One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A common edible woodland mushroom with a brown or gray cap, a slender stem, and white gills.
Amanita vaginata and A. fulva, family Amanitaceae, class Hymenomycetes
- ‘The grisette differs from other Amanita species by having no ring on the stem.’
- ‘The main edible species of the genus are the blusher, grisette, and orange.’
- ‘On the whole, the best varieties of mushroom grow in wooded areas, whether deciduous, as for the cep and grisette, or coniferous, as for chanterelles and the Japanese matsutake and some kinds of boletus.’
- ‘Unlike many other amanitas, the grisette and its relatives have no partial veil covering the immature gills, and no subsequent ring encircling the stalk.’
2archaic A young working-class Frenchwoman.
- ‘Charles Letellier, for instance, decried the figure's indecent state of undress (she is shown stripped down to her petticoat) and compared her bare arms to those of modern grisettes and washerwomen.’
- ‘The champagne is flowing, as a group of grisettes discuss men and love.’
- ‘Where are the joyful students and the grisettes of ‘days bygone’?’
- ‘Thompson begins her analysis with the prostitute and the grisette, as free women whose interaction with the market was deemed in popular imagery of the 1830s as immoral and ultimately unsuccessful, if not tragic.’
- ‘Now a confirmed bachelor preferring the company of the grisettes at Maxim's, he shuns Hanna, who nevertheless sets out to win him.’
French, from gris ‘gray’ + the diminutive suffix -ette; in grisette (sense 2) the term derives from the gray dress material typically worn by such women; grisette (sense 1) is an extended use.
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