What is the origin of the word ‘silhouette’?
Étienne de Silhouette (1709–67) was a French author and politician. Why he gave his name to the dark outline of something against a brighter background remains obscure. One account says that the word ridiculed the petty economies Silhouette introduced while holding the office of Controller General, while another refers to the shortness of his occupancy of that post. A scholarly French dictionary suggested that Silhouette himself made outline portraitswith which he decorated the walls of his château at Bry-sur-Marne. More than two centuries on, we shall probably never know the truth.
Silhouette /sɪluːˈɛt/ 一词指“剪影”，“（浅色背景衬托出的）暗色轮廓”。该词取自一位法国作家和政治家的名字，即Étienne de Silhouette（1709–67）。为何使用他的名字，这仍然是个迷。一个说法是，该词是嘲笑他在1759年担任总干事时引入的小经济体架构，也有人认为是指他的短暂任期。一本学术性的法国词典解释到，Silhouette画出自己的轮廓肖像，用这些肖像来装饰他的城堡墙面。两个多世纪过去了，我们可能永远不会知道真相到底如何。