This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Word To Use Today: rigadoon.

Some words, though gorgeous, are really hard to use in everyday life.

I mean, how likely are we ever to need the wonderful rigadoon?

A rigadoon is an old Provençal couple dance. The dictionary calls it light and graceful, and notes that it's in lively duple time.

Yes, rigadoons do tend to be quite lively. As a musician (piano and recorder teacher. Over twenty five years' experience. Good fun) my first reaction on seeing the word Rigadoon (or, more likely, Rigaudon) at the head a piece is to settle my metaphorical hat firmly on my head and prepare for a bit of a skip.

Here's one of the most famous rigadoons of them all:

And here's the actual dance:
Yes, it's all very charming, but how can we use it?
Well, how about:
The children skipped round each other, wild with joy, to the silent music of the great celestial rigadoon.
The autumn leaves [I do try not to be too Eurocentric on The Word Den] twisted and skittered along the ground, as lightly and gracefully as a rigadoon.
There you are. See? Anything joyful and graceful will do.
Or even something that isn't:
You try getting through Waterloo Station in the rush hour. It's no flipping rigadoon, you know.
Word To Use Today: rigadoon. This word arrived in English in the 1600s from France. It's said to be called after M Rigaud, the inventor of the dance.


  1. Lovely, esp the music and the dance. But the word reminds me very much of Brigadoon, the super musical from long ago. Still, very nice to know the origins.

  2. I wish someone would write a novel about M Rigaud. And if you need something doing...ah well. Perhaps one day.