bar, while also acting as a perpetual thorn in the side to his in-law Delia (Ilene Kristen). Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 11 Mar. 2024 In private, Mayorkas—who is short, fit, and bald, with bushy eyebrows and a cadet’s ramrod posture—is ironic, sharp-witted, and charismatic, a raconteur who leaps out of his seat to exaggerate a detail or deliver a punch line. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, 17 Feb. 2024 None of this is secret, but it’s not been publicised because being a litigious art collective equally as dedicated to producing art as engaging in brand maintenance doesn’t evoke the solo, clandestine, provocative raconteur image Banksy is going for. Tyson Mitman, Fortune, 12 Oct. 2023 Gregory Gregory is a man of many titles: a grandfather, a Jersey Shore restaurateur and raconteur, a 71-year-old with the same first and last name. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 21 Aug. 2023 Mark was brilliant, funny, a raconteur with a million stories. Ethan Shanfeld, Variety, 4 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'raconteur.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Middle French, from raconter to tell, from Old French, from re- + aconter, acompter to tell, count — more at account

First Known Use

1828, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of raconteur was in 1828


Dictionary Entries Near raconteur

Cite this Entry

“Raconteur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raconteur. Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

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