The Demise of De Luxe

By Maeve Maddox

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In a conversation about hotels the other evening, I heard a woman say “the lobby was luxe.”

I’d never heard luxe without the de. At least not in English.

In the French expression the de is a preposition and the luxe is a noun, literally “of luxury.” In English we’d say “luxurious.”

Following French usage, the OED entry gives de luxe as two words and classifies it as an adjective phrase.

Merriam-Webster spells deluxe as one word and defines it as “notably luxurious or elegant; sumptuous or elaborate.”

Booksellers have long offered “deluxe editions” of popular books and the label has spread to other products:

The terms special edition, limited edition and variants such as deluxe edition, collector’s edition and others, are used as a marketing incentive for various kinds of products, originally published products related to the arts, such as books, prints or recorded music and films, but now including cars, fine wine and other products. —Wikipedia

Apparently just plain luxe enjoys wide popularity. Numerous hotels call themselves “Luxe Hotel.”

Luxe and deluxe bump up against each other in newspaper coverage, for example this story in the San Francisco Business Times uses “luxe” in the headline and “deluxe” in the story

S.F. tower to become luxe hotel (headline)
Partners will likely shell out an additional $500 a square foot to convert it from an empty AT&T office to the deluxe downtown destination.

I came across a hotel site (Maddens on Gull Lake) that offers luxury accommodations, premium accommodations and deluxe accommodations.

The word luxe derives from Latin luxus, “excess” or “abundance.”

I plan to keep putting a de with my luxe.

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4 Responses to “The Demise of De Luxe”

  • Brad K.

    But then, Electrolux has been doing without the “de” for lots of years. At least, I think that is where the “de luxe electrical” sweeper got its name.

  • John Samuel

    In fact, i was unknown about the usage of luxe. In fact, in most places I have found only the usage of deluxe, especially in cases of hotels. Thanks Maeve for the topic

  • tmg

    Interesting ~ I see “luxe” a lot lately, especially in clothing ads and catalogs. I have been wondering how to pronounce it and what it means. I didn’t realize it was a shortened “deluxe.”
    Thanks for clearing that up for me!
    I, too, will keep the de on my luxe.

  • Steve V.

    Or perhaps one could say, “the hotel lobby was urious.”

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