Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small, exquisitely wrought trinket.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. jewel
  • n. a piece of jewelry, a trinket
  • n. a small intricately made metalworking
  • adj. small and elegant
  • adj. intricate; finely made

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A trinket; a jewel; -- a word applied to anything small and of elegant workmanship.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. . A jewel; specifically, a jewel of gold richly wrought in the metal itself without the aid of precious stones. See bijouterie.
  • n. Hence2. An object of beauty of small size; something delicately pretty; any relatively small charming object.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small and delicately worked piece

Etymologies

French, from Breton bizou, jeweled ring, from biz, finger.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French bijou (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • (My Petit Robert on CD-ROM allows searches by all entry fields by which I think I discovered that "bijou" is from Breton.)

    detente - French Word-A-Day

  • Egbert Dormer did not turn out from his hand so much work as some men that I know, but he was overflowing with art up to his ears — and with tobacco, so that, upon the whole, the bijou was a pleasant rendezvous.

    Ayala's Angel

  • Egbert Dormer did not turn out from his hand so much work as some men that I know, but he was overflowing with art up to his ears -- and with tobacco, so that, upon the whole, the bijou was a pleasant rendezvous.

    Ayala's Angel

  • The bijou, that is now missing one diamond, is estimated to sell for between $US300,000 ($307,000) to $US500,000 ($511,000) at the auction, set for December 15-17.

    NEWS.com.au | Top Stories

  • It houses not only a flat-screen television, DVD player, reclining leather armchair, capacious bookshelves and an L-shaped execu-desk, but also a loo and what an estate agent might call a bijou kitchenette.

    Life and style | guardian.co.uk

  • My cottage is what estate agents used to call 'bijou'.

    Kitchen Confidential

  • It is now wall to wall marina with one 'bijou' corner' being reserved for the new BBC premises pete

    ALL AT SEA..

  • My Petit Robert on CD-ROM allows searches by all entry fields by which I think I discovered that "bijou" is from Breton.

    detente - French Word-A-Day

  • From this kind of bijou made with human hair, to these chocolate nipples to these intra-toe candies that your lover is supposed to suck from your toes.

    Paola Antonelli treats design as art

  • The cottage was tiny -- "bijou," the estate agents would probably have called it -- and there was an ever-present danger of tumbling over the furniture.

    Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

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Comments

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  • Yes, it's French. It comes from the Breton word bizou "(jewelled) ring" from bez "finger". Early known documented usage in English is dated 1668.

    December 7, 2008

  • Also French, 'jewel'

    July 15, 2008