Word of the Day : February 5, 2014


adjective swahn-YAY


1 : dressed with great care and elegance : well-groomed, sleek

2 : elegantly maintained or designed


Wearing a fetching evening gown, Alyssa looked soigné and sophisticated and ready for the night's events.

"'Nijinsky' opens in 1919 in a hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where the artist gave his final performance before sinking into madness, surviving until 1950. This solo performance in a soigne ballroom uncorks a flood of memories…." - From a dance review by Allan Ulrich in the San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2013

Did You Know?

Not surprisingly, "soigné" comes from French, where it serves as the past participle of the verb "soigner," meaning "to take care of." It first appeared in English in the 19th century and can be used to describe such things as an elegant wardrobe, a fancy restaurant, or the extravagant meal one might enjoy at such a restaurant. It can also be used to describe people, as in an article about fashion designer Donna Karan: "Though her name is really pronounced 'Karen,' people said it with a glamorous continental inflection; it suited their image of a fashion designer: aloof, soigné, different from you and me." (Josh Patner, The New York Times, April 11, 2004)

Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to create a word that can mean "an elegant or showy garment" or "something showy, frivolous, or nonessential": fipr. The answer is …


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