Word of the Day : January 11, 2010

pied-à-terre

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noun pee-ay-duh-TAIR

Definition

: a temporary or second lodging

Did You Know?

In French, "mettre pied à terre" means "to dismount." In the cavalry, dismounting at the end of the day meant occupying whatever temporary quarters were available. French speakers began using "pied-à-terre" (literally, "foot to the ground") for a temporary lodging of any sort back in the 1700s. English speakers adopted the term in the early 1800s, using it, as the French did, for a home away from home. Depending on who you are, a pied-à-terre can be anything from a sprawling villa in Naples to a one-room cabin on the Snake River, but nowadays it most frequently refers to an apartment maintained in the city.



Examples

The couple owns a home in San Francisco and a pied-à-terre in Greenwich Village.




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