Posted by Bookworm on November 12, 2004
In Reply to: A mere bagatelle my dear posted by Bruce Kahl on November 12, 2004
: : The radio announcer was reading a commercial involving bagatelles and then ad libbed: "it's a mere bagatelle my dear". Is this a famous line from a play or book? Or, is it just a phrase? An admittedly quick Google search didn't give me a source. It did, however, confirm that this phrase is indeed used to denote a trifle.
: Could it be a "mere bag of shells"?
: I think this was made famous by Ralph Kramden as he was discussing something which he considered of no consequence with Ed.
No, the phrase is indeed "a mere bagatelle, my dear". I was just wondering if it was used in a literary work.
According to Webster's online dictionary:
1. A light piece of music for piano.
2. Something of little value or significance.
3. (British) a table game in which short cues are used to knock balls into holes that are guarded by wooden pegs; penalties are incurred if the pegs are knocked over.
Etymology: Bagatelle \Bag`a*telle"\, noun. [French expression, from Italian bagatella; compare to Prov. Italian bagata trifle, Old French bague, Pr. bagua, bundle. See Bag, noun.].