from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A cradle-song; especially, a vocal or instrumental composition of a tender, quiet, and soothing character.


  • Doubtless she knew it too, as she sat there sewing on the frail garment which lay across her knee and singing blithely under her breath some air with cadence like a berceuse.

    Robert W. Chambers, Athalie, 1915

  • Old as were the words, the melody was older -- so old and quaint and sweet that it seemed a berceuse fashioned to soothe the drowsing centuries, lest the memories of ancient wrongs awake and rouse the very dead from their Gothic tombs.

    Robert W. Chambers, The Maids of Paradise, 1903

  • Historically minded viewers will notice that the accompanying music — the berceuse from Gabriel Faure’s Dolly Suite — was used as the opening theme to the long-running radio series from Davies’s youth, the sweet, literate Listen With Mother, a show of stories and songs for the under-5 set and their mothers.

    Benjamin Schwarz, 'Intimate History,' The Atlantic, April 2010


This word comes from the French ‘bercer,’ to rock.