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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.
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.