Playful banter.

Persiflage: noun, meaning light teasing or good natured banter.

Hello, internet friends! I’ve been lost in thesis-land, so I hope you’ll excuse my delay in writing. But we’re back with another great, though perhaps mildly antiquated word.

Persiflage is a fancy way of expressing what happens when you’re shootin’ the shit and your repartee turns into friendly teasing — banter that’s delivered  with biting wit while remaining ultimately good natured. Now that the sun is out and patios are brimming with revelers again, persiflage is what you’ll recognize as your basic bar-speak.

It’s a french word from the late 1700s, but its true origin is likely from the collateral form of latin root siblilare, which as I understand it, means to hiss. What’s so interesting about persiflage, though, is the subtle shades of linguistic difference between persiflage, badinage and raillery — all words that are applicable to this arena of light, playful small talk. While persiflage implies slight derision, it’s not necessarily cutting in nature. One shade lighter is badinage, which requires a bit more delicacy. Raillery, perhaps the most sarcastic of the three, involves gentle mocking.

Now here’s the real trick: imagine how much you’ll be made fun of when you’re at the bar with your natty light in hand and you say to your neighbor “oh ho – I do so enjoy engaging in such pleasant persiflage.”

Categories: cartoon, etymology | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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