Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer


In a recent post, I described New Orleans as a “louche” city. I’ve had several back channels asking about the word LOUCHE.

I believe that the original meaning in French was “cross-eyed.”

The Free Dictionary says it means “Of questionable taste or morality; decadent”

It also says it is from the old French “losche” meaning squinty eyed, and from the old Latin “luscus” meaning blind in one eye.

Die Net says it is an “adj : of questionable taste or morality; “a louche nightclub”;”a louche painting” [syn: shady]

The most fun definition was at Geocities , also, in my opinion, the most complete:

[adj. LOOSH] Someone who is louche has questionable taste or morals, or they could be lacking in respectability. If you’re imagining a squint-eyed character who makes you suspicious or anxious you’re not far off from this word’s origins. Louche is a borrowed French word (meaning cross-eyed) derived from the Latin luscus which literally meant blind in one eye. First used in the English language in the early 19th-century, louche refers to character, behavior, or appearance. …

But in looking all this up for you, I found one more definition I had never heard before:

A wine troubled by the presence of suspended particles which cause it to be cloudy.

From Geocities/Cool words

When I described New Orleans as louche, it has the meaning of someone like an aging courtesan, who looks pretty good as you are walking up to her, but when you get close you can see that her dress has seen better days, her make up is a little streaky and she needs a good wash. And there is that questionable morals or respectability. . . 😉

Doncha love new words? And I learned something, too!

August 9, 2007 - Posted by | Blogging, Communication, Cross Cultural, Language, Words

1 Comment »

  1. […] chief investigator, consumately Venetian, very married, and fighting a lonely battle against the louche corruption of the Italian […]

    Pingback by Donna Leon: Death in a Strange Country « Here There and Everywhere | September 9, 2007 | Reply

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