Word of the Day Archive
Thursday December 4, 2008
curio \KYOOR-ee-oh\ , noun:
a valued, novel object; an object valued as a curiosity, often a collectible
It is tempting to think of [it] not as a novel but as a glittering artifact, something an acquisitive traveler might discover in a musty Venetian curio shop.
-- David Willis McCullough, review of The Palace, by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran, New York Times, 8/1/1999
Her latest addition, a fake yellow canary that she affixed to the front door, simply can't be ignored. With any luck, the cat will soon mistake the curio for a real bird and that will be the end of it.
-- Ada Brunstein, The House of No Personal Pronouns, New York Times, 7/22/2007
Tensions in his parents' home in New York and summer visits to his Boston grandfather left impressions that became, over time, fragmentary memories tinged with sadness-as when he recalls, in Redburn, the melancholy longing provoked by the miniature glass ship displayed in his grandfather's curio case.
-- Andrew Delbanco, Melville: His Life and Work
by 1851, literally, "piece of bric-a-brac or art object from the far East," a shortened form of curiosity