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Word of the Day: Oeuvre

Oeuvre

ˈo͝ovrə

NOUN

  • The works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively.

  • A work of art, music, or literature.

EXAMPLE SENTENCES

“The prized volume on her bookshelf was a collected volume of Tennyson’s oeuvre.”

“You can tell this is an early oeuvre from the artist, because it’s a watercolor.”

“The composer’s most famous oeuvre will be performed by the symphony.”

WORD ORIGIN

French, late 19th century

WHY THIS WORD?

“Oeuvre” is French for a particular piece of art, music, or writing, but the French borrowed the term from the Latin for “opera.” The English usage of the word can be a single piece of art, or it can be the complete body of work from an artist, taken as a whole. The dual definitions can be used interchangeably, which can be confusing. For this word, context is everything.WHY THIS WORD?

“Oeuvre” is French for a particular piece of art, music, or writing, but the French borrowed the term from the Latin for “opera.” The English usage of the word can be a single piece of art, or it can be the complete body of work from an artist, taken as a whole. The dual definitions can be used interchangeably, which can be confusing. For this word, context is everything.

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