November 19, 2012
sequin (noun)
\SEE-kwin\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a small piece of shiny metal or plastic used as an ornament especially on clothes
How do you use it?
We put the finishing touches on our dance recital costumes by adding blue and magenta sequins to the headbands.
Are you a word wiz?

The word "sequin" decorated several languages before arriving in English. In what language do you think "sequin" began its journey to English?

Your word skills are shining if you chose C! The history of "sequin" begins with the Arabic word "sikkah," meaning "die, coin." Italian speakers adopted "sikkah" as "zecca" and applied it to a place where coins are made, a mint. "Zecca" then developed into "zecchino" and it returned to the coin sense. French-speakers picked the word up as "sequin," and then English-speakers adopted the spelling but returned to the original meaning of an Italian or Turkish coin. Eventually, English "sequin" gained its second meaning of a small shiny metal ornamentation for clothing, understandable since sequins look like tiny coins.
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