July 20, 2011
- potpourri (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices that is usually kept in a jar and used for scent2 : a miscellaneous collection : medley
- How do you use it?
- Mom is making potpourri from flowers in the garden so that she will be able to enjoy the fragrance of summer even during the fall and winter.
- Are you a word wiz?
English speakers borrowed "potpourri" from another language but did not keep its meaning. What do you think "potpourri" originally referred to?Potpourri usually isn't stew-scented, but stew is part of the origin of the word, making B the right answer. "Potpourri" traces to the French "pot pourri," which literally means "putrid pot." The French stew called "pot pourri" was originally a Spanish dish called "olla podrida." How and why it came to be called "putrid," meaning "rotten," is not very clear. One explanation is that the Spanish "podrida" sometimes means "very full," which would describe a hearty stew. In English, "rotten" is also used to mean "very full," as in "a city rotten with crime." It can also mean "thoroughly," as in "that child is spoiled rotten."