See definition in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
Definition of louche in English:
Disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way: the louche world of the theater
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I thought I knew the word “louche” when I read that Sidney Blumenthal had used it for John Boehner in an email unearthed in the Hillary Clinton frolics.
It is a word I would have expected to see describing Noel Coward – his life, his writing – but not John Boehner.
Blumenthal wrote to the Secretary of State:
"Boehner is despised by the younger, more conservative members of the House Republican Conference. They are repelled by his personal behavior. He is louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle." He added: "Boehner has already tried to buy the members with campaign contributions and committee assignments, which he has already promised to potentially difficult members. His hold is insecure. He is not [Newt] Gingrich, the natural leader of a 'revolution,' riding the crest into power. He is careworn and threadbare, banal and hollow, holding nobody's enduring loyalty."
I would certainly agree with most of that. Boehner comes off as a stumblebum, a traveling salesman who spent the previous evening in a gin mill. The only definitive thing about him is the hard edge he takes on when talking about President Obama. Boehner and his down-river compatriot Mitch McConnell come off as contemporary border-state versions of the old Deep South - or South Africa. The sneer, the tone. Otherwise, Boehner is inarticulate, inscrutable.
I would expect somebody truly louche to be wearing a top hat or a monocle, a smoking jacket or a cape – not sporting man-tan coloration and slurred speech.
With the clown-car scramble going on at the moment, I would surely settle for louche.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.