Word of the Day

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


\bag-uh-TEL\ , noun;
A trifle; a thing of little or no importance.
A short, light musical or literary piece.
A game played with a cue and balls on an oblong table having cups or arches at one end.
Don't worry about that, a mere bagatelle, old boy!
-- Eric Ellis, "Error Message", Time, February 10, 2000
You know how it often happens; these strifes and disputes frequently originate from a mere bagatelle.
-- Alessandro Manzoni, I Promessi Sposi
Excepting the regulars, the troops were raw as were likewise most of their officers; and this March of twenty-seven miles, which a year later would have been considered a bagatelle, was now a mighty undertaking.
-- James Ford Rhodes, History of the Civil War
So if you eat at his restaurant every day -- off the menu, of course -- and slosh the grub down with a 1966 Chateau Margaux (£800-£1,000 a bottle in a restaurant), even a Ritz bill will seem a mere bagatelle.
-- "Do you take cash?", The Guardian, December 23, 1999
Bagatelle derives from Italian bagattella, "a trifling matter; a bagatelle," perhaps ultimately from Latin baca, "a berry."
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