Monday, December 13, 2010

Pince-Nez Terminology Trivia


Some Renaissance readers may be a bit obsessive about using correct terms like my colleague, the oft quoted Mr. Johnson. While much of the following has been covered in previous posts, you will find this summary interesting and informative.

  • Pince-nez, pronounced pahns-nay, is French and literally means pinch-nose. The term is singular although the plural is the same.
  • The wording "pair of pince-nez" is wrong as pince-nez is singular.
  • Pince-nez should never be called spectacles. Eyeglasses is the proper term. From the 1860's to the early 1930's, eyeglasses and spectacles had distinct meanings. Eyeglasses were pince-nez and spectacles had temples or arms.
  • Eyewear was unisex until the late 1930's.
  • Pince-nez nose pads are properly called nose guards or nose guard grips. Nose pads on this site refer to silicone "boot style" pads which can be applied over the nose guards for a more comfortable and secure fit of the pince-nez to the wearer's nose bridge.
  • Pince-nez mounting vs. pince-nez frame. If a pince-nez is rimless, it is a mounting. If a pince-nez has rims for lenses, it is a frame.

We hope that the above may be of some interest to you and that it clears up some terminology confusion.

Again, it is most important to search the "Annotated Table of Contents" on the left side of this site. Keep the comments coming!

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