I was briefly derailed while reading Korsha Wilson’s excellent piece on restaurant criticism by an unfamiliar word: “The servers outfitted in white suit jackets designed by Tom Ford wheeling around silver gueridons and tableside flambe stations…” What was a gueridon? Turns out it’s “a small usually ornately carved and embellished stand or table”; the word is from French guéridon, “Gueridon, character in 17th century farces and popular songs.” (According to French Wikipedia, where you can see a number of images of gueridons, the farce character was “un jeune esclave noir” [a young black slave], which is certainly ironic in this context.) I love learning new words, and thought I’d pass this one along (though doubtless many readers are already familiar with it — everybody’s wordhoard is different).


  1. I thought a guéridon was a pedestal table, with a single pillar instead of four legs. And no wheels. I stand corrected.

  2. mollymooly:

    Follow Hat’s link to French Wikipedia. There are a couple of single-legged variants. The cedar pedestal (I assume the number of feet is irrelevant) that I had made to hold coffee/tea/cocoa on the right side of my recliner now has two names.

  3. Remember tv dinner tables in the 50s ? Those were gueridons in all but name. You can still buy them, I find, with wheels even.

  4. I keep my computer on a guéridon like the one at Fontainebleau only with a cast metal piétement central and a marble top, no tiroir. I’m sitting at it now and the marble makes my hands cold.

  5. I blame collinsdictionary. This was a word I remember looking up repeatedly, along with plafonnier.

    I still surmise that the prototypical guéridon is a pedestal table, but my previous prototype was a simple two-person café table, as opposed to an ornate sidetable with a drawer.

  6. I recently learned the English word gilet, meaning a cyclist’s tight, wind-proof vest, at about the same time that the gilets jaunes first emerged in the news.

  7. But maillot jaune is a sign of a leader in a multi-day cycling competition.


    ‘…probablement composé de “o gué” et de “laridon”. Il est utilisé dans les chansons satiriques pour se moquer d’un personnage.’


    I got as far as to find that Laridon is a dog’s name? This is all too weird.

  9. D.O. – not always. In the Giro d’Italia, the race leader wears the maglia rosa. In the Vuelta a España, the maillot rojo.

  10. AJP Crown says

    The Tour of Britain leader wears a fawn wooly cardigan.

  11. 🙂 (a green jersey, actually)

  12. Interesting!

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