Definitions

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

  • n. A composition or structure in radiating form or arrangement, such as a rotating display of fireworks.
  • n. An ornamental branched candleholder, sometimes backed by a mirror.
  • n. An earring that consists of a central piece with three smaller ornaments or stones hanging from it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ornamental branched candle holder, sometimes with a mirror behind.
  • n. A type of firework which creates a "whirling top" or "flying saucer" effect.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A branched lightholder, whether for candles or lamps, whether standing on a foot (see candelabrum) serving as a bracket projecting from the wall. The former is the more common signification in English use.
  • n. A kind of revolving firework; a pyrotechnic revolving sun; also, any revolving jet of similar form or character: as, a girandole of water.
  • n. A piece of jewelry of pendent form, often consisting of a central larger pendant surrounded by smaller ones.
  • n. In fortification, a connection of several mine-chambers for the defense of the place of arms of the covered way.

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

  • n. an ornate candle holder; often with a mirror

Etymologies

French, from Italian girandola, from girare, to turn, from Late Latin gȳrāre; see gyrate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French girandole, from Italian girandola, from girare ‘to turn, gyrate’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The earliest uses of "girandole" in English, in the 17th century, referred to a kind of firework or to something, such as a fountain, with a radiating pattern like that of a firework.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • By the 18th century "girandole" was being used for a branched candlestick, perhaps due to its resemblance to the firework.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • Such a pattern is reflected in the word's etymology: "girandole" can be traced back, by way of French and Italian, to the Latin word "gyrus," meaning "gyre" or "a circular or spiral motion or form."

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • The choice furniture is arranged among paintings, girandole mirrors, lamps, porcelain and silver that would once have been prized by the carriage trade knocking on Phyfe's showroom door.

    Furniture for a Young Nation

  • Back to the pasta bentos – penne (actually girandole) with creamy sundried tomato sauce, pine nuts and rucola.

    Bento #132 « Were rabbits

  • On the pans that hung like haloes over the sink and on the winged girandole by the stairs it shone.

    At Swim, Two Boys

  • It was tastefully appointed with expensive antiques -- such as an early-nineteenth-century French giltwood barometer, an Italian girandole and a Chinese enamel hanging lantern -- decorative paintings, and plush furnishings.

    Sinatra The Man Behind the Myth

  • A pair of girandole ear-rings of brilliants, each consisting of a large stud brilliant and of three pear-shaped brilliants united by four small ones; another pair of ear-rings composed of fourteen small brilliants forming a clustre of grapes, each stud of a single brilliant.

    Diamonds and Pearls

  • I have seen a set of cut-glass sent to Calcutta for the purpose, or a girandole, too handsome for Brazilian purchasers.

    Journal of a Voyage to Brazil And Residence There During Part of the Years 1821, 1822, 1823

  • A few tears were shed by Dulac over the thin lank locks he was called upon to friz, and when all was completed and he held aloft the girandole to light him down the back stairs used by members of the royal household to gain admission to the state apartments of the royal palace without passing through the crowd in the ante-room, the faithful fellow turned heartbroken to his master's chamber.

    Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 17, No. 097, January, 1876

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  • Poor Sir Philip, as if he had seen the face of Medusa, flew back, and encountered a girandole, which fell to the floor—a girandole no more.
    —Robert Bage, 1796, Hermsprong

    March 22, 2009