chaise longue » chaise lounge

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. (AP, September 1, 2005)
  • Try this: A little cartoon of a Ford Expedition in the left lane with a guy on top sprawled out in a chaise lounge, roasting a bratwurst over a fire, yakking on a BlackBerry, as traffic piles up behind him. Caption: DON’T BE A LANE CAMPER! (Seattle Times, September 1, 2005)
  • “It’s kind of sad,” Walter Crispell, 73, said while taking a break last week on a comfortable chaise lounge on the store’s second floor. “After I turned 70, everything went to hell.” (Poughkeepsie Journal, August 30, 2005)

This one needs a bit of investigating. The term “chaise lounge” is used, especially in the USA, to refer both to chaise longues and to what others might call a sun lounger.… Clearly, chaise longues have existed for centuries, and three things are unclear. First, when and where the misspelling originated. Second, whether the mispronunciation began earlier, later, or at the same time. Third, when and where the sun lounger began to be named “chaise lounge”.

[CW, 2005/09/02: several examples added.]

[AZ, 2005/09/02: this one is listed in many sources on usage and errors, including Brians and MWDEU (which has a pretty detailed entry on the expression).]

| link | entered by dadge, 2005/09/02 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by fredlet , 2005/03/08 at 1:23 am

    its french in origin.
    “The original form, chaise longue, is French, meaning “long chair”. Though the chaise lounge form is a classic example of folk etymology’s changing an odd foreign word into something more meaningful, in one way it’s hard to criticise—it is, after all, a seat that one lounges on.”…

  2. 2

    Commentary by Jerome Colburn , 2005/03/21 at 10:14 pm

    Webster’s 11th Collegiate shows “chaise lounge” to “ca. 1906″.

  3. 3

    Commentary by laguna3dguy , 2005/07/24 at 11:08 pm

    I’m caught off guard here. I had always assumed (in print) the writer misspelled “lounge”, even though now I see the French word longue, applies validly. What surprises me is that I have never heard it pronounced “SHAIZ L-AH-NG”. Do people ever pronounce it that way?

    It seems that maybe even the French would accept “lounge” as a better name. After all, is “long” more descriptive than “lounge”?

    That is a lounging chair.
    That is a long chair.
    And that over there?

    That’s a lawn chair!
  4. 4

    Commentary by Chris Waigl , 2005/07/25 at 1:22 am

    I have been debating with myself whether to add “[chaise] longue > lounge” to my collection of French eggcorns (which I’ve named “poteaux roses”), but in French, the pronunciations of the two words are just too far apart:

    In IPA, you’d transcribe “longue” (feminine form of the adjective “long” — they “u” only serves to indicate that the preceding “g” is a stop) as [lõgə]; and “lounge” as [l̃ɑndʒ] (the second character should be a script-a with a tilde, similar to ã) — but this is debatable: “lounge” is not a word that French has borrowed (back) from English. I only see it in the names of chic bars. There’s a “Lizard Lounge” in Paris (where I live), and as far as I can tell, the patrons and neighbors aren’t sure how to pronounce the name.

    As a spelling error, it does happen, though, and some re-interpretation of the sense may be involved as well, in some cases.

  5. 5

    Commentary by Robert , 2006/06/21 at 6:29 am

    Until I read about this term, I thought it was spelled “chase lounge,” and google has 28,800 results for this (though many of them seem to refer to actual lounges).

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