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A.Word.A.Day--cheval de bataille

Pronunciation RealAudio

cheval de bataille (shuh-VAL duh ba-TAH-yuh) noun
plural: chevaux de bataille (shuh-VOH duh ba-TAH-yuh)

A favorite topic; hobbyhorse.

[From French, literally battle-horse.]

"By then (Kenneth) Neate was already singing much heavier roles, such as Florestan in Fidelio, Lohengrin and, the part that became his cheval de bataille, Tannhauser."
Elizabeth Forbes; Obituary: Kenneth Neate; Independent (London, UK); Jul 1, 1997.

"Rossini's Stabat Mater was long castigated by churchmen and sober-minded critics for its supposed worldliness and operatic flamboyance. Even today it can cause raised eyebrows with its eclectic mix of styles, ranging from the austere, archaic Eja Mater and Quando Corpus Morietur to the full-blooded theatricality of the soprano aria Inflammatus, cruelly dubbed by George Bernard Shaw "the spavined cheval de bataille of obsolete prima donnas".
Richard Wigmore; The Arts: Classical CD of the Week; The Daily Telegraph (London, UK); Dec 4, 1999.

This week's theme: words of horse-related origins.


There lives more faith in honest doubt, / Believe me, than in half the creeds. -Alfred, Lord Tennyson, poet (1809-1892)

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