Vague

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Vague can be confusing.

  • As a French noun that has been adopted into English, vague (more properly vague) is pronounced with the long A of 'calm' and 'bar': IPA: /vɑːg/. It is the French word for 'wave' (as in the sea).
    • Students of Film or media in general may know of the Nouvelle Vague ('New Wave') - a movement in French cinema that began in the 1950s featuring such films as Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud (Elevator to the Scaffold), directed by Louis Malle in 1958; Hiroshima mon amour, Alain Resnais, and Les Quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows), Francois Truffaut, both 1959; À bout de souffle (Breathless), Jean-Luc Godard 1960; L'Année dernière à  Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad), Alain Resnais, 1961; and Jules et Jim, Francois Truffaut, 1962. It was a very influential fashion in film-making, giving rise to nouvelle vague schools of cinema in Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, Japan and Poland.
      • (Don't confuse this word with the noun vogue /vəʊg/, or /vog/ in French, with only one letter of difference. It means 'fashion', and derives from the Italian vogare 'to row', via French vogue 'rowing, course, success'. There is a well-known magazine of women's fashions called 'Vogue'. There is a related English adjective voguish, which is a slightly old-fashioned synonym for 'trendy', or, more formally 'fashionable'. The phrase 'in vogue' may be more acceptable.)
  • The English adjective vague is pronounced 'VAIG', IPA: /veɪg/. It means 'lacking precision', 'unclear'; 'indefinite', 'shadowy'; and, of people, 'absent-minded', 'inexact'.
You may also like to see Vagary - vagueness.