Definition of fin de siècle in English:

fin de siècle


  • 1Relating to or characteristic of the end of a century, especially the 19th century.

    ‘fin-de-siècle art’
    • ‘It seems like the artist has left behind the walkways of everyday life to be reunited with a fin-de-siècle symbolism, not without taking a detour through the surrealists or a stop in the limitless territories of Marcel Broodthaers.’
    • ‘In this sense fin-de-siècle Scotland was imperial, but it was also - far more than England - European.’
    • ‘Everywhere, that is, other than fin-de-siècle America, where our uniquely philistine upper class seems to prefer the uniformity of the subdivision to the chaos of bohemia.’
    • ‘Dated, fin-de-siècle symbolism is deader than a doornail (which at least doesn't rot), without the ghost of a chance at survival.’
    • ‘‘An idle man-about-town,’ one of those fin-de-siècle dandies who ambled through the crowds of European cities in search of bustle, gossip, and beauty.’
    • ‘Few cultural moments are as indelible as the one that occurred in fin-de-siècle Montmartre.’
    • ‘Take the case of Jacques Joseph, a young German-Jewish surgeon practising in fin-de-siècle Berlin.’
    • ‘My intent was to take him out of the nostalgia ghetto of fin-de-siècle Vienna and present him as a voice which, though uttered in another time and place, speaks with an almost uncanny prescience to our own moment.’
    • ‘As a result, her analysis of the assimilation of nineteenth-century medical discourses into French and English fin-de-siècle literature principally focuses on the reappearance of the dandy in decadent literature.’
    • ‘Brennan's fin-de-siècle visions of Stéphane Mallarmé were part of his quest for a uniquely Australian post-Romantic poetic.’
    • ‘D' Offay started his £30m-a-year business when he was a student after buying the books and papers of two obscure fin-de-siècle poets, which he catalogued and sold at a profit.’
    • ‘This patriarchal order now came to be contested by women organized in the name of feminism and was also threatened by what has been seen as a fin-de-siècle crisis of masculine identity.’
    • ‘We can find no fin-de-siècle equivalents of those grand progressive narratives produced by Comte, Marx, and Darwin; instead of a record of progress and emancipation, modernists often saw the past as a burden from which we are never free.’
    • ‘The wood-lined restaurant, with its fin-de-siècle mirrors and chequerboard floor tiles, could be almost anywhere in small-town France.’
    • ‘Chances are, those that emerge will be far simpler machines than the dreamy fin-de-siècle prototypes.’
    • ‘He, of course, can and will do just that with the release of his fin-de-siècle modernist musical fantasia Moulin Rouge.’
    • ‘What is also of note regarding Snyder's quote is the gap between the two artists: Fuller's fame emerging out of fin-de-siècle Paris and Deren at the beginning of a new, modern era of avant-garde filmmaking.’
    • ‘There he became attached to the fin-de-siècle group which centred on Beardsley; he was an original member of the Rhymers Club with Yeats, Wilde, L. Johnson, and others.’
    • ‘This strange mix of the generation of 1968's perpetual challenging of authority and the cool detachment of fin-de-siècle postmodern hip can find no meaning beyond the rejection of all the meanings mankind has cherished hitherto.’
    • ‘Mark Micale, certainly one of the best and most insightful writers on this period of the development of these fields in science, has now produced a truly valuable volume on the way that the arts and sciences of the fin-de-siècle interacted.’
    1. 1.1 Decadent.
      ‘there was a fin-de-siècle air in London's clubland last night’
      • ‘Translucent orange Starck pieces stand next to pink fin-de-siècle armchairs, with cheeky, punched-through dividers offering an air of privacy in some corners.’
      • ‘A boom late in the decade promoted a rash of extravagant pubs, and of theatres and music halls, a type dominated nationally by Frank Matcham, whose buildings gainsaid fin-de-siècle effeteness with a thumping heartiness.’
      • ‘And yet it suits the current fin de siècle mood and the unending stream of vulgar revelations in the media.’
      • ‘I fear an indefinite and incoherent prolongation of a fin-de-siècle jurisprudence, where the court serves as nothing more than an ad hoc arbiter of issues it finds too difficult to decide in a principled way.’


  • The end of a century, especially the 19th century.

    • ‘Moreover, it hinders an appreciation of the extent to which Warburg's ideas were a product of the intellectual currents extending from the Enlightenment to the fin de siècle.’
    • ‘French expressions range from the integrated (but variously pronounced) garage through elite/élite and coup d' etat/état to fin de siècle and pâtisserie.’
    • ‘It is to the histories rather than the mature tragedies that we should look for the most characteristic concerns of Shakespeare at the fin de siècle.’
    • ‘Melissa Purdue is a PhD candidate at the University of Kentucky where she is working on her dissertation on ‘New Woman’ authors at the fin de siècle.’
    • ‘Embankment is the apotheosis of Whiteread's work, the finest thing she has done in a decade, even though that decade saw her produce some of the most memorable works of the fin-de-siècle.’
    • ‘To find out why Romantic poets - such as Blake, Coleridge, and Wordsworth - were so fascinated by the apocalypse around an earlier fin de siècle, check out Norton's very comprehensive overview.’
    • ‘It is not properly a topic, and yet we cannot avoid its presence in the fin de siècle, so what is it?’
    • ‘Speaking of the fin de siècle and opium, how about writing an exposé on the new $10 bill, which features the most delicate of flowers, the eternal poppy.’
    • ‘One of the most powerful issues in the debates of the fin de siècle has been the communications revolution, and in particular the possibilities of the Internet, with its 147 million users worldwide.’
    • ‘Their beautiful and strange visions of an inner dream world were the last manifestations of Romanticism, appealing to a public looking for escapism and a renewal of spirituality at the fin de siècle.’
    • ‘In the Decadent and Symbolist atmosphere of the nineteenth century fin de siècle when all things French were of interest in sophisticated circles, some English writers did take up this new French form.’
    • ‘A new year inspires reflections on the fin de siècle.’


French, ‘end of century’.


fin de siècle

/ˌfã də ˈsjɛkl(ə)/