Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 27, 2020 is:

longueur • lawn-GUR  • noun

: a dull and tedious passage or section (as of a book, play, or musical composition) — usually used in plural


The otherwise crisp pacing of the movie is marred by some unnecessary longueurs that do little to advance the main story.

“Small, clever musicals are fragile things, though, and I don’t want to oversell this one in praising it. ‘Scotland, PA’ still needs to cure a few structural hiccups (the first act seems to end twice) and to address its longueurs and lapses of logic.” — Jesse Green, The New York Times, 23 Oct. 2019

Did you know?

You’ve probably come across long, tedious sections of books, plays, or musical works before, but perhaps you didn’t know there was a word for them. English speakers began using the French borrowing longueur in the late 18th century. As in English, French longueurs are tedious passages, with longueur itself literally meaning “length.” An early example of longueur used in an English text is from 18th-century writer Horace Walpole, who wrote in a letter, “Boswell’s book is gossiping; . . . but there are woful longueurs, both about his hero and himself.”

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