A douceur

Posted by R. Berg on November 14, 2001

In Reply to: A douceur posted by ESC on November 14, 2001

: This sentence refers to an American company in the 1700s: "There were two employees, William Coulthard, a clerk, who was paid $500 per year, and John Valentine Cline, a porter who earned $10 a month plus 'an hint of a douceur at Christmas in case of good behavior.'"

: What is "a douceur"? I'm not familiar with this term. Is it like a "Christmas bonus"? An online dictionary says a "douceur" is "a conciliatory gift."

The OED saith:
In Middle English, app. naturalized; but in modern use, since 17th c., a French loa[word removed in order to comply with Google's Publisher Policy].
1. Sweetness and pleasantness of manner; amiability, gentleness. Obs.
2. An agreeable or pleasant speech; a complimentary phrase. Obs.
3. A conciliatory present or gift; a gratuity or 'tip'; a bribe.