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Etymology 1Edit

Borrowed from French bijou.


bijou (plural bijous or bijoux)

  1. A jewel.
  2. A piece of jewelry; a trinket.
  3. A small intricate piece of metalwork.

Etymology 2Edit

Borrowed from Sabir bijou, ultimately from Occitan pichon (small, little), influenced by English bijou (jewel).[1]


bijou (comparative more bijou, superlative most bijou)

  1. (Polari) small, little (often implying affection)
    • 1968, Bona Prods (Round the Horne), written by Kenneth Horne:
      You may have vada'd one of our tiny bijou masterpiecettes, heartface.
    • 1997, Lucas, Ian, “The Color of His Eyes: Polari and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence”, in Anna Livia;Kira Hall, editors, Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality, page 91:
      We, the Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and the Gathered Faithful, do hereby invoke the spirit of our beloved Muffin the Mule, to recognize the bona work of Mr. Derek Jarman in promulgating Universal Joy [] in his bijou masterpiecettes[.]
    • 2012 August 5, Paul, “Bijou Polari Appette pre-varda’d”, in Gay History[1]:
      Polari, used for decades by gay men, actors, and theatre performers and which famously appeared on primetime radio show Round The Horne, has been brought up-to-date with a bijou iPhone appette.
  2. (of a residence) small and elegant
    • 1891, A Scandal in Bohemia
      I soon found Briony Lodge. It is a bijou villa, with a garden at the back, but built out in front right up to the road, two stories. Chubb lock to the door. Large sitting-room on the right side, well furnished, with long windows almost to the floor, and those preposterous English window fasteners which a child could open.
    • 1989 [1971], Willetts, H. T., transl., August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, translation of Август 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, →ISBN, page 126:
      In small towns like Soldau a small area accommodates the town hall, the church, several miniature squares, a monument to somebody or other, perhaps more than one, all sorts of shops, beerhouses, a post office, a bank, and there may be a bijou park behind wrought-iron railings, then the streets and the town end just as abruptly, and you have scarcely passed the last house when you find a highroad lined with trees stretching before you with a neat grid of precisely demarcated fields on either side.
  3. intricate; finely made

Usage notesEdit

Often used with -ette on the noun that it describes, as in the quotations given above, and bijou problemette.


  1. ^ Alan D. Corré, "Polari Words from Lingua Franca" in: A Glossary of Lingua Franca. 5th Edition, 2005


Alternative formsEdit




  1. third-person plural present indicative of bít


Alternative formsEdit

  • byou (hyperforeignism)


Borrowed from French bijou, from Breton bizoù.


  • IPA(key): /biˈʒu/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: bi‧jou
  • Rhymes: -u


bijou m (plural bijoux or bijous, diminutive bijoutje n)

  1. a piece of jewelry, often specifically with fake gems

Derived termsEdit



Borrowed from Breton bizoù (ring), from biz (finger).



bijou m (plural bijoux)

  1. a piece of jewelry

Usage notesEdit

Only seven words in French ending in -ou have their plurals in -oux instead of -ous: bijou, caillou, chou, genou, hibou, joujou, pou.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit