Odd Words: Bruit

BruitLots of interesting words on page 33 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition. Today, we have a cool little verb: bruit.

Picking Bruit

I’ve taken a different approach today in picking a word. I found an example sentence first. This is often the most time consuming part of the whole exercise. For example, I really wanted to use the word “brulé” today. It means “a forest region destroyed by fire.” But there are so many people with that last name that finding the word in a sentence was difficult. Actually, “bruit” turned out to be too; but I found something that worked out well just as I was about to give up.

I thought it was interesting that “bulimia” was in the dictionary. This edition of the book was published in 1985. That’s just two years after Karen Carpenter died. But to stop thinking about that, you can listen to “Superstar” by The Carpenters. It’s not the best version. But it does have a naiveté that works for it and makes it special.

A word that brought back a lot of memories was “buccal,” which describes something related the cheek. One doesn’t normally need such a word, but in a dentist office, it is critically important.

But on to bruit:

Bruit  verb  \brüt\

1. to spread a rumor

Date: early 15th century (but as a noun).

Origin: late Middle English from Old French bruire meaning “to roar.”

Example: Sleazy headlines bruit about that Labine was slain in a gangster’s love nest. —Kenneth Tucker (Eliot Ness and the Untouchables: The Historical Reality and the Film and Television Depictions)

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

6 thoughts on “Odd Words: Bruit

    • The contrast works nicely. The song is racy. I didn’t realize that Russell co-wrote it. Or maybe I did and I forgot. It gets harder and harder to say as the years go by.

    • Tell me about it! It was what made finding an example sentence difficult. Just do a news or book search on the term. It’s almost all medical.

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