Saturday, 7 August 2010

a lady's private place is in her boudoir

A friend told me today that the original meaning of the word boudoir is a place where a lady goes to sulk. Seeing my friend is a lover of words, I presumed she had told me the correct etymology.

But, of course, I checked online...

In the search for confirmation I've come across a fabulous site, Webster's Online Dictionary, where I found not only the meaning, but translation of the word into a range of languages.

A feature of the Websters site is an extended definition of words. Here's what is says about boudoir:
A boudoir is a lady's private bedroom, sitting room or dressing room. The term derives from the French verb bouder, meaning "to pout"[citation needed].

Historically, the boudoir formed part of the private suite of rooms of a lady, for bathing and dressing, adjacent to her bedchamber, being the female equivalent of the male cabinet. In later periods, the boudoir was used as a private drawing room, and was used for other activities, such as embroidery or entertaining intimate acquaintances.

In Caribbean English a boudoir is the front room of the house where women entertain family and friends.

Latterly, the term boudoir has come to denote a style of furnishing the bedroom that is traditionally described as ornate or busy. The plethora of links available on the internet to furnishing sites using the term boudoir tend to focus on Renaissance and French inspired bedroom styles. They have, in recent times also been used to describe the 'country cottage' style with whitewashed styled walls large heavy bed furniture and deep bedding.

In photography

Boudoir is also used in photography as a term to describe a revealing style of photography. Implied nudity is common, as is the subject showing part of their undergarments while still dressed. The is now a very clear blurring of the lines between soft porn and boudoir images, where it is more than just the undergarments peeking out.
The Free Dictionary offers translation also, but only into three languages - German, Spanish and French.

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