Word: sartorial

Pronunciation: sar-TOR-ee-əl

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: of or relating to tailoring, clothes, or style of dress

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Barney: Suits are full of joy. They’re the sartorial equivalent of a baby’s smile.

Ted: “Sartorial”?

Barney: “Of or pertaining to tailors or their trade.”

How I Met Your Mother (Season 2, Episode 14 – Monday Night Football)

Here’s another word I’ve heard exclusively on How I Met Your Mother. Every fan of this series is well familiar with Barney Stinson’s love of suits. His popular catchphrase “Suit up!” pretty much says it all. It makes perfect sense, therefore, that a character like Barney would know exactly what the word “sartorial” means while the rest of his friends remained clueless.

“Sartorial” refers to anything related to clothing and/or tailoring. The word arose in the early 19th century and comes from the Latin noun sartor (“tailor” or “patcher”). This noun is derived from the verb sarcire, meaning “to patch” or “to restore”.

Despite having learned this word fairly recently, I can already imagine a few contexts in which it could work well, such as when a character demonstrates “sartorial” elegance. Writers who are particularly fond of elaborating on details of clothing may find it especially useful. If you often draw attention to your characters’ clothes to help define their personalities, I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding a good place for this word somewhere in your writing. And if you don’t, I strongly encourage you to experiment with the “sartorial” details of your stories, as they can reveal much about a person’s character! Have fun!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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