Word of The Day for Monday, October 18, 2010


per•si•flage (pur-suh-flahzh) /pûrˈsə-fläzhˌ/   n

1. light, bantering talk or writing; light raillery
2. a frivolous or flippant style of treating a subject

Synonyms: banter, badinage, jesting
Related Words: sibilant, hissing, related the s or sh sound

Persiflage! but we must look deeper. So-called persiflage is often but the mask with which irony screens the wounded heart. 1884
Persiflage, I suppose, even in ordinary life, is much less easy to practise with perfect success than a graver and less artificial mode of speaking, though, perhaps for that very reason, it is apt to be more sought after: the persiflage of a writer of another nation and of a past age is of necessity peculiarly difficult to realize and reproduce. 1902
•'All right,' he said, looking up with sudden exasperation. 'Now go away then, and leave me alone. I don't want any more of your meretricious persiflage.'
'Is it really persiflage?' she mocked, her face really relaxing into laughter. She interpreted it, that he had made a deep confession of love to her. But he was so absurd in his words, also.
DH Lawrence, Women in Love, 1925

The Storyline
... it still unnerved him and he covered with a bit of well rehearsed persiflage, "Hey, doofus, you're doing it again, wake up!"


1757;  < F, deriv. of persifler  to banter; equiv. to per-  + siffler  to whistle, hiss < LL sifila-re,  for L si-bila-re; to whistle, + -age

Sources: Dictionary.com

Why This Word:
Not to be flippant, but, it's an attractive sounding word, pleasing to the ear. It's a useful word - describing the general tone of just about every situation comedy on television and, by extension, the cultural impact on everyday interactions. Who doesn't engage in quotidian persiflage with our coworkers? And it has no exact synonym. What's not to love?

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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