Word of the Day : April 25, 2011


noun vuh-TREEN


: a glass showcase or cabinet especially for displaying fine wares or specimens

Did You Know?

The history of "vitrine" is clear as glass. It comes to English by way of the Old French word "vitre," meaning "pane of glass," from Latin "vitrum," meaning "glass." "Vitrum" has contributed a number of words to the English language besides "vitrine." "Vitreous" ("resembling glass" or "relating to, derived from, or consisting of glass") is the most common of these. "Vitrify" ("to convert or become converted into glass or into a glassy substance by heat and fusion") is another. A much rarer "vitrum" word -- and one that also entered English by way of "vitre" -- is "vitrailed," meaning "fitted with stained glass."


The tiny antiquarian bookshop has some books that are available for browsing, but the rarer and more valuable volumes are housed in the tall vitrines that line the walls.

"A weathered wooden child's chair is stacked atop its twin, with two bright pink plastic bowls stacked on the top seat. In an adjacent vitrine sits a miniature version of this assemblage, the tiny pieces placed in the center of a bright orange square of velvet." -- From an art exhibit review by Jessica Baran in the Riverfront Times (St. Louis, MO), February 24, 2011

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