Monday, December 18, 2006


Recently on another blog, I commented that I have an odd repulsion to the word "bling-bling." I wondered where the word came from, and why everyone seems to be using it. Today the answer found its way to my email inbox:

bling-bling (bling-bling) noun

Expensive, flashy jewelry or other items.

[From hip-hop slang, apparently imitative of the sounds of
the clanging jewelry, or of the light reflecting from them.]

I am not much of a hip-hop fan. I like the idea that the word is imitative of the sound of the jewelry it describes, or the light reflecting. But there are other, better words. Clinquant, for one:

clinquant (KLING-kuhnt) adjective

Glittering, especially with gold or tinsel.


Tinsel; glitter.

[From French, present participle of obsolete clinquer (to clink),
from Dutch klinken (to clink).]

The main place I come face-to-face with "bling-bling" is in the tack shop, where it has latched itself on to halters, bridles, stirrups, stock ties, riding crops and whips, even spurs.

I love sparkly things. I love the way the sun sparkles on still water. The sun glittering through newly green leaves. A horse's coat that shimmers in the sun.

I do NOT, however, want fake jewels on my riding attire, or my tack. Give me good well-oiled leather, plain, and nice fabrics without piping or insignia.

There was a beloved vintage dress once, discovered in the bottom drawer of a dresser in a junk shop, that came from Paris and had tiny mirrors and sequins sewn into the bodice. The skirt was voluminous and made of a rich merlot fabric that was iridescent. The entire dress shimmered. I loved that dress, and wore it for signature occasions through a number of years.

It is gone now, and thank goodness, because if I wore it and anyone said the word "bling-bling" something, although I'm not exactly sure what, would be ruined.

Thought for the day: words have great power.

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