In a word: Louche

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. Use it in a sentence in a comment on his blog, You Don't say, and the best sentence will be featured next week. This week's word:


Some words reflect our divided sentiments. Louche, pronounced LOOSH, means dubious, shady, sordid, disreputable — but "in a rakish or appealing way," the New Oxford American Dictionary explains. A shabby bar where sodden old guys pound down watered whiskey at two o'clock in the afternoon is merely sordid and depressing. But a bar where high and low sorts mingle, where the Quality can rub elbows with bohemians or gamblers or the sleeker prostitutes — that is one louche nightspot. Think of 1920s speakeasies, or Las Vegas before it was decided to present it as a family-friendly vacation spot — Disneyland with faro.

Example: The romps of the Earl of Rochester and his louche companions during the Restoration gave rise to poetry considered too obscene to publish until the 1970s.

From last week: The best use of lachrymose

I weep that no reader took up the challenge. Instead, here is a sentence from a 2002 Sun article by John Woestendiek about Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech":

"The speech was not a hit with pundits, who termed it — and still do — corny, maudlin, lachrymose and unctuous."

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