This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 18 November 2013

Spot the frippet: mondain, mondaine.

We don't go in for endings much in English - except And they lived happily ever after to the end of their days, of course - but we do have some. We have blonde as opposed to blond, for example, and  fiancée as opposed to fiancé

We also, less commonly, have mondaine, which is the female variety of mondaine.

All these words have been borrowed from French, and they're all pronounced in French ways. Well, more or less French ways: the muscle-movements needed for talking French don't come easily to English speakers.

Anyway, never mind if you can pronounce mondain(e), can you see one?

A mondain(e) is a person who moves in fashionable circles (no, not someone with one stiletto shorter than the other, not that sort of circle) and as the whole idea of fashion is mixed up with the desire to be seen, one shouldn't be difficult to spot.

Any newspaper or celebrity magazine will give you numerous examples: the mondain(e)s will be the very thin ones with the professional smiles and the uncomfortably inadequate clothes.

That's the actress Amanda Bynes.

Once you've spotted one, go and find yourself a biscuit or a piece of cake.

And enjoy every single mouthful.

Spot the frippet: mondain(e). This French word can also mean worldly, and as well as mondain(e) it gave us the word mundane. Before it was French it was Latin: mundus means world.


  1. "Once you've spotted one, go and find yourself a biscuit or a piece of cake.
    And enjoy every single mouthful."

    Will do!
    And thank you!

    1. A pleasure, Jingles. And so will be the homemade blueberry cheesecake I have lined up for tonight!

    2. The mondaine operates within the bon ton, which is French for the fashionable world - something that I have never moved in, in any way, whatsoever.

    3. I suppose to be in the bon ton you have to have good neither.

  2. I always assume mondaine /mondain to have somewhat more intellectual content. Sure I'm not correct in this. Just saying!

    1. Well, the definition is "characteristic of fashionable society" so it would probably depend on which fashionable society you were talking about. Voltaire's was pretty bright, and, even now, take Russell Brand..., please just take Russell Brand...