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Borrowed from French bric-à-brac (“miscellaneous items of little value”), apparently from à bricq et à bracq (“at random; haphazardly”); bricq and bracq are expressive onomatopoeias of obscure origin.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈbɹɪkəbɹæk/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈbɹɪkəˌbɹæk/
- Small ornaments and other miscellaneous display items of little value.
- 1840, M. A. Titmarsh [pseudonym; William Makepeace Thackeray], “Meditations at Versailles”, in The Paris Sketch Book, volume II, London: John Macrone, […], OCLC 2344307, page 267:
- The palace of Versailles has been turned into a bricabrac shop, of late years; and its time-honoured walls have been covered with many thousand yards of the worst pictures that eye ever looked on.
- 1861 January – 1862 August, W[illiam] M[akepeace] Thackeray, “In which Philip Shows His Mettle”, in The Adventures of Philip on His Way through the World; […], volume I, London: Smith, Elder and Co., […], published 1862, OCLC 1903243, page 299:
- No doubt her pleasure would have been at that moment to give him not only that gold which she had been saving up against rent-day, but the spoons, the furniture, and all the valuables of the house, including, perhaps, J. J.'s bricabrac, cabinets, china, and so forth.
- 1882–1883, Walt Whitman, “[Collect. Notes Left Over.] Emerson’s Books, (the Shadows of Them).”, in Specimen Days & Collect, Philadelphia, Pa.: Rees Welsh & Co., […], OCLC 35638985, page 320:
- (by extension) Any collection containing a variety of miscellaneous items; a hodgepodge, an olio.
small ornaments and other miscellaneous items of little value