Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Markedly unusual in appearance, style, or general character and often involving incongruous or unexpected elements; outrageously or whimsically strange; odd: bizarre clothing; bizarre behavior.

Weird, freakish, grotesque; fantastic; unusual, strange, odd.

1640–50; < French < Italian bizzarro lively, capricious, eccentric, first attested (circa 1300) in sense “irascible”; of disputed orig.

Word story :
Strange, but true: bizarre  is a word with a contested and murky background.
 For a long time, it was conjectured that bizarre  is of Basque origin, coming from the word bizarra,  meaning “beard.” This same word supposedly passed into Spanish and Portuguese as bizarro, with the meaning “handsome” or “brave” (one imagines in the belief that a man with a beard was endowed with those qualities). From there it was thought to have been adopted by the French, who liked the word but apparently did not attribute the same heroic qualities to the bearded man. In French, bizarre  means “odd.”
 Recently, a more likely etymology has gained ground—rather than from Spanish, the French word is thought to have come from bizarro,  an Italian word meaning “angry, choleric,” and which originally meant “brave, soldier-like.” Now, this still means that we have to get from a word meaning “angry” to one meaning “odd,” but it is, perhaps, a less bizarre journey.

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