Definitions

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

  • n. Something made or put together using whatever materials happen to be available: "Even the decor is a bricolage, a mix of this and that” ( Los Angeles Times).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Construction using whatever was available at the time.
  • n. Something constructed using whatever was available at the time.

Etymologies

French, from bricole, trifle, from Old French, catapult, from Old Italian briccola, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I was using the term bricolage really with a view to things working within a particular environment, and not necessarily being used in the same way they were intended to be used.

    Disquiet » Bric House

  • One of the ways of understanding the word bricolage, historically, is to 'putter about.'

    Tom Sachs

  • Before she went over to gigantism, Frey worked at a scale that allowed her to channel this fascination into what she called her bricolage sculptures.

    Latest News

  • I learned that Claude Levi-Strauss, the French anthropologist, coined a term bricolage to describe the thought patterns and learning processes of "primitive" societies.

    NCBlogs

  • He discussed an interesting concept: bricolage, which is basically a convoluted term for the English's "do it yourself," or DIY attitude.

    Shaun Johnson: How Can Punk Rock Enlighten the Education Reform Debate?

  • Steven Johnson's great book Where Good Ideas Come From uses the term "bricolage" to describe the random and often undervalued raw material from which innovations are crafted.

    Michael J. Critelli: Playing With What You've Got

  • So, rather than indicating purely a failure in theorisation — a kind of bricolage of remnants

    Psychology in Search of Psyches: Friedrich Schelling, Gotthilf Schubert and the Obscurities of the Romantic Soul

  • The "epistemological pluralism" (EP)paper downplays the importance of abstraction in the name of opening up things for different learning styles ("bricolage").

    low floor, high ceiling OR low floor, wide walls?

  • It's a kind of bricolage aspiring to be collage, a mini-Frankenstein monster of interstitiality, the science of plate tectonics applied to the continental drift of genres and imaginations.

    Film Structure

  • Mason & Dixon is, in short, a kind of bricolage of eighteenth-century science, religion, philosophy, myth, fable, and superstition, all treated on the same narrative plane, as equally true and equally fantastic.

    Entropology

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  • "But Dionysiac themes were ever present in the pagen/Jewish culture in which Jesus' followers sought to interpret their leader's brief life and tortured death. There were forty years between Jesus' death and the first written account of his life—time enough for his followers to assemble a myth of his divine lineage and mission out of the cultural bricolage available to them, which already included the notion of a wine-bringing, life-giving, populist, victim god."
    —Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 64

    March 12, 2009

  • definition: construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand; something constructed this way.
    see collage

    January 2, 2007

  • The Internet is a global bricolage, lashing together unthinkable complexities of miscellaneous computers with temporary lengths of phone line and fiber optic, bits of Ethernet cable and strings of code.
    -- Bernard Sharratt, "Only Connected", New York Times, December 17, 1995

    January 2, 2007