28 October 2004

longueur - Word for the Day

longueur · lOnh-GûR · noun

: A (subjectively) dull and tedious passage in a book, play, musical composition, or the like.

One of the commentators compared my speech to one of Gladstone’s which had lasted five hours. "It was not so long, but some of the speech’s . . . longueurs made Gladstone seem the soul of brevity," he

--Lord Lamont of Lerwick, "Been there, done that," Times (London), March 6, 2001

If this book of 400 pages had been devoted to her alone, it would have been filled with longueurs, but as the biography of a family it has the merit of originality. --Peter Ackroyd, review of Gwen Raverat: Friends, Family and Affections, by Frances Spalding, Times (London), June 27, 2001

This book ... has its defects. Sometimes it loses focus (as in a longueur on Chechens living in Jordan). --Colin Thubron, "Birth of a Hundred Nations," New York Times, November 19, 2000

Longueur is from French (where it means "length"), ultimately deriving from Latin longus, "long," which is also the source of English ‘long.’

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