Definition of bijou in US English:



  • (especially of a residence or business establishment) small and elegant.

    ‘the greasy spoons have given way to bijou restaurants’
    • ‘The title is certainly a fair description of the 15x15 sq ft bijou premises in Stable Mews, in Leigh.’
    • ‘The tree would be dressed in a sea of twinkling white lights - nothing else save for some sort of interesting piece of art work on the top bought from some little bijou art shop in Morocco.’
    • ‘Compact and bijou, Belfast is nonetheless a world-beater.’
    • ‘Inner-city sheds are being sold for a king's ransom, large back gardens are being turned into multi-unit developments and smart operators in posh districts are turning out-houses and garages into bijou dwellings.’
    • ‘They started 15 years ago and between them now boast restaurants, hotels, a university campus, a sports stadium, arts centres, new bridges and bijou housing.’
    • ‘What used to be their homes and even workshops are now largely weekend cottages or bijou conversions for long-distance commuters.’
    • ‘A sign in the driveway of the waterside mansion doesn't quite say ‘tradesmen's entrance ’, but it directs visitors to the back door, where a bijou sports car sits in the garage.’
    • ‘The jewel in the crown of this bijou empire is the Seafood Restaurant, which he opened in the early Seventies.’
    • ‘Never mind that the club will be evicted from their ground at the end of the season, which will be bulldozed into a building site from which bijou homes will arise.’
    • ‘When the swinging Sixties brought a revival, the shabby stables found themselves transformed into chic, bijou dwellings for artists, authors and those with general designs on being fabulous.’
    • ‘Sure there are upmarket towns like Peebles and Perth, with bijou cafes and hand-knitted jumper shops, many of which are aimed more at the tourists than the natives.’
    • ‘A two-bedroom flat in bijou Holly Walk, not far from Hampstead Heath but not exactly in view of it either, was just fifty quid shy of a million pounds.’
    • ‘But they are not planning to make the bijou residence in Denholme Road, Oxenhope, their home - Mr Beaumont intends to convert it into a studio where he will paint and produce stained glass work.’
    • ‘So you have this strange contrast - small country shops, local country pubs, and then little bijou design shops in the middle of nowhere.’
    • ‘Here an ancient citadel coils around an old port and bijou restaurants crowd around a modern marina.’
    • ‘It is no longer possible to stroll up the road to a corner store (all of them now bijou residences) so that you never needed a car, using the tram or ferry on the rare occasions when sorties were made into the city.’
    • ‘When the handsome Hollywood actress Brooke Shields, left, starred as Roxie Hart in the West End musical Chicago over the summer, she picked out a bijou house in Marylebone as her home.’
    • ‘The complete tour of a Tokyo apartment - compact and bijou, but clean, light and equipped with modern equipment to make the best of the limited space.’
    • ‘Kinloch House has recently invested in an indoor swimming pool and a new spa, and both take a stay in this bijou little hotel from average country break to a real pampering weekend.’
    • ‘Well, not all of them… the majority handed over a selection of bijou Edwardian residences which I shall have to go and look at, at some point.’
    small, little, compact, snug, cosy
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  • A jewel or trinket.

    • ‘For street fashion and younger boutiques - plus antiques and bijoux objets - head for the pedestrianised area around Via dei Fiori Chiari (by the Brera museum) and its northern extension in Via Solferino.’
    • ‘Across the street, an imaginative assortment of silver bijoux, beads and candles awaits you at Punto Magico.’
    • ‘The columned patio seemed small and intricate, like some bijou box, and behind it the palace's sequence of towers, courtyards and light airy chambers, even brighter and calmer than was possible in so bright and golden a sun.’
    • ‘It is well preserved, especially in that it has an intact finial which consists of an inverted bowl, a wheel and a bijou on a bronze staff, resembling those of Tibetan style pagodas found in Yuan, China.’
    • ‘For evidence of good standing in the realm of higher culture, he amasses painting, statuary, and artistic bijoux, as his stocks and bonds certify to his standing in the economic world.’
    ornament, novelty, gewgaw, piece of bric-a-brac, bibelot, trinket, trifle, bauble, gimcrack, bagatelle, curio, curiosity, plaything, toy
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French, from Breton bizou ‘finger ring’, from biz ‘finger’.