I’m a sucker for a shiny adjective, and today’s word of the day reminds me of a stiletto heeled pump, covered in glue, rescued with two fingers from an oil drum full of sparkles. Entrez: Blasé.
The word has a tinge of oxymoron to it, since it describes the emotional imperviousness of she who is fully permeated. The French verb blaser means “to blunt” or “to dull,” presumably from overuse and exposure. It comes from the Middle Dutch blasen which means “to blow” in every sense of that word (including that one).
Taking this path, it reminds me of an often misused word, decadent. Decadent literally means “affected by moral decay” but you’ll sooner hear it used to describe fudge.
Delving into the origins of blasé, I now understand that it was never merely a sophisticated sneer at proletarian pastimes. It’s the well-traveled nostril rejecting a rail at midnight. It’s the knowing pause before declining drink number two. Of political protest, it’s the voice that originates in the belly, not the heart; less passionate perhaps, but less afraid, less sibilant, and more likely to be chain-smoking Camels.
I thought blasé was salty like caviar, but it’s actually bitter, like experience.