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
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 use for a kind of earring was lit during the 19th century.
"The centerpiece of the decorative program was the figure of Eternity seated on a triumphal chariot drawn by four horses, itself a fuoco d'artificio (fireworks spectacle), and flanked by two smaller girandoles of three hundred rockets each." — Kevin Salatino, Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe, 1997
"The magnificent hall hints at extravagance within: The walls are lined in pleated pistachio silk; … glimmering crystal girandoles stand sentry beside the fireplace." — Plum Sykes, Vogue, 19 Mar. 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete the name for a flat ornament of floral form that is used in sculpture or painting: a _ t _ e _ i _ n.VIEW THE ANSWER
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