Sep 26

Odd Words: Biedermeier

BiedermeierWe are back on track with Page 26 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition. Before I start complaining, let me just tell you that today’s word is “Biedermeier.” Yes: capitalized.

Not Great Beyond Biedermeier

As I’ve noted in the past, words tend to clump because of roots. This was a big day for biblio- words. There were 14 of the little suckers. That’s almost an entire column. And then there were the bi- words. There were eight of them — with more to come. The page still had a lot of good words, however. It had bibelot, a small decorative objective. It also had biggin, which is some kind of coffee pot contraption. And it had bijouterie, a collection of jewelry.

It also had some interesting words that I already knew. For example, it had “Donald Trump.” I’m sorry, I mean “bigot.” Additionally, it had “bigamy.” I don’t especially care, except for a great Captain Spaulding bit in Animal Crackers. When told that his suggestion that two women marry him is bigamy, he responds, “Yes and it’s big o’ me too! It’s big of all of us. Why not be big for a change!” And that’s just an excuse for embedding this little bit of video:

But enough of that. On to Biedermeier:

Bie·der·mei·er  adjective  \bē’-dər-mī-ər\

1. denoting or relating to a style of interior decoration, furnishing, etc, found in German-speaking countries in the 19th century and characterized by ebony inlays and veneers of fruitwood used in a simplified style resembling French Empire.

Date: mid 19th century.

Origin: from the character Gottlieb Biedermaier.

Example: Ruszwurm, a tiny shop close to Buda Castle, is a Biedermeier-era throwback flaunting original wood and spot-on krémes that unite buttery vanilla cream with flaky pastry.Alia Akkam

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