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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — de rigeur

Good morning Netizens...

March 09, 2013

Word of the Day

  • de rigueur
  • audio pronunciation
  • \duh-ree-GUR\


: prescribed or required by fashion, etiquette, or custom : proper

Although the teen was wearing a dinner jacket and a tie, his jeans and sneakers were hardly de rigueur for the formal occasion.

"'Wait, wait, wait! Put on my eyeglasses,' I insisted, substituting my mom's lightweight frames for the thick, big black ones that are de rigueur right now for many a bespectacled 20-something." — From an article by Anthonia Akitunde in The Huffington Post, January 30, 2013


If you're invited to a ball or other social function and the invitation includes the French phrase "costume de rigueur," you are expected to adhere to a very strict dress code—typically, a white tie and tails if you're a man and a floor-length evening gown if you're a woman. In French, "de rigueur" means "out of strictness" or "according to strict etiquette"; one definition of our word "rigor," to which "rigueur" is related, is "the quality of being strict, unyielding, or inflexible." In English, we tend to use "de rigueur" to describe a fashion or custom that is so commonplace within a context that it seems a prescribed, mandatory part of it.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.