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In an obituary for crime novelist Elmore Leonard ...


Lookups spiked on August 20, 2013.


In its obituary for crime novelist Elmore Leonard, The New York Times praised his "louche characters, deadpan dialogue, and immaculate prose style."

Louche, meaning "not reputable or decent," might describe a character like the former millionaire Maurice, in Leonard's novel La Brava, who says, "I spent most of my dough on booze, broads and boats and the rest I wasted."

The word comes from the French for "cross-eyed" or "squint-eyed," probably based on the notion that disreputable people have shifty eyes. It ultimately comes from the Latin for "blind in one eye."

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