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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Lorgnette \Lor`gnette"\n. [F.] An opera glass; pl. elaborate double eyeglasses.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"opera glass with a handle," 1803 (from 1776 as a French word in English), from French lorgnette, from lorgner "to squint," also "to leer at, oogle" (16c.), from lorgne "squinting," of uncertain origin. With diminutive suffix -ette. Compare also French lorgnon "eyeglass, eyeglasses."


n. 1 An opera glass with a handle. 2 Elaborate double eyeglasses.


n. eyeglasses that are held to the eyes with a long handle


A lorgnette is a pair of spectacles with a handle, used to hold them in place, rather than fitting over the ears or nose. The word "lorgnette" is derived from the French lorgner, to take a sidelong look at, and Middle French, from lorgne, squinting. They were invented by Englishman George Adams. The lorgnette was usually used as a piece of jewelry, rather than to enhance vision. Fashionable ladies usually preferred them to spectacles. These were very popular at masquerade parties and used often at the opera (becoming the model for today's opera glasses) . They were worn popularly in the 19th century.

The lorgnette was employed as a prop and affectation by early 20th century trial lawyer Earl Rogers, and one is featured on the front cover dust jacket of his biography, Final Verdict, by his daughter Adela Rogers St. Johns.

Usage examples of "lorgnette".

Melanie raised the lorgnette to her eyes and looked about the room with it, an affectation that always amused both Christine and Eleanor, who dipped her head behind her book now to hide her smile.

Melanie said, her lorgnette suspended in the air, her free hand pressed to her heart.

But she brightened noticeably at sight of just the one person, lifted both her chin and her lorgnette, and swept across the room with Christine in tow in a manner that would have had Eleanor in stitches of mirth if she could just have witnessed it.

Melanie was tapping her lorgnette against the wooden arm of her chair.

Bertie and Hector laughed heartily, the Marchioness of Rochester raised her lorgnette to her eyes, Mrs.

He had aunts and uncles galore to fuss over him, as well as a grandmother and a great-aunt, the handle of whose lorgnette got tangled up in the lace of his skirt for one anxious moment.

She carried a long-handled lorgnette in her right hand, an affectation she had indulged in for as far back as Aidan could remember, though he suspected that, as with Wulf and his quizzing glass, she had perfect eyesight.

The lorgnette was turned upon Eve, who sat quietly enough under the scrutiny, though Aidan expected that at any moment she would jump to her feet again and demand to be taken away.

She used her lorgnette to display her displeasure at such an unseemly display of levity.

Her grandmother, laughing too, picked up her lorgnette in one hand, and inclined her head, setting her plumes to nodding vigorously.

The woman was peering haughtily up at the ceiling through her lorgnette and pince-nez, as if the driver could see her disdain through the walls of the coach.

Auntie trained her lorgnette on the Prince so as not to miss this thrilling Theatre of the Absurd.

His lorgnette, having slipped from his pocket, hung on its string almost to the floor.

Purnam was seated in a thronelike chair near the dance floor, closely peering through her lorgnette and studying each pair of dancers that waltzed by.

Miss Deane put up her lorgnette and surveyed her lovely portait with an interested air.