Category Archives: Word Love

It’s wonderful to learn about new words and languages, especially strange and lovely words.

Billet Doux


Billet doux – noun /bil-ay-DOO/ – A French word meaning a love letter.

The only sadness is the living without you, without hearing the notes of your voice with its particular intimacies of inflection.” – Scott Fitzgerald to Zelda Fitzgerald, 1934.

Goofy, my darling, hasn’t it been a lovely day? I woke up this morning and the sun was lying like a birthday parcel on my table so I opened it up and so many happy things went fluttering into the air; love to Doo-do and the remembered feel of our skins cool against each other in other mornings like a school mistress.” –  Zelda Fitzgerald to Scott Fitzgerald, 1930.

I’m particularly in love with their love letters to each other. Much of the attention on their relationship has focused on the negative  and erratic side, dwelling on Scott’s battle with alcoholism along with the highs and lows of his literary career and Zelda’s mental breakdown years later. But these letters show their devotion to each other are hauntingly romantic and passionate. Well-written love letters, for me, are the bomb.

It is evident in this particular letter, written just before their marriage, the extent of their devotion to each other.

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Toska – noun /ˈtō-skə/ – Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness.

“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”
― Vladimir Nabokov

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