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See also: Bagatelle



Borrowed from French bagatelle, from Italian bagattella.


  • IPA(key): /ˌbæɡəˈtɛl/
  • (file)


bagatelle (plural bagatelles)

  1. A trifle; an insubstantial thing.
    • 1782, Charles Macklin, Love a-la-Mode, page 21:
      Sir C. Oh! dear madam, don't ask me, it's a very foolish song—a mere bagatelle.
      Char. Oh! Sir Callaghan, I will admit of no excuse.
    • 1850, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, volume 68, page 226:
      [] the jails were larger and fuller, the number of murders was incomparably greater, the thefts and swindlings in the old country were a bagatelle to the large depredations there []
    • 1879 September 6, "Railway Projects", Railway World, 5 (36): 853
      The repayment of the cost of the western part of the road, whatever it might be, would be a mere bagatelle, for the older provinces would have been enriched by the stimulus given to business by the opening up of the plains, []
    • 1996, Edmund White, “The tea ceremony”, in Ploughshares, volume 22, page 190:
      They'd purchased a little house in the eighth arrondissement in Paris that for them was just a bagatelle, since they rarely lived there.
    Synonyms: bag of shells; see also Thesaurus:trifle
  2. (literature, music) A short piece of literature or of instrumental music, typically light or playful in character.
    • 2007, Norman Lebrecht, The Life And Death of Classical Music, page 7:
      One afternoon in 1920. a young pianist sat down in a shuttered room in the capital of defeated Germany and played a Bagatelle by Beethoven.
  3. A game similar to billiards played on an oblong table with pockets or arches at one end only.
    • 1895, Hugh Legge, "The Repton Club", in John Matthew Knapp (ed.), The Universities and the Social Problem, page 139
      For some time they did nothing save box, but at last they went down to the bagatelle room, and played bagatelle for a bit. They marked this advance in civilization by prodding holes in the ceiling with the bagatelle cues, which gave the ceiling the appearance of a cloth target after a Gatling gun had been shooting at it.
  4. Any of several smaller, wooden table top games developed from the original bagatelle in which the pockets are made of pins; also called pin bagatelle, hit-a-pin bagatelle, jaw ball.

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bagatelle (third-person singular simple present bagatelles, present participle bagatelling, simple past and past participle bagatelled)

  1. (intransitive, rare) To meander or move around, in a manner similar to the ball in the game of bagatelle.
    • 2019 September 28, Louise Taylor, “Henderson howler hands Liverpool narrow win at spirited Sheffield United”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Admittedly Mané’s strike did rebound off a post as the ball bagatelled around the home area. It was characteristically cleared before Roberto Firmino could redirect the fall out beyond Henderson.
  2. (transitive, rare) To bagatellize; to regard as a bagatelle.
    • 2004, Henryk Boder, Broder Translators' Collective, transl.; Sander L. Gilman, Lilian M. Friedberg, editors, A Jew in the New Germany, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, →ISBN, page 64:
      That Saddam Hussein announced his intentions to destroy Israel a long time ago was either ignored or bagatelled. “We just didn't have time to address the threat to Israel,” explained Brigitte Erler on the eve of a large peace demonstration in Bonn.

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from Italian bagattella.



bagatelle f (plural bagatelles)

  1. bagatelle, trinket, bauble
  2. (food) trifle


Further reading[edit]



bagatelle f

  1. plural of bagatella