Borrowed from French douceur (sweetness), from Old French dolçor, dulcur, etc., from Latin dulcōr +‎ -em, from dulcis (sweet). Naturalized in Middle English but treated as a French loanword from the 17th century onward.


douceur (countable and uncountable, plural douceurs)

  1. Sweetness of manner: agreeableness, gentleness.
  2. (obsolete) Sweet speech: a compliment.
  3. A sweetener: a gift offered to sweeten another's attitude, a tip or bribe.
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
      When Dangerfield put the little roll in his hand, Irons looked suspicious and frightened, and balanced it in his palm, as if he had thoughts of chucking it from him, as though it were literally a satanic douceur. But it is hard to part with money, and Irons, though he still looked cowed and unhappy, put the money into his breeches' pocket, and he made a queer bow []
  4. (Britain) A tax break provided as an inducement to sell valuable items (especially art) to public collections rather than on the open market.



  • Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "douceur, n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1897.



From Old French dolçor, from Late Latin dulcor, dulcōrem, from Latin dulcis.


  • IPA(key): /du.sœʁ/
  • (file)


douceur f (plural douceurs)

  1. softness, tenderness
  2. sweetness

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