[French ber-sœz]
noun, plural berceuses [French ber-sœz] . Music.
a cradlesong; lullaby.
a composition for instrument or voice, having a soothing, reflective character.

1875–80; < French, equivalent to berc(er) to rock + -euse -euse Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
berceuse (French bɛrsøz)
1.  a cradlesong or lullaby
2.  an instrumental piece suggestive of this, in six-eight time
[C19: from French: lullaby, from bercer to rock]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"cradle song," 1876, from Fr. berceuse "cradle-song, woman who rocks an infant," from bercer "to rock" (O.Fr. bercier "to rock" a child in a cradle, 12c.) + fem. agent suffix -euse.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


musical composition, typically of the 19th century, having the character of a soothing refrain. While the word appears to imply no particular formal pattern, rocking rhythms in 68 time are common not only in the vocal prototype but also in its stylized instrumental counterparts, usually written for piano. A well-known example of the latter is Frederic Chopin's Berceuse in D-flat Major (1843-44), with its elaborate figurations above a static, repetitive pattern in the left hand

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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