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bagatelle

[bag-uh-tel] /ˌbæg əˈtɛl/
noun
1.
something of little value or importance; a trifle.
2.
a game played on a board having holes at one end into which balls are to be struck with a cue.
3.
4.
a short and light musical composition, typically for the piano.
Origin
1630-1640
1630-40; < French < Upper Italian bagat(t)ella, equivalent to bagatt(a) small possession (perhaps bag(a) berry (< Latin bāca; cf. bay4) + -att(a) diminutive suffix) + -ella < Latin -illa diminutive suffix
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for bagatelle
  • The number now here is a bagatelle to what it maybe.
  • They dismiss their political connections as a mere bagatelle.
British Dictionary definitions for bagatelle

bagatelle

/ˌbæɡəˈtɛl/
noun
1.
something of little value or significance; trifle
2.
a board game in which balls are struck into holes, with pins as obstacles; pinball
3.
another name for bar billiards
4.
a short light piece of music, esp for piano
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Italian bagattella, from (dialect) bagatta a little possession, from baga a possession, probably from Latin bāca berry
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for bagatelle
n.

1630s, "a trifle," from French bagatelle "knick-knack, bauble, trinket" (16c.), from Italian bagatella "a trifle," diminutive of Latin baca "berry." As "a piece of light music," it is attested from 1827.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for bagatelle

game, probably of English origin, that is similar to billiards and was probably a modification of it. Bagatelle is played with billiard cues and nine balls on an oblong board or table varying in size from 6 by 1.5 ft (1.8 by 0.5 m) to 10 by 3 ft (3 by 0.9 m), with nine numbered cups at its head, eight arranged in a circle and the ninth in its centre. The cups are approximately 2.5 in (6.3 cm) in diameter. The balls are approximately 1.88 in (4.77 cm) in diameter. Sans egal, the cannon game, and Mississippi are among the many variations of bagatelle.

Learn more about bagatelle with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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