Word: oeuvre

Pronunciation: Ə-vrə / OO-vrə

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: the works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

I’ll be honest: at the time of writing this post, I’ve known today’s vocabulary word for less than a week. It came up while I was researching my last post on Romeo & Juliet, and as soon as I read it, I knew I had to add it to my Word of the Week queue. Maybe it’s the French pronunciation or its association with works of art, but something about this word just appeals to me as a writer. Who among us budding artists doesn’t dream about having a respectable “oeuvre” someday?

An “oeuvre” is the complete collection of an artist’s works, typically a painter, composer, or author. The word arose in English in the late 19th century and is originally a French noun meaning “work”. This noun derives from the Latin noun opus, which also means “work”.

Aside from its main definition, the word “oeuvre” can also refer to a single work of art, music, or literature. As far as how to use it, I’d say it works equally well in reference to all forms of art, though for some reason I find myself envisioning paintings and other visual works of art when I read it (perhaps I’m associating it with the Louvre?). If you write artistic characters with an extensive body of work (or you simply want a fancy way to refer to another artist’s, or even your own, creative collection), “oeuvre” may be a good word to include in your vocabulary list!

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

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