Wordnik word of the day: ruelle

by Grant Barrett on August 24, 2009

Today’s word of the day is ruelle, which means “the space between a bed and the wall” or “a private circle or assembly at a private house; a circle.” A note by Henri Van Laun to the play Les Précieuses Ridicules (The Pretentious Young Ladies) in The Dramatic Works of Molière Vol. I describes how ruelle went from meaning “small street” or any narrow passage or space in French to describing a part of a room used in the company of précieuses, fashionable women who held salons to socialize and discuss the question of love: “The Précieuses at that time received their visitors lying dressed in a bed, which was placed in an alcove and upon a raised platform. Their fashionable friends (alcovistes) took their places between the bed and the wall, and thus the name ruelle came to be given to all fashionable assemblies.”

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