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L. E. KASTNER, Litt.D. 







A II Y ig h ts vcs erv ed 


Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner Ltd., Frome and London 


THE present Glossary, as its title indicates, is an attempt to bring together 
and explain the French words and expressions which may be considered 
to belong more particularly to familiar speech as distinguished from the more 
formal language of higher literature. Though we are not without hope that it may 
render some service to those whom one might call the ' professional ' students of 
French, it is intended primarily to meet the needs of that ever-growing body of 
British readers and travellers who are interested in the France of to-day and her 
people, and are anxious to improve their knowledge of colloquial French. The 
average visitor to France who has not previously resided in that country is apt 
to find himself woefully at sea as soon as he comes into close contact with French 
people : he is not long in discovering that the sort of French he has acquired at 
school may be strangely different from that used by the natives ; and, as familiar 
speech is invading the stage more and more every day, his experience will be very 
similar if he attends a performance at one of the more popular theatres. The 
same fate is likely to await the reader at home who takes up one of Courteline's 
plays or a novel by Gyp. The perplexed reader or traveller may of course consult 
such dictionary as he has at his disposal, but if he does, more often than not 
he will draw a blank, or be offered an explanation of a given turn which is not 
infrequently misleading or even erroneous, because of the bad habit lexicographers 
as a class have of utilising, uncritically, the material accumulated by their pre- 
decessors. Whatever may be thought of our Glossary as a whole, we can claim 
that it has been compiled out of material collected first-hand during many years of 
intercourse with natives of all classes, and from the perusal of a large selection of 
representative modern French authors. Proof of this is afforded by the numerous 
passages not a tithe of those we have noted which are quoted in illustration, 
and of which we would have made greater use, had the space at our disposal per- 
mitted, the more so as there exists no French glossary, or dictionary for that matter, 
as far as we are aware, in which the definitions are supported by examples drawn 
from French authors of the present generation. A dictionary without quotations, 
as Voltaire said very aptly, is but a skeleton. Acting on this very sound principle, 
we have given (shorter) examples of our own for every expression admitted in 
the Glossary, even in cases where such expression is already illustrated by a 



quotation from a French author. Although, a large proportion of the voluminous 
matter gathered together in the preparation of this volume has had to be jettisoned 
in the process of selection, the labour entailed was necessary as a check to arbitrari- 
ness, and will be amply repaid if we have succeeded, as we hope, in providing the 
traveller and reader with a truly representative collection of the words and 
phrases he is most likely to encounter in his reading, or to hear or be called upon 
to use in conversation. 

We have ventured to draw a distinction between the words and expressions 
characteristic of familiar speech which form the bulk of the present Glossary, 
and those (marked with an asterisk) which are confined in the main to the work- 
ing classes, and may be described as popular. Apart from a certain number 
belonging to the specialised slang of particular classes, trades or professions, and 
offering little difficulty, such a classification can of course only be a very rough one, 
since, properly speaking, there is no such thing, nowadays especially, as a rigid line 
of demarcation between familiar speech and slang. Despite that, some general 
indication is possible, and the reader will be well advised to avoid in ordinary 
conversation the items designated by an asterisk. While on this topic, it 
may not be irrelevant to point out that many of the phrases included in this 
Glossary are not confined to familiar speech : some have a long and very respectable 
literary ancestry ; a few may even appear somewhat bookish to an Englishman. 
But it must not be forgotten that literary tradition is much stronger in France than 
with us, that the average Frenchman knows Ms own language much better than 
the average Englishman knows Ms, and that he is not averse from showing Ms 
knowledge, even in the most informal conversation. 

Linguistic and Mstorical notes have been added in aU cases where such additional 
information seemed helpful For tMs part of our work, we have consulted the 
cMef available authorities, and more particularly the writings of L. Sain^an, whose 
conclusions, though occasionally open to question, are always based on wide and 
accurate scholarsMp. 

We ought to add that considerations of a practical nature have induced us to 
separate from the rest of the Glossary the list of the more usual comparisons 
used in conversation and met with in reading: these will be found in an 

Lastly, it should be stated that in cases where an expression might be sought for 
under different headings, we have adopted, in order to facilitate reference, the purely 
arbitrary but convenient system of taking the first noun in the expression as the 
keyword, even though this noun may not be the most important word e.g. perdr e 
le go4t du pain will be found under go4t. In addition, cross-references have been 
given whenever comparison with synonymous or kindred expressions is likely to 
prove useful 

There remains the pleasant duty of thanking aU those to whom we have turned 


in our difficulties : our colleagues, Mme Andr6e Valette and Professor John Orr, 
have helped us to solve more than one difficult problem ; and M. Jean Darbelnet, 
in addition to supplying invaluable information on various points, undertook 
the exacting labour of reading through the whole of the proofs, much to our 
advantage. When all other sources failed we were particularly fortunate to be 
able to appeal, for the origin of certain expressions, to Professor Paul Barbier of the 
University of Leeds, an expert in such matters. We are also indebted to Professor 
Ripman for reading through our manuscript and making several helpful sugges- 
tions, most of which we have adopted. Although we have spared no pains, we do 
not pretend to have avoided all the pitfalls of a subject ranging over a very wide 
field ; not a few errors of omission and of commission, for which we are entirely 
responsible, can doubtless be laid to our charge. We can only hope that these 
will not be found to be very numerous, and that we maybe given the opportunity 
of correcting them in a second edition. 

L. E. K. 
J. M. 

July, 1929. 


A. Prouver par a plus b, To prove by 
logical reasoning, with mathematical 
precision, in. black and white. 

*a, prep. Popular speech frequently uses 
a, as did Old French, instead of de to 
denote possession, when the possessor 
is an animate being e.g. la femme & 
Jean, la maison a Pierre, I'idde au 
capitaine, etc. This old use has left 
a few traces in the written language 
e.g. la barque a C(h)aron, la bte au 
bon Dieu. Cp. La Mare au Diable of 
G. Sand. 

abasourdir, vb. tr. To dumbfound, be- 
wilder, flabbergast e.g. Cette nouvelle 
m'abasourdit, This piece of news flab- 
bergasts me. Une nouvelle abasourd- 
issante, A dumbfounding piece of news. 
Lit. ' to deafen *, * to stun ". 

*abat(t)age, n.m. Severe scolding, dress- 
ing-down, wigging e.g. fflanguer 
($ coper) unjameux abat(t)age, To give 
(To get) a rare dressing- down. 
Lit. the actioix of 'knocking down', of 

Nous allons lui flanquer un abat- 
tage dont il se souviendra (MATTPAS. 
SAHT, Bel- Ami). 
See Chaillot 2 (Zola). 

*abat(t)is, n.m,. pL Limbs (arms and logs) 
e.g. Tu peux numeroter tes abat(t)is I 
This is a stock threat or warning (lit. 
'You can number or take stock of your 
limbs ! ') with the force of : I'm going 
to put you through it I You're in for 
it ! I'U break every bone in your body! 
Avoir les abat(t)is canailles, To have 
coarse, plebeian hands and feet, to 
have 'beetle crushers and mutton 
fists '. 
Lit. * giblets ' (of chicken, etc.). 

Son accoutrement de nippe 
('clothes', 'togs') grisatres, trop 
grandes pour ses abatis derisoires, le 
rendait a la fois grotesque et lament- 
able (L. FBApjii, La Boite aux 

abattre, vb. tr. En abattre, To get through 
a great deal of work quickly, to do 
much work, to ' sweat *. 
J? stands for besogne or any of its synonyms. 
See besogne. 

a&lmer. 1. vb. tr. To injure, spoil e.g. 
s'abimer la sante (la vue), to injure one's 
health (sight). II s'est fait abimer, He 
got severely wounded, he was badly hit. 
An extended, familiar use of the verb, which, 
as Its derivation shows, meant originally to 
' cast into an abyss *. 

*2. vb. intr. To exaggerate, draw the long 
bow, come it strong. 

(Test pas vrai ce qu'on dit ? II y a 
un peu de vrai, mais vous abimez, les 
petits gars (H. BABBTTSSE, Le Feu). 
abomination, n.f. Any thing or person 
which inspires disgust. 

See empoisonner 2 (Duvernois). 
abondance, n.f. 1. (School slang) Wine 

diluted with much water, slops. 
2. Parler d* abondance, To speak im- 
promptu, with natural eloquence. 
An abbreviation of tho biblical phrase parler 
d' abondance de coeur, 'to speak out of the 
fullness of one's heart*. 

Ma foi ! la bonne personne 
parlait d'abondance, et judicieuse- 
ment, et m&m aussi bien gracieuse- 
ment (M. BOTJLBNGBB, Le Pavl du 

abouler. 1. vb. tr. To give (especially 
with the idea of reluctance) e.g. 
Aboule ton argent / Hand over (Tip up) 
the money ! Stump up 1 3?ork out I 



Qa veut dire gue Damblecourt a 
abouU (' forked out ') la forte somme 
(GYP, Les Froussards). 

2. vb. intr. To come, turn up, crop up ; 
(with this meaning s'abouler is also 
used) e.g. 11 (tf)aboulera a dix TIG.WCS, 
He'll turn up at ten. 

Celine arrivait le dimanche matin, 
disait : " Je vrfaboule pour uno 
balade ('a stroll 5 )" (J. K. HUYS- 
MANS, Les Sceurs Vatard). 

See chouettement (Komains), nez 

3 (Zola). 

*aboyeur, n.m. 1. Crier or salesman at 

public or private sales. 
*2. Man employed at the doors of shows 
or booths to entice people in, a 
' barker '. 

3. One who is constantly criticising people 
(in words or writing) e.g. Ce critique 
n'est qu'un aboyeur, He is merely a 
snarling critic. 

*4. Revolver, ' barker ', c barking-iron '. 
Op. azor 2, basset. 

akracadabrant, adj. Amazing, startling, 
incredible, marvellous e.g. nne his- 
toire abracadabrante, a cock-and-bull 

Prom abracadabra, a cabalistic word used as 
a spell in the Middle Ages. 

aforutij n.m and adj. Stolid and stupid 
person, fool, idiot. Un abruti (or 
ahuri) de Cliaillot, A blockhead, 
* cabbage-head ' (see Chaillpt 3). 

Quel est Vabruti qui allumo ? 
T'es pas dingo (* Are you daft *) ? 
Tu n'vois done pas qu*$a sVoit ! 
(H. BABBTJSSE, Le Feu). 

abrutir. 1. vb. tr. To tire out, to 
stupefy e.g. CTest un travail abrutis- 
sant, It is dry and wearisome work. 

2. 8'abrutir, To grow stupid, to become 
silly (as the result of plodding at a dull 
piece of work) e.g. On s'abrutit a ce 
m&tier-l&, Such work as that is enough 
to make one silly. 

acaMt, n.m. Kind, nature, temperament 
(of persons) e.g. C'est un homme d'un 
ban acabit y He is a good-natured fellow. 
As-tu jamais v% un imbecile de cet 
acabit ? Did you ever come across such 
an idiot ? Mre du mime acabit, To be 
of the same stamp. 

Origin unknown ; perhaps from Low latin 
accapitum, the mode according to which one 
held lands or domains. 

Ces defenseurs de tout acabit 
(* This motley crew of defenders *) 


lui donnaient dnfil d rctordre ( 4 gave 
him no end of trouble ') (P. ET V. 
MAUQTJERITTE, Lea Trwifontt du 

accojnmodant, adj. Un honwne accom- 
modant, An obliging man, one easy to 
deal with. Un homme pen accom- 
modant, A man not easy to deal with, 
a troublesome bedfellow. 
accomrooder, vb. tr. I. ACCOM modcr qncl- 
qu'un comma il fant f To give one a 
good hiding or To make ono smart 
under irony or reproaches, to ' sit 
upon' a person with a vengeaneo. 
See also Ibeurre 2 and sauce 8. 
2. Vous voilfo bien accommodc, ! You are in 

a pretty pickle, and no mistake ! 
accoucher, vb. intr. To say what ono has 
to say, after hesitation or with diffi- 
culty, to ' cough it up \ to * out with 
it * e.g. Allans, accouche, won rieux / 
Come now, out with it, old man I 
Elliptical for accoucher do ce qu'on tladirc* * to 
give birth to what one has to nay ', 

Laisse-moi placer mi mot ( s Lot 
me get a word in '), au moms.- 
Accouche/ crio le frdro, irnpationt 
d' avoir tort (0. H*. Bnis<iH )> Nini 

accroc, n.m. Sans accroe, Witliout a hitch. 
IM. " without a tear or rent '. 

II tenait avaut tout d ce qtiti 
(* He was above all anxious that ') 
la fete rotiRSit d'mi bout i\ Fautro 
sans accroc (MAUPASSANT, Mont- 

accroche-coBiir, n.m. Lock of hair or 
small curl twisted and smoothed down 
on the temples, * kiss-curl *, 4 ftptt-onrl '. 
Lit. * that which catchoa the hotirt ', Tlu* word 
and style were originally rustic and provin- 
cial, and wero Adopted first by prostitutes, 
from whom they paBHCd to p!nip8. Huch 
curls were very popular about 1875. Other 
appellations for the same thing are gulches, 

Bile, tranquillc, so oollait ties 
accroche-CG&ur BUT lo front avo<5 do 
Feau sucrce (^OLA, L' 'Atuummmr). 
accrocher, vb. tr. To pawn, to * pop ' 
e.g. II a accrochti &a m&ntre, Ho has 
popped his watch. 
Lit, " to hang or hook up *. 
accroire, t?6. tr. 1. Mn fair a accroire d 
queUiu'un, To impose upon a porson, 
(to try) to dccoivo some ono. 

Ah ! non, Louis, nous la fais pa# 
(* don't try it on with ms ') d'atissi 
bonno heure 1 ... Tu voudraia 



nous en faire accroiref (G. H. 
HIBSCH, " Petit " Louis, Boxeur}. 
2. S'en faire accroire, To be conceited, 
to * kid ' oneself. 

This verb is only used in. the present infinitive 
with faire. 

*acfaar, d% adv. With steadiness of pur- 
pose, in an unrelenting manner. 
Acfiar is an abbreviation of achctrnement, 
'rage *, * fmy % 'obstinacy ', 'keenness ', etc., 
and is used especially in the expression 
d'autor et d'achar, q.v. 

*aeheter, vb. tr. AcJieter quelqu'un, To 
make fun (or a fool) of somebody, to 
pull somebody's leg e.g. As-tu fini de 
m/'acheter ? Have you finished pulling 
my leg ? 

Lit. ' to buy *, cp. the English expressions 
* to be sold ' , " what a sell I ' Cp. also the 
equivalent phrase s& payer la Ute de quelqu'un 
(tate 24). 

acquit, n.m. faire quelque cliose par 
maniere d'acquit or pour V acquit de sa 
conscience or par acquit de conscience, 
To do something in order to have done 
with it, j ust to be able to say one has 
done it, i.e. carelessly, perfunctorily, 
anyhow, for form's sake, for conscience' 

Dehors, je cherchai un temps mon 

doserteur, par acquit de conscience, 

car jo devinais bien maintonant 

Ics serieuses raisons qu'il devait 

avoir eues de deserter (0. FARRJJURE, 

Dix-sept Histoires de Mar ins). 

*acrals ! or acr& ! interj. An exclamation 

to warn people to bo silent or 011 their 

guard : -Look out 1 Nix ! Be careful 1 

Mum's the word ! Shoe leather I 

e.g. Acre, v'la Ics Jlics (Vpatron)* Nix, 

here are the coppers (here's the boss) ! 

A deformation of sacrti. 

AcrS / fit La Poulo, en tendant sos 
oreilles plates (J. H. RGSNY, Dans 

acte, n.m. 1. JFaire acte de presence, 

Merely to put in an appearance. 
2. Prendre acte de, To take note of e.g. 

Je prends acte de vos paroles (de votre 

promesse), I take note of what you say 

(of your promise). 

A logal term, meaning ' to have a thing stated 

legally '. 
actif, n.m. Avoir a, son actif, To have to 

one's credit e.g. Ce boxeur a de belles 

wietoires ct> son actif. 

Lit. ' to have amongst one's assets * ; actif 

is the opposite of passif, * liabilities '. 

Vous avez d votre actif beaucoup de 
folies (H. LAVBD AN, Le nauveau Jeu). 

*aetiver, vb. intr. To make haste, to 

hustle e.g. Active ! Get a move on ! 

Put some vim into it ! 

Actw&r is properly a tr. vb., meaning * to urge 

on *, * to quicken '. 
*adjupete, n.m. N.C.O. in the French 

army (approximately the equivalent 

of regimental sergeant-major). 

A corruption of adjudant. Another uncom- 

Elimentary nickname for the same personage 
j adjuvache; see vache (a). 
adresse, n.f. A Padresse de, Intended for, 
aimed at e.g. Ce trait etait a votre, 
adresse, The hint was meant for you. 
Adr&sse here has the old meaning of ' direction 
towards a place ". 

II y ajouta quelques mots severes 
ot, V adresse de ('intended for ') ceux 
qui volent (A. HEBMANT, Gadet de 

See poisse (Lecache). 

adresser, s*. Vous vous adressez mat (or, 
ironically, bien), You have come to the 
wrong person, You have mistaken your 

advenlr, vb. intr. Advienne que pourra, 
Come (Happen) what may ! e.g. the 
proverbial saying Fais ce que dois, 
advienne que pourra, Do your duty, 
happen what may. 

A survival of que used absolutely as a neuter 

affaire, n.f. 1. Affaires, n.f. pi. (a) Business 
e.g. etre dans les affaires, to be in 
business ; faire des affaires, to do busi- 
ness (see also 14) ; faire des affaires 
d'or, to do a roaring trade, to make 
money hand over fist. 

I>u jour qu'ils sont arrives, il a 
ferm6 son cabaret et d6croche son 
enseigne. Les autres cafetiers ont 
fait des affaires d'or pendant la 
guerre (A. DATTBBT, Gontes du 

See corde 4 (Ohampsaur). 

(b) One's belongings, things, ' kit ' e.g. 
Ou sont mes affaires? Where are my 
things ? Vous attez me mettre 'mes 
affaires dans ma matte, Pack my things 
in my trunk. 

See air 6 (Barbusse). 

(c) Menses, monthlies e.g. Mile a ses 
affaires. Cp. anglais. 

2. Faire ses affaires, To ease oneself, to go 
to Mrs. Jones'. 

3. Avoir affaire ct guelgv?un, To have to 
deal with (talk to, see) someone e.g. 
J'ai affaire d vous, 1 want to speak tp 


you. 11 aura affaire a moi, He will 
have to settle that with me. 

Vraiment, c'est intolerable d 1 avoir 
affaire a (" to have to deal with ') 
des gens qui ne comprennent rien 
(MATTPASSANT, Monsieur Parent). 

4. Avoir affaire a forte partie, To have to 

deal with a dangerous (powerful) 
opponent, to have a hard nut to crack. 

5. Avoir son affaire. II a son affaire may 

mean: (a) He has 'caught it', he 
has received a * settler ', he has re- 
ceived a mortal wound, his goose is 
cooked ; (6) He is completely drunk ; 
(c) He has what he requires. Simi- 
larly J'ai votre (son) affaire, I can sup- 
ply what you need (he needs), I have 
the very thing for you (him). J'ai 
mon affaire, I have what I want. 

Ou allons-nous 1' installer ? de- 
manda ma mere. . . . L'etranger 
reflechit, puis s'ecria : " J'ai son 
affaire " (C. BERENICES, Le Corbeau). 

6. Cela ne fait rien a I 'affaire, That has 
(will have) no bearing upon the subject. 

7. Ge rfest pas une affaire, That is no groat 
matter, That's a (mere) trifle. 

8. G'est mon (son, votre, etc.) affaire, (a) 
That's my business, look-out ; I'll see 
to that ; Leave it to me ; (6) That 
suits me (generally with addition of 
bien e.g. C'est bien mon affaire, It's 
just what I want). 

II faudra, le pousser dans ce sens- 
la. Mon ami, M. Fabb6 Ohante- 
clair, qui VQUB a signale* a moi, m'a 
dit que c?&tait bien la votre affaire 
('that it was just the job for you ') 
(A. HEUMANT, Cadet de Coutras). 

9. C'est toute une affaire, (a) It is no trifle, 
It is a serious matter, It means a lot of 
trouble (bother) ; (b) It is quite a long 
story. (Also C'est toute une histoire.) 

10. En faire son affaire e.g. J'enfais mon 
affaire, I make it a personal matter, I 
make that my business, I take it on 
myself, I'll see to that, Leave it to me, 
I'll attend to this. 

Le fougueux Tartarin voulait 
s'elancer derriere lui, mais le prince 
Ten empgcha : " Laissoz . . . fen 
fais mon affaire " (A. DATTDET, 
Tartarin de Tarascon), 

11. JSn voil& une affaire (or histoire) ! (a) 
Here's a pretty piece of work, a pretty 
kettle of fish! (6) What a to-do! 
What a row about nothing ! 


12. Mtre hors d'affaire, To be out of 
danger, to be saved. 

13. Etre stir de son affaire e.g. 11 est, $ur 
de son affaire, He cannot escape it, He 
will pay for it, He'll ' catch it * for 

Si maman me d^couvrait, je serais 
sure de mon affaire (* I'd know about 
it ') (C. PARRJJJRE, Dix-sept Histoires 
de Marins). 

14. Faire des affaires, To make a fuss. 
See also I (a). 

15. Faire Vaffaire de, To suit e.g. Cela 
fait (bien) mon affaire, That is (just) 

what I want, That will (just) do for mo. 

II J 'era votre affaire, He is tho very man 

for you, the very man you want. Cela 
fera parfaitement Vaffaire, That will 

suit exactly. 

II vida son vorre ffun trait ( 6 at 
one gulp'), deposa quolquos sous 
sur la table et so depochait do sortir. 
Mais cela ne faisait pas V affaire des 
('did not suit tho 1 ) provocateurs 
(EROKMANN-OiiATBiAN 1 , Le vieux 

Si on voulait m'cn faire cadeau, 
jo 1'acceptorais tout do suito, cotto 
poupoe-la ! Mle ferait joliment mon 
affaire 1 (GrYP, Le Baron Sinai), 

16. Faire son affaire d quel^un, (a) To 
punish a person, to * give it ' some one, 
to settle his hash ; (b) to kill a person* 
to do for one, to cook his goose o.g. 
STtt le rencontre, il lui fera son affaire, 
If ho meets him, ho will * give it ' him 
(or, he will do for him). 

Je te promote de faire son af- 
faire au premier qui bougera (A. 
TiiKtTRiET, La Chanoinesse). 

17. Faire une affaire a guelgu^un, (a) To 
have a row with some one ; (6) to got 
some one into a scrape. 

18. La belle affaire/ This exclamation 
implies that a thing is not so diifieult 
or important as one seems to think, 
and may be equivalent to : Is that 
all ? It's not worth speaking of ; 
Stuff and nonsense ! Cp. histoire 4. 

Madame, s'ecria le baron, qu'est- 
ce done que de fairo six lieues pour 
trouver Mirza ? La belle affaire / 
(* It's a mere nothing ! *} (V, OnBUt- 
BXTLIBZ, L'Aventure de Ladulas 

II est trop jeune encore . . . 
pour savoir ce qu'il fait et ce cju'il 



dit. Georges a vingt-trois ans. 
Vingt-trois ans, la belle affaire/ 
('Do you call that old!') (H. 
BECQUE, Les Gorbeaux). 

19. L 'affaire a ete chaude, The fight (battle, 
encounter, discussion, quarrel, etc.) 
was fierce, It was warm work. 

20. & affaire est dans le sac, The matter is 
settled, or is getting on swimmingly. 
Originally a legal phrase denoting that a law- 
suit could begin, since all the documents 
relating to the case had been collected and 
were in the sac, i.e. the lawyer's bag. 

Votre oncle m'a dit que V affaire 
etait dans le sac (A. FEANCE, 
L'Anneau d'Amethyste). 
*21. Manquer ses affaires e.g. Mile manque 
ses affaires, is said of a woman to 
denote that she is wasting her time 
with an amant de coeur and neglecting 
serious lovers. 
22. Melez-vous de vos affaires ! Mind your 

own business ! 

*23. Montrer son affaire e.g. II montre son 
affaire, is said familiarly of a child in 
an indecent attitude. 

24. Quelle affaire/ or Que d'affaires/ 
What a fuss! What a bother! 
(implying l about nothing ', ' for a 
trifle '). 

25. Hegler son affaire a quelgu^un = 16. 

A mon secours, Bernard, cria 
Surot, &/ mon secours. Allons, 
arrive, Bernard. On va lui regler 
son affaire (* We'll settle his hash for 
him '), au lieutenant (P. ACKER, Le 
Soldat Bernard}. 

26. S'attirer une mauvaise affaire. To get 
into trouble, a moss, a (sad) scrape. 

27. Son affaire est claire or bonne, (a) He 
is in for it, he will ' catch it ' ; (6) His 
goose is cooked, he is done for (imply- 
ing either that he is ruined or that he 
is dying). 

28. Son affaire est faite = 27 (a) and (6), 
and may also mean : His fortune is 

29. (a) Tirer quelqu'un d'affaire, To got 
some one out of a difficulty, a scrape. 

Tu as fait des betises ? et tu viens 
t'adresser & moi pour que je te tire 
d' affaire (* to get you out of the 
hole ') ? (G-. COTJBTISLINB, Le fils). 
(b) Se tirer (or Sortir) $ affaire, To get out 
of a difficulty, a scrape ; to manage 
(things well) e.g. 11 sait se tirer 
d'affaire, He knows how to get out of 
trouble, how to manage things. 

Ilfaudrabien qvCil se tire d" affaire 
( c He'll have to get out of the mess 
himself '), car je ne Taiderai pas 
(MAUPASSANT, Monsieur Parent). 

See cachet 2 (Brieux), se delbrouil- 
ter (Maupassant). 

30. Une belle affaire e.g. Vousavezfaitla 
une belle affaire (ironical), A pretty 
(nice) mess you've made of it ! 

31. Voila mon affaire = J'ai mon affaire 

32. Affaire de . . . e.g. Affaire de s'am- 
user, Only for a joke, By way of a 
joke. Cp. Mstpire de . . . 

affiche, n*j. Tenir Vaffiche (of a play), 
To have a long run. 
Affiche** 'play-bill'. 
affieher, vb. tr. 1. Defense d'afficher, 

Stick no bills ! 

2. S'afficher, To make oneself conspicuous. 
Usually said of people who might be expected 
to make themselves as Inconspicuous as 
possible, who forget all sense of decency and 
defy public opinion. 

Ma soeur est une telle folle ! 
Elle Jest affich&e avec Suberceaux, 
comme elle s' affiche avec tant 
d'autres depuis (M. PBJBVOST, Les 

affi!6e, d% adv. Continuously, at a 
stretch, right off the reel. 
AffiUe here has the force of d la file, * in a 
row ', * one after another '. 

II ne travaille que deux heures 
d'affilee, puis se repose deux heures 
(A. THEUBIET, Sous Bois). 
*affranchi, adj. *1. Knowing, in the know, 

up to snuff. 
*2. Unscrupulous. 

Amongst thieves affranchir gu&lqu'un is to 
make an accomplice acquainted with the 
ins and outs of a house which it is intended to 
burgle. Thus affranchi is said of a person 
who is told of a thing he was unaware of, or 
of a person who knows all about a thing. 

Ceux qui ne sont pas loufs 
(' crazy '), c'est des affranchis qui 
jureront tout ce qu'on veut pourvu 
qu'on lache ses sous (B. DoKGELiis, 
Saint Magloire). 
afffttiau, n.m. 1. Small object, thing, 


2. Article of adornment, trinket, fal-lal 
(usually in the plural). 
A provincial word (from the old verb afftiter, 
' to arrange ') which has passed into popular 

Non, elles ne nous valent pas 
quand elles n'ont plus tous leurs 
affutiaux (J. K. HUYSMAITS, Les 
floeurs Vatard). 


ge, n.m. 1. Entre deux dges, Middle- 
aged, neither young nor old. 

Tin pen en arri&re, marcnalent des 
groupes de parents et de personnes 
entre deux dges (T. GATJTIER, Jean et 

2. Eire en dge de (or d'dge a), To be old 
enough to e.g. Mle a une fille qui est 
en dge de (or d'dge d) se marier, She has 
a marriageable daughter. 

Elle ne pouvaifc pas refuser de 
faire connattre son pere a un grand 
gargon de vingt arts, en dge de tout 
entendre et de tout comprendre 
(A. DATJDET, JacJc). 

3. Eire (or Tirer) sur Vdge, To be getting 
on in years. Cp. sur le retour. 

4. On apprend a tout dge y It's never too 
late to learn. 

5. Porter son dge e.g. II ne porte pas son 
dge (or On ne lui donnerait pas son dge}, 
He does not look as old as he is, He 
carries his years well. 

agent, n.m. Policeman. 

A common abbreviation for agent de yolice. 
*agonir, agonlsei, vb. tr. To abuse vehem- 
ently, to blackguard, to slang. Se 
faire agonir (agoniser), To be called all 
sorts of names, to be properly slanged. 
Of the two agonir is the more correct, since 
agoniser is really an intr. vb. meaning Stre 
d I'agonie, ' to be dying ' ; tr& d I'agonie 
probably gave rise to the idea of mettre d 
I'agonie by dint of insults. Both verbs are 
nearly always followed by a word like sottises 
or injures. 

Nous la questionnerons tous les 

deux ! Nbn. J'aime mieux ne pas 

dtre la. Je me connais, je Yagonirais 

de sottises ('I should call her all 

sorts of names ') ou je pleurerais 

avec elle (BRIETJX, La petite Amie). 

La mere Tuvache les agonisait 

d'ignominies ('insulted them right 

and left '), repetant sans cesse de 

porte en porte qu'il fallait tre 

denatur^ pour vendre son enfant 

(MATJPASSASTT, Aux Champs). 

*agrieher, vb. tr. To seize suddenly, to 

clutch, grip, grab. 

A borrowing from the patois of Berry, where 
the verb has this meaning ; m the Bas-Maine 
it denotes to seize with the teeth (from 
grwher grinc&r) (SAiNfiAN, Le Langage 
parisien au XtX,e Sidcle, p. 293). 
*agripper, s*. To come to blows, to slip 
into one another. 
Lit. ' to clutch one another *. 
*aguielier, vb. tr. To allure, entice, give 
the glad eye to, set her cap at, excite. 

In this sense, generally applied to women 
and implying lascivious glances. The 
verb is a provincialism ; in the Venddmois 
dialect it denotes ' to lie in wait for % ' to take 
by surprise by means of a trick ' (old French 
gmche = ruse] ; in Anjou, the verb means * to 
lookout of the corner of one's eye ' (SAIN^AN, 
Lang age parisien, p. 298). 

Bijou, qui aguichait si adroite- 
ment tous les hommes, ne f aisait pas 
la plus legere attention a lui (GYP, 

aigle, n.m. Genius, star e.g. Ge rfest pas 
un aigle, He is no genius, He will not 
set the Thames on fire. 
Lit. 'eagle'. 

On ne leur demande pas d'etre des 
... mais de faire tranquille- 
ment leur petit chemin ('to make 
their little way in the world ') (H. 
LAVEDAN, Nocturnes). 
* aigrette, n.f. Avoir son aigrette, To be under 
the influence of drink, to be half-seas 
over, to have three sheets in the wind. 
L^t. * tuft of feathers, aigrette '. By allusion 
to the conspicuously red and pimply nose of 
drunkards. Cp. cocarde 1, panache 2, plume t, 
pompon l. 

aile, n.f. 1. JEn avoir (or tenir) dans Vaile, 
To be winged, done for, ' done in ', to 
be (badly) hit. 

Originally used of birds, * to have some in the 
wing % i e. some lead or shot (en standing 
here for du plomb ; see plomb). Figuratively, 
of a person whose health, fortune or reputa- 
tion is m a precarious state. 
2. Ne battre (plus) gue d'une aile or N'aller 
que d'une aile, (of persons or things) To 
be crippled, almost ruined, to be on 
one's last legs, to be doing badly, to 
be a lame duck, to be almost done for, 
to be in a bad way. 
This again is an allusion to a bird which can 
* only flap one wing * because the other has 
been wounded by shot. 

A partir de (' Prom ') ce moment, 
la fabrique ne battit plus que d'une 
aile ( c the factory was almost done 
for ') ; petit & petit, les ateliers so 
viderent (A. DAUDET, Le petit 

Us en e"taient au poisson (* They 
had got as far as the fish ' i.e. 
during a meal) ; la conversation ne 
battait que d'une aile (' was languish- 
ing') (J. BOMAIKS, Le Vin blanc de la 

*aOes, n.f. pi, ailerons, n.m. pi Arms. 

By allusion to the ' wings * of poultry ; cp. 

ailleurs, adv. Aimer ailleurs. To love 
another (woman or man). 



A use of ailleurs (lit. * elsewhere ') going back 

to the Middle Ages arid found in the classical 


Julien aimait ailleurs ; olle le 
savait ; et la seule pensee do subir 
do nouveau ses caresses la faisait 
fremir de repugnance (MAUPASSANT, 
Une Vie). 

N'etait-il pas possible qu'elle 
aimdt ailleurs, et quo cette appar- 
ente sagesse fut simplement la 
tranquille indifference d'une femme 
qui a deja dispose de son affection ? 
(A. THEFRIET, Boisfleury}. 
air, n.m. 1. Avoir un faux air de . . ., 

To have a sort of likeness to . ., to 

look somewhat like . . . 

Un accent vaguoment italien lui 
donnait un faux air de ( 4 made him 
look like a') Mazarin sans mous- 
taches (A. DAtrDET, Tartarin de 
2. Changer d'air or En jouer un air or Se 

donner de I'air, To go (or be) off, to 

decamp, to make tracks. 

En jouer mi air seems to be a combination of 

86 donner de I'air and jouer la fdlo d& Vair. 

See fille 3. 
o. En I'air e.g. parler en ?air, to talk 

idly, at random, not seriously, without 

thinking what one is saying ; des 

paroles en Vair, idle talk ; des menaces 

en Pair, airy threats. 

4, Entre deux airs, In a draught. 

5. Etre tout en Yair e.g. La maison ekait 

tout en I'air, The whole house was in 
confusion, in a turmoil, in an uproar. 
*6. Mettre (ficher, jiche, flanguer, foutre) en 
Pair, To throw away, to get rid of, to 
chuck away (in disgust). 

Vous n'allez pas m'trimballer 
( fi drag about *) ot m'mettre. en I'air 
mes affaires ! (' chuck nay things 
away '*) (H. BAUBtrssE, Le Feu}. 

7. Nc pas avoir Pair d\y toucher -e.g, 

Kile n'a pas fair d'y toucher, She looks 
as if butter would not melt in her 
mouth. See sainte-nitouehe. 

Vous verroz co que vaul votre 
Charles, avec ses bottos de maroquin 
et son air de rty pas toucher (' his 
innocent look '). II n,'a ni coour ni 
ame (BALZAO, j&ugdnie Grandet). 

8. Prendre Pair du, bureau, To look in at 
the office (to soo what's happening). 
Op, prewlM I'air, * to take an airing or a walk ', 

aise, n,J. 1. A ton (votre.) aise/ Just as 
you like 1 

Et comment voulez-vous quo j 
fasse du bouillon avec $a ? A votre 
aise t dit le boucher, en rejetant le 
morceau dans la bassine (0. 
MIRBEATJ, Le Journal d'une Femme 
de Chambre). 

2. En parler (bien) a son aise e.g. Tu en 
paries (bien) a ton aise, It is easy for 
you to talk, to say so, It is all very fine 
(well) for you to say so. 

" Qu'est-ce quo tu me conseilles 
de faire ? " L'autre r^pondait : 
" Bomps." Et Benoldi ajoutait 
en haussant les &paules ; *' Tu en 
paries a ton aise, tu crois que c'est 
facile a rompre avec une femme 
qui vous martyrise d'attentions " 
(MAUPASSANT, Une Passion). 

3. En prendre a son aise e.g. II en prend 
a son aise, He takes it easy, He takes 
his own time about it. 

Je ne sais qui exerce sur toi 
cette influence, mais je vois que, 
moi parti (' when I'm away '), tu en 
prends a ton aise ! Quand le chat 
n*y est pas, les souris dansent 
( e When the cat's away, the mice will 
play') (P. MAEGUEBITTE, L'Em- 

*alboche, n.m. and adj. = l^oehe. 
A fusion of boch0 and Attemand. 
*aligner, s*. II peut S* aligner I (ironical) 
Let him try to do it I Let him try it 
on ! 

Lit. 'he may toe the line', 'come to the 
scratch '. 

allant, n.m. Dash, spirit, * go ' e.g. 
Avoir de Valiant, To have plenty of go 
in (about) one. 

Dieu I que f e"tais las, certains 

jours, et incapable de le cacher ! 

Cela ne pouvait durer <Steraellement. 

Je n'avais ni entrain, ni allant (!F. 

CABCO, Rien gtu'une Femme). 

aller, vb. intr. I* Aller a guelgvfun, To 

suit or to fit e.g. Cela (Qa) vous 

va-t-il ? Does that suit you ? Is 

that to your liking ? Oe pardessus lui 

va bien, That overcoat suits (or fits) 

him well. 

See mieux 4 (Mirbeau). 

2. Aller sur ... (of age), To be going 
(getting) on for ... Cp. courlr 1 (b). 

Savez-vous bien que je vais sur 
mes dix-sept ans ? (F. COPP&E, Un 
Mot d'Auteur), 

3. Comment ga va 9 How do you do ? 
How are you ? How ^oes it ? Some 




variants are ; Comment va ? fa va $ 
Qa va bien ? Qa va-t-il (taujowrs) $ 
and some replies are : fa va, AI 
right ; 7a ne va pas, (7a ne va pas bien> 
Not so grand ; Qa ne va pas fort, Only 
middling, Only so-so ,' (7a ne va pas mal, 
JSFot so bad. 

4. Cela va de soi, 11 va de &oi gue . . 
Naturally, It goes without saying 
that . . ., It stands to reason. 

See sang 5 (Farrdre). 
f 5. Ne pas aller sans, To be necessarily 
accompanied by, not to bo without. 
This is a classical turn of speech ^e.g. * 
I plaisirs les plus doux ne vont pas sans tristesse ' 
( Co RNBILLS, Horace) which has survived and 
gained ground. 

Notre arriv^e tardive n'aUait pas 

sans soulever (* did not fail to 

arouse '), & elle seule, uno evidente 

reprobation (0. JPATtRita, Dix-sept 

Histoires de Mar ins). 

[ 6. Se laisser aller, To let oneself go, to 

tak6 no care of oneself e.g. Ne vous 

laissez pas aller comme pa, Don't lot 

yourself go like that. 

Ton pore est un artiste. . . . Iln'a 
jamais pris grand soin do lui et 
mademoiselle m'a raoont6 que 
c'etait pire quo jamais. . . 11 se 
laisse aller . . (H, DUVBENOIS, 

7. 7 aller. (a) To set about a thing, to 
set to work e.g. Allons-y, Let us pro- 
ceed, begin, open the ball ; Now for 
business ! AUons-y gaiement / Let us 
look alive ! Let us get a move on I 
Comme il y allait / How be went at 
it ! Comme vous y allez ! How you 
do go at it ! How inconsiderate you 
are ! 

Vous n'avez pas autre chose & mo 
dire ? interrompis-je. Comme tu y 
vas ! Je ne fais que de commencer 
( C I have only just begun J ) (V. 
CHEBBXJLIBZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

(b) Y atterfort, To exaggerate, to put it on 
(thick) e.g. Vous y allez (un peu) 
fort, You're coming it (a bit, rather) 

(c) Y aller de guetym chose, To be willing 
(or To decide) to act, pay, contribute, 
furnish, etc, (generally with the idea 
of some reluctance) e.g. llfaudra que 
fy aitte de mon argent, I shall have to pay 
(stump up). Y aller de la forte somme, 
To risk a big sum of money. 

Lit. f/ after de . , . me&ns * to sfc&ke * afc 
gambling, the de introducinp; the amount 
staked. Cp, the following section, 

(d) II y va de . . ., . . , is at stako- 
e.g. II y va de sa vie (son faQnne.ur), His 
life (honour) is at stake, in danger. 
II y va de, vingt francs, Tbo stakes are 
twenty francs. 

Songez qii^il y va de Fhonneur do 
mon fils et du mien (SEDAINE, Le 
Philosophe sans le savoir). 

8. The Imperatives va ! allez / allons / used 
exclamatively can express various 
emotions (anger, disbelief, astonish- 
ment, irony, encouragement, scolding, 
etc.), and the exact forco depends 
entirely on tho context. Their correct 
use and interpretation require groat 
care, and the following cases are 
worthy of attention : 

(a) Va f is used figuratively after pejor- 
ative nouns denoting persons (more 
rarely things) OH if to represent a 
somewhat scornful or very familiar 
gesture. This va / can novor bo re- 
placed by allez /, and its English 
equivalent is something like A Got away 
with you ! * (fg, ). 

On sera verm to faire uno histoira 
bion bete, bien 6paisse . . . ot tu 
1'os avalco commo uno tasso do 
lait ! Imbecile, va / (*0h, you 
idiot I ' or c What a fool you aro ! *) 
(LABIOIIE, Le$ petite Oittcaitx). 

Sacr6 Bochot, va / (* Oh, you 
bally Bochot !').. 3B3n avoris- 
nous fait ensemble! ('What times 
we've had together! 1 ) (BRtwx, 
Les Hanmtons), 

(b) Va/ may have the forco of * Con- 
tinue ! * ' Carry on ! * * Go on ! ' * Go 
ahead ! * 

Si tu m'interromps k ohaquo mot. 
C'ost vrai, Je te domando par- 
don. . . , Mais c'ost la coldro. Jo 
mo tais. Va ! (H. LAVKDAK, Lenr$ 

(c) Va / may also moan * Go on ! * with 
the implication of ' I do not care what 
you say or do, or what becomes of 

Va te marior, mon gros, m / (H. 
LAVBDAN, JLe nouveau Jew)* 

(d) Va I frequently denotes ' RoasBure 
yourself ', * I toll, assure you *, * Be- 
lieve me % * You may bo sure ** 

Ch6rie ! ch6rie ! JNTon, jo no sorai 
pas moins & toi, w / Nous t'aim- 



erons tant ! Rejouis-toi avec nous 
(M. PBBVOST, Frederique), 
See bller, se (Bataille). 
This va / may be added to stress the 

Si, tu es fache ! . , . je le vois 
bien, va! (GYP, Le Mariage de 

(e) Va done / is a stressed form of the va I 
which dismisses a person, scornfully 

* Get away (along) with you ! ' 

(/) V P our ' ^ ne force of va in this 
construction is that of resigned or 
good-natured agreement ; it implies 
that one no longer opposes another's 
desire or that one yields to his en- 
treaties, and the pour indicates the 
object of the desire or entreaties (cp. 
pour ce qui est de, * concerning '). 
This is a stereotyped expression and 
the va can never be replaced by allez. 
Its English equivalent is some turn like 

* Well, let us decide in favour of . . .', 
' Let it go at . . .', ' Let it be . . .' 

En route pour les Pyren6es ! Je 
soupire d'un air r&sign6 : Va pour 
les Pyrenees ! (A. THITTBIBT, Mon 
Onde Mo). 

Oui, on doit se plaire dans une 
chambre a soi, qu'on a meublee. 
Je la voudrais bleue. Va pour le 
bleu ! dit Henriette (R. BAZIN, De 
toute son Ame). 
(g) Allez / corresponding to va / (6). 

Quelle &me de boue ( c mean, 
grovelling soul') etes-vous done ? 
Allez , allez / Que votre colere se 
passe d'abord sur moi (J. LEMATBE, 
Les Rois en Exil). 
(h) AUez ! corresponding to va / (d). 

Ello flirte aveo le premier vonu. 
Oh ! ... bien innocemment, allez, 
madame ! (GYP, Joies d* Amour). 

A Aix, nous sommes quelques 
jeunes gens qui dansons presque 
tous les soirs . . . On rit bien, 
allez / (H. BKBNSTBIN, Le Bercail). 
(i) Allez done ! corresponding to va done / 
(e), but less vulgar. It may also 
imply * Go on ! Don't stand on cere- 
mony ! ' 'Go on ! even though your 
ideas may be absurd *. 

Eh bien, moi, la jeune fille, elle 
m'embete ; voil& ! Et allez done / 
Tu as des apercus tout neufs, mon 
vieux Baugis (H. LAVBDAN, Leurs 

(j) Allez ! in some uses has become such 
an isolated formula of exclamation 
that this plural form is used in con- 
junction with a verb in the second 
person singular and even with the verb 

Allez, trotte vite et rapporte-moi 
en meme temps un petit caillou 
(P. WOLFF, Le Lys). 

Allez, allez / . . . Raconte ta 
petite histoire ! Allez, viens ici et 
parle ! (H. BERNSTEIN*, Le Marche). 
(k) Allons I like allez! has assumed the 
value of a mere exhortation, with this 
difference, however, it is less brusque 
than allez /, and denotes a kind of en- 
couragement and sometimes a gentle 
reprimand ' Come ! ' * Come now ! ' 
It is found together with a va! ( c Go 
away ! ') and even with a venez ! 

Mais vis longtemps, ma pauvre 
femme. Allons, remue done. . . . 
Allons, egaye-toi, ma pauvre femme, 
porte-toi bien (BALZAC, Eugenie 

Valesretrouver. . . . Allons, va, I 
(J. LBMAiTRE, Les Sois en JSxil). 

Allons , venez, mon enfant. II ne 
faut pas que le prince Hermann 
vous retrouve ici (ibid.). 
(I) Allons, bonf has the force of ironic 
consent' Well, I like that ! ' ' Well, 
that's good ! ' ' That's done it I ' 
* That's " torn " it ! ' 

Vous e"tes grossier ! Allons, bon / 
je suis grossier a present (GYP, 
Trop de elite). 

(m) Allons done ! Done attached to an 
imperative generally implies a certain 
impatience on the part of the speaker, 
and in conjunction with allons ex- 
presses incredulity; the affirmation 
to which it replies is thrust aside as 
being something incredible or inadmis- 
sible. Some English equivalents are 
' Go along ! ' c Nonsense ! ' ' Pooh ! ' 
4 Pshaw ! ? 

Tres tard ? . . . Allons done / 
. . . il n'est pas minuit ! (GYP, 
Joies d* Amour). 

Tu crois que je te laisserai faire 
cette sottise ? Allons done / (H. 
CEABD, Les Risign&s). 

See cou!6 (Gyp). 

allonger. 1. vb. tr. To give, deal, land 
(of blows and money) e.g. Je vous 
allongerai une gifle, I'll land you a clout. 




Lit. " to deal a blow by stretching out the 
arm or leg". 

Cette petite dame vient de VOTIS 
allonger ('has just handed over to 
you ') vingt-quatre mine balles 
(' francs ') (H. BERNSTEIN, L& 

La mere d } Hubert allonge ('planks 
down ') cent mille francs pour 
Felection (P. VEBBB, Les Couches 

2. S'allonger. (a) To fall Ml length 
e.g. 11 s'est allonge sur la glace, He came 
a cropper on tho ice. 

*(6) To treat oneself to e.g. Je vais m'al- 
longer wi bon diner, I'm going to treat 
myself to (stand my soil) a good dinner. 
*allumer. *L vb. tr. (a) To alhire, en- 
tice, incite to lust. 
IM. *to kindle*. 

Bijou est porsuad^ qu'il n'y a rien 
de tel quo la jalousie pour allumer 
(GYP, Matnan). 

Hence : allumS, adj. (i) "Excited 
(sensually, by a- woman's allurements), 
Tti can also moan (ii) Drunk, slightly 
intoxicated (i.e. * kindled 7 or * warmod 
up s by wine), 

*(b) To look (at), to watch e.g. Le voild, 
allume, attume ! He's coming, just 
have a look ! 

Originally a police term (meaning 'to spy 
on ') of the late eighteenth century, adopted 
by popular speech, 
*(c) To pay, dub up. 

Formed by analogy with Sclalrer, g.v. 
*2. vb, intr. To make liaste, bo sharp, 
hurry up. 

Le commissariat ferme a neuf 
heures. Nous n'avons quo le temps. 
Allume / (* We have only just time. 
Get a move on!') (Q. COTOTELIOT, 
La Bourse). 

allure, %./. 1. Avoir de Failure, To have 
a distinguished appearance, to look 
* classy '. 

By comparison with tho gait (allure) of a 
thoroughbred. The adjective altural with the 
above force is also current. 
2. JPrendre une mauvatie allure (of things) 
e.g. Les chases prennent une mauvaise 
allure, Things are taking a bad turn, 
do not look promising. 
almanac)}, n.m. C'est un almanack de Van 

passe, He is a back number, 
alors, adv. 1. Alors comme alors, AH in 
good time ; Wait till that happens, and 
then wo will see what is to bo done ; 
Time enough when that happens. 

This phrase implies, * Then wo will act as 
ciieimibtanccs will then require us to act '. 

2. Alors is used at the end of a sentence to 
emphasise 'oui or non : Ah oiii alors / 
Ah noti alorsi 

alonette, n.f. II attend les aloit cites toittes 
rdties or 21 attend qne les alouette^ liii 
tombent toutes rdties (dans le bee) or II 
s* imagine, (or SB figure) qifil n^a qitfa 
ouvrir la boiiche pour que les (dowttcs 
ij toinbent toutes rdties, Ho expects a 
fortune to drop from heaven. 
Lit. * He is waiting for larks ready roasted ' 
or * Ho expects larks to fall ready roasted Into 
his mouth ' or ' He imagines that he has onlv 
to open his mouth ami laika ready roa^tc-d 
will fall into it '. Th(^ expression Its used of a 
lazy person who would like to attain wealth 
or a position, hut will not make tho Hlightewt 

Ah ! mon gallon, diftait-il, tout- 
ri'eat pas rose a la Koiuo dos Rouen, 
ot laff aloucttes n^y tombent <pas tonics 
rdties (BALZAO, Gvmr IHrottcau). 

Jo no suis pas de coux qni 
s'imaginent qt^ils n^ont qitffa oiwrir 
la bouchc your gue les alouettcs y 
tomhGnt tontes r Sties (A, ALLAIS et 
T. BEBKABD, /Silvtrie), 

alphonse, n.m. Man who lives on tho 
earnings of a prostituto, pimp, 
Prom tho name of a character ot this type 
in Morwieur Alphons (1873), n comedy by 
Alexandra Dumas tils. The rapid popularity 
of tho name wa duo in great patfc to a 
licentious sonp; entitled Let ^antitte Atphonsti 
du Cfi'<)8V(iiUou, whieh an actor called 
Lacombe wrote under tho inspiration of tho 

amadouer, vb. tr. To coax, wheedle, got 
round a person,. 
Lit. *to make like amadou* ('tinder'). 

amant de eoeur, n.m. A man who is loved 
by a kept woman for * love % not for 
money, a * fancy-man *. 

anie 3 n.f. 1. Ame. g%i two -e.g. Je, n*ai 
pas rencontrti dme. qui vive, 1 did not 
moot a living soul (creature). 11 n'y 
avait (pas) dme qui mm, There was not 
a living soul there. 

Soo poll 7 (Couttclino). 

2. JStre l\lm& damnee de quclqu^un^ To bo 

somohody's tool, cat's-paw, to do a 
person's dirty work for him. 
Said of ono who, for money or his own 
interests*, blindly obeys another's wishes or 
will; hin HOU! is thus damned, like that of a 
man who sell his soul to tho devil, 

3. ffaire quelque chose en dme et conscience, 
To do something with perfect sincerity. 

D'un autre oot6, il ne voyait pas 
11011 plus comment il romprait tan 




pareil engagement, car il avait jure 
sa foi et if F avait fait en dme et 
conscience (G. SAND, La petite 

amende, n.f. Faire amende honorable (a 
quelqu'un), To make an ample (or a 
public) apology (to a person). II a fait 
amende honorable, He apologized 
courteously, in a gentlemanly way. 
The amende honorable was a degrading form of 
punishment which consisted in forcing the 
condemned person to make a public confession 
of his crime. 

amener, s*. To come along, turn up, 
blow along e.g. Le voila qui s'amene, 
Here he comes. Am&ne-toi/ Come 
along ! Buck up 1 Op. s*a)bcraler. 

Lit. ' to bring oneself. 

Pour coniblo ('To crown all'), 
voila Parju, lo garde champetre, 
qui s'am&ne (A. ALLAIS, & Affaire 
Blair eau). 

Ohe" ! ohe ! La patronne, amenez- 
vous et pigez-moi ga, (' come along 
and have a squint at this ') (MAUPAS- 
SANT, Miss Harriet). 

ami,%.m. 1. II n'y a pas a dire u mon bel 
ami ", Say what on may, the fact re- 
mains (is undeniable), You can't get 
away from it. 

The force of this expression is : * I foresee all 
your objections, but they will be m vain, and 
there is no need for you to say to me : " My 
dear friend, please consider that . . ." ' 
The allusion is to the fact that one usually 
tones down an unpleasant or contradictory 
statement by introducing it with a phrase 
like M<m bel ami. 

11 %'?/ a pas a dire ; mon bel ami ! 
. . . Madame de Nan^-ay n'a rien 
contre moi, absolument rien. Voilt 
qui est 6viclent d'aprcs ce aalut 
(P. BOUKUET, Ocsur de Femme). 

Jacques (debout, bien campe, 
tenue tres correcte, regardant 
Blanche de cote, a travers les oils) : 
Allons ! . . . il w?y a pas a dire 
mon bel ami, c'ost ma fomme & pr6- 
sont (GYi% Manage chic). 
2. Ami jusqu'a la bourse, A lukewarm 

Lit. " ft friend till (it comes to) the purse *. 
amie, n.f. Une petite amie> A 'lady 
friend '. This phrase, which is not 
always used in a sense of respect, 
generally implies c mistress '. 
*amineiie, n.m. Chum, pal. 

A corruption of ami. 

amities, n.f. pi* Faites mes amities a 
. . ., Remember me kindly to . . . 

The faites is sometimes implied e.g. 
Mes amities chez vous, Give my kind 
regards to your people. 
*amoehage, n.m. The act or result of 


*amocher. *1. vb. tr. (Of persons or 
things) To spoil, bruise, wound, make a 
mess of, ill-treat, knock about e.g. 
II Va salement amoche, He didn't half 
spoil his beauty for Mm. 
Lit. ' to make moche ', q.v. 

Si tu 1'avais vu se barrer (' sked- 
addle ') avec sa patte amochee 
(' gammy leg '), je te jure qu'il etait 
marrant (' screamingly funny ') (R. 
DoBaEL&s, Les Croix de Bois). 
*2. S'amocher, To grow or become tired, 

weak, inefficient, ugly. 
amour, n.m. 1. Aimer quelqu*un $ amour, 
To love a person passionately. 
This strong form is used when it is felt desir- 
able to distinguish between the two forces of 
aimer ^ ' to like ' and * to love *. 

Elle ne lui avait jamais rien avoue. 
Elle avait toujours eu peur et honte. 
Parce qu'elle aimait. Parce qu'elle 
aimait tf amour. Ardemment, f olle- 
ment, d6sesperement (0. PABK^RB, 
Dix-sept Histoires de Marins). 

2. Faire V amour, To have sexual inter- 


This should not be used for the English * to 
make love *(to), of which the French equiva- 
lent is faire In cour (d quelqu'un). 

3. Filer le par/ait amour (avec quelqu'un), 
To bill and coo. 

Generally used facetiously or ironically. 
Filer has the force here of * spinning out ', of 
* unfolding in an even and continuous 
manner % and implies the giving of constant 
tokens of (sentimental) love. 

Fremaux, disparu, filait sans 
dout le parfait amour avec la 
comtesse italienne (H. DE RI&GHXEB, 
La Peur de V Amour). 

Vous serez oblige de me faire une 
cour dans les regies ( e to woo me 
according to rule '), de filer le par- 
/ait amour comm un heros de 
roman d'autrefois (GATTTIBE, Jean 
et Jeannette). 

amoureux,w.m. Un amoureux de car&me, 
A timid or platonic lover. 
Lit. * a Lenten lover', one afraid of touching 

an, n.m, 1. Avoir (trente) ans sonnes, To 
be over (turned, past) (thirty). 
Op. II &8t trois h&ures sonnies, It has struck 

See fiehu 4 (Boylesve). 
' 2. Bon an> mal an, (Taking) one year with 



another, on an average -e.g. II gagne, 
bon an, mal an, dix mille francs, H 
earns 10,000 francs on an average. 

Outre les sept pensionnaires 
internes, madame Vauquer avait, 
bon an, mal an, huit etudiants en 
droit ou on medecine (BALZAC, Le 
Pere Qoriot). 

3. Quinze ans et pas de corset / Sweet 
sixteen and never been kissed ! 

A stock phrase said of a woman whose 
charms have still a youthful appearance. 

4. Aller mr ses (numeral) ans : See aller 2. 

analyse, n.f, JEn derniere analyse, In con- 
clusion, to sum tip, after all, the up- 
shot is. 

L'it. ' at the conclusion ol the analysis ', when 
everything has been carefully examined. 
*anarcho, n.m. Anarchist. 
A corruption ol anarckiste. 
*AnatoIe, proper name, Qa colle, Ancdole, 
a stock rhyming phrase, used as ques- 
tion or reply, with the force of * How 
goes it, old cock ? ' or ' Right-he, old 
flick ! ' Op. eoller 2. 

7a colle, Anatole / repondit Crevel 
qui aifectionnait (* was fond of ') ees 
propos rimes (R. BOBGELES, Le 
Riveil des Marts). 

andouille, n.f. Silly, clumsy fellow, im- 
becile, idiot, a regular jackass. 
Lit. " a sausage made of chitterlings *. 

Andowlle! triple andouille/ era- 
pule/ ('rotfcor!') Qa n'otait dej& 
pas assoz do m' avoir fait condamner 
injustoment, voilb quo tu mo r nines, 
maintenant ! (A. ALLAIS, V Affaire 

ne, n.m. C'est un dne bate, He is a down- 
right ass, an absolute fool, 
Lit. * a saddled donkey ', i.e. a donkeyl acking 
in nothing. 

ange, n.m. 1. Mre aux anges, To be in 
the seventh heaven (of delight). 
Lit. * to be with the angels'. 

Jamais elle n'avait rev& <ju'il lui 
put rien arriver de si romanesque ; olio 
ttait aux anges (A. HEEMANT, Le 
joyeux Garpon). 

2. Eire aux anges, (a) To laugh to oneself 
(and without apparent motive) ; (6) 
To laugh foolishly or immoderately. 
Lit. used of a baby smiling sweetly In its 
sleep. The mother, thinking of the guardian 
angels watching ovez* her darling, says, * B6b6 
sourit aux anges/ 

* anglais, n*m. pi. Avoir ses anglais, To 
have one's menses, monthlies, ' the 
flowers '. Op. affaires 1 (c). 
anglaise, ^ 1% adv. Filer (or ParMr) & 


Vanglaise, To leave abruptly, without 
attracting attention, without saying 
good-bye ; to take French leave. 
The original form of this expression is prendre 
cong$ d I'anglaise (lit. * to take leave (say 
good-bye) in the English manner'), which 
meant, firstly, to say good-bye simply by 
shaking hands, instead of kissing or bowing 
ceremoniously ; then, it came to mean with- 
out delay or without dallying over long 
effusions, and finally, to go away without 
saying good-bye at all. The JttSnglish language 
returns the compliment with 4 to take French 
leave * , but it should be noted that although 
this may correspond to the Wrench expression, 
i.e. to depart without giving notice, it more 
frequently signifies 'to act without asking 
leave '. 

Mais pendant qu'on s'agitait 
autour d'eUe pour s 5 informer do Ha 
sante, Pierre disparut par la porto 
rcstee onverte. Quand on s 1 apery ut 
de son depart, on. s'etonna. . . . 
Madame Ros6milly votilut arranger 
los chosos en alFimiant : Maia non, 
mais non, il est parti d Vanglaise ; 
on se sauve toujours ainsi dans le 
znonde, quand on s'en va do bonne 
heuro (MAUPASSANT, Pierre et Jean). 
Toutes mos potitos aflairea il 
Theuro cju'il est ( k at the present 
moment ') sont arrangees, men 
mesures prises pour filer jolimunt, 
et faire uno belle aortic 
(H. LAVEDA3ST, Nocturnes). 

See lapin 4 (Baudot). 
'angliehe, adj. English. 

A popular deformation, also written engliche, 
of ' Ofingliah '. 

anguille, n*J. 11 y a (qitelque) (mgu l>lle nous 
rodie 9 There is a snake in the grass, 1 
smell a rat, There is more here than 
taeets the eye. There is something 
browing, something in tho wind, 
Lit. * there is an eel undar the rock '* TliiH 
expression correnponds to the Latin IdM 
tmffwis in h&rha, * the snake i hidden in tho 
grass ', and iB uned as a warning to bo on 
guard against some affair or enterprigo which 
outwardly acorns attractive. 

J'ai trop 1'habitude do lire en toi 
pour n'avoir pas dovin6 qudque 
anguilU sous rocke (A. THKUIUKT, 

anieroche, n.f. Obstacle, drawback, hind- 
xanco, hiteh, ' snag '. 
The Dictionnmr& fftfndral says that the word, 
found in Kabolalu with the spelling hanicntth* 
and in the sense of a kind of weapon, oomea 
from croctu, i.e. croc, and ftani, hitherto 
unexplained. Sainton (Les Sourw iyulip$n$t 
tie VMymologw jrancaise* 1, 85) coimocto 
(h)am with (tyctiw or (/t)<*mw tho old uaiuo 
of tho can&, " female duck * ; thun the original 
meaning of tho word (' curved iron weapon *) 

animal . 



alludes to the curved beak of the animal. 
Modern French has preserved only the fig, 
meaning, already found in a derivative, 
hanicrochemens, used by Rabelais. 

Vous avez pu traverser le Bos- 
phore sans anicroche ? . . . Est-ce 
vrai que Farmee do Salonique va 
dormer 1'assaut a Yildiz ? (C. FAR- 
K&RE, Quatorze Histoires de Soldats). 
C'e'tait quelqu'un, vous savez, ce 
bonhomme-la! Qu'il ait des ani- 
croches dans son passe" , o'est possible ! 
(A. CAPTJS, Robinson). 
animal, n.m. Term of abuse (* rude fel- 
low \ * oaf ', c beast ', 4 brute ') often 
used in a playful or friendly manner, 
* fellow *, ' blighter ' e.g. II en a, une 
veine, cet animal-la ! What a lucky 
blighter he is ! 

Vous voyez bien, grommela M.P. 
. . . en se levant, que je ne peux 
pas cong6dier cet animal-Ik, I (DE 
VoGi5i;, Le Fifre Pdtrouchka). 
aq}s, n.m. De Vanis / A popular excla- 
mation expressing refusal and used in 
reply to anything which does not suit 
( or displeases Not for me ! I'm not 
having any ! Not a bit of it ! 
Lit. ' aniseed '. 

anse, n.f. JFaire danser (or sauter) Vanse 
du panier (of a servant), To make dis- 
honest profits on purchases, to make 
perquisites, to get pickings, to make a 

Lit. 'to make the handle of the basket 
dance*. This expression alludes to the 
custom in many bourgeois families of sending 
the cook to do the marketing, and to the 
practice of not a few of them of ' profiteering ' 
at the expense of their mistresses. The 
explanation usually given of the phrase is 
ithat the cunning servant, in order to make 
her purchases look more than they really are, 
shakes up the basket and by so doing throws 
f the contents into disorder. Two objections 
might be made to this view firstly, that it 
is not the panier f but the anse which is 
made to dance ; secondly, that this some- 
what drastic method might prove disastrous 
to certain commodities and might even result 
in the goods becoming more tightly packed. 
Consequently the following explanation has 
been suggested : formerly (and even now) 
servants who did the shopping considered 
themselves entitled to a gratuity from the 
tradespeople to whom they gave their custom. 
Later, as a result of a mutual understanding 
between servants and tradespeople, the onus 
of paying this gratuity was transferred to 
'the shoulders of the unfortunate employer. 
As this right which the servants claimed 
;was the right of the one who bore the basket, 
and as the basket was carried by the handle, 
the servants called it le droit de I' anse du 
panier, and by abbreviation I* anse du panier. 
The same idea was expressed in the fifteenth 

century by the phrase battre l& cabas ; now 
battre is frequently rendered in familiar 
speech by faire danser, and le cabas meant a 
panier, of which, by metonymy, a part, 
I'ansQ) could be used for the whole. And 
thus arose the saying faire danser I'anse 
du panier (EGBERT, Phrasfologie franyaise, 
p. 365). 

Mme Oreille e"tait si <conome que 
sa bonne avait grand mal a faire 
danser Vanse du panier (MAUPAS- 
SANT, Le Parapluie). 

antichambre, n.f. Faire antichambre, To 
wait, dance attendance. 
Lit. 'to wait in the antechamber'. 

Je ne suis d'ailleurs pas fache qu't'Z 
fasse un peu antichambre, monsieur 
le marquis (0. MIKBEAU, Les Af- 
faires sont les Affaires). 
antienne, n.f. Chanter toujours la mme 
antienne, To be always harping on the 
same string. Voila bien une autre 
antienne, That's quite another story. 
Lit. 'anthem'. 

apache, n.m. and adj. Desperate charac- 
ter, hooligan, ruffian, rough, black- 

The word connotes a thief, pimp and mur- 
derer all in one. According to SainSan 
(Langage parisien, p. 210), it owes its 
origin, in this sense, to a reporter of the 
Matin, who used it in 1902. The word caught 
on rapidly, although the popularity of 
Fenimore Cooper's novels dealing with the 
Apaches was long since past. iNyrop (Qram- 
maire historique, TV, p. S90) says that the 
term derives its modern meaning from a gang 
of ruffians in Paris who styled themselves la 
bande des Apaches. He adds that formerly 
the word denoted only the true American 
Apaches, notorious for their cunning and 

See coup 47 (Hermant). 
*apaiser, vb. tr. To kill, murder, * put to 

Lit. 'to appease', 'make quiet*. Cp. 
s oulager. The word belongs to the vocabulary 
of the apaches. 

aperitif, n.m. Appetiser, a bitters, a 

Lit. 'an opening medicine *, ' aperient * ; but 
in modern times the word has assumed the 
meaning of something which * opens ' the 
appetite, a drink taken before meals to give 
an appetite. Cp. un digestif, a glass of cognac 
or a liqueur taken after a meal in order to 
facilitate digestion. 

ap6 or ap&ro, n.m. = ap&ritif. 

aplatir, vb. tr. To reduce to silence by a 
crushing retort, to * sit upon ' a person. 
Eire aplati, To be (To get) sat upon, to 
be dumbfounded, flabbergasted, struck 
all of a heap. 
Lit. 'to flatten out', 'squash*. 

aplomb, n.m* 1. Imperturbable assur- 
ance, self-possession e.g. Perdre son 

apdtre 1 

aplomb, To lose countenance. Avoir 
de V aplomb, To be full of ease and 
assurance, to have ' nerve ', * cheek '. 
Lit. ' verticality ', ' equilibrium '. 

2. Mre d'aplomb (of a person), To be 
strong, sound, * game '. 

apdtre, n.m. II fait le bon aptitre or C'est 
un bon apotre, He puts on a saintly 
look, Ho pretends to be holy, He plays 
the saint. 

Iiit. 'apostle'. Tlio expression is used 
ironically of a crafty and hypocritical man, 
and 3s probably an allusion to Judas. 

See eouteau (Augicr et Sandeau). 

apparat, n.m. En grand apparent, In full 
dress, in full fig. 
Lit. * pomp ', * state *, ' show '. 

Mme Adelaide doscondit de sa 
chambre en grand apparat au bras 
de Rosalie (MAUPASSANT, Une Fie). 
*appuyer, s* = s'allonger (6). 

apres, prep- 1- This preposition is often 
substituted in familiar French for 
other propositions, and its use in such 
cases has oven spread to the written 
language : 

(a) With the force of c fastened to ', 
* attached to ' or simply ' to ' e.g. 
II se retint apres la table pour ne pas 
tomber, He clung to the table to stop 
himself from falling. 

Ou est ton col de chemise "? 
Dame ! il doit etro apres ma chemise 
(AuoiJUBj Maitre Oucrin). 

Elle le ropoussait cornme on. fait 
a un enfant qui se pend apres vous 
(FLATTBERT, Madame Bomry). 

(b) To mark tendency, with tho force of 
' towards % ' against % 'for % especi- 
ally with verbs and expressions of 
emotion e.g. attendre apres quelqu'un, 
to wait for somebody; crier apr$$ 
quelqitfun e.g. II m*a criti apr&s, He 
scolded mo ; demander apr&$ qnelgu'un, 
to ask for somebody ; en avoir apr&s 
qudgriun, to have a grudge against 
somebody ; $tre fdche (en coUre, 
fwiewc) aprls quelqu'un, to be vexed 
(angry, furious) with somebody , 
pleurer (soupirer) apres guelqu\in t to 
cry (sigii) for somebody ; se /dcher 
(5' emporter) apres quelgu'un, to got 
angry with somebody ; tfennuy&r apres 
quelqu'un, to pine after a person. 

Tiens, jo suis ]dch& aprds toi (H. 
LAVED AN, Le Lit). 
Aussi s } <6tait"ell0 love"o do bonne 


heure pour qu'oix rfattcndit pas 
apres elle (H. MALOT, PauUttc). 

Si elle demands aprfe inoi, vous 
lui direz quo fai dc-niawdi' apr$$ olio 
(T. BEBNABO, Lc Danwur iiiconnu), 

See bon (A) 6 (Bornay). 
2. adv. (a) JSt puis apres ? This phrase 
expresses defiance -e.g. Qui, jc Vai 
fait, et puis apres ? Yes, I did it, and 
what if 1 did ? Yos, I did do it, what 
about it ? 

(6) In familiar speech aprus is often used 
as an adverb. Cp. avec (>. 

Cotto pauvro Emilionno, tu lui 
courais assess apres/ (C. H. IfiRSCii, 
"Petit" Louis, JBox&ur}. 
araign^e, n.f, Aroir una araiynvc (deft 
araignfes) dams le (or au.) plafond, To 
bo oil ono's chump, to bo gono in tho 
upper storey, to have a screw loose, 
Lit ' to liavo'n spider In one's coiling * ; op. 
'to have a boo in one'H bonnet/. 

Fl venait do decouvrir <j[U lo 
prince do Guiles avait <f<w wm/f/^frA* 
daw* son plafond* co ful. son mot, ot 
il so prornit d'y donncr un grand 
coxip do balai, d'epouHSoter a fond 
son heritior (V. C-IIKHWUMKZ, L' Idee 
de Jean Tctcrol), 

Caramon, Wine, particularly inforior 
rod wine. 

Aratnou is a canton lu tho Houth of Franco 
which han given itn nann 1 to u vine-plant., 
jyitl tin* J*aiiH Instron Bell their #emruHy 
inferior rod wines under thin high-Houmling 

*arlbi, n.m. *1. Arab. 
*2. Algerian sharpshooter. 
From tlio Algerian u'raby. 
*arl)Jco(t), n.m. Diminutive form of arbi, 

with same meanings. 

arbre, n.m. flaire wontc,r (or grim per) 
que,tqu*un d Varbf?, r fo make a fool of a 
person, to humbug, mystify, 'kid 1 , to 
pull one's leg. Cp. faire monter a 

Lit* *to mako Homo one climb tlJp tree*. 

Jean allait racontor Fhintoiix^ do 
Tarrestation, mais il s^arrota, pon- 
sant que, triNt* ronsoigntk^ la vieiilo 
fille voulait ' 6 le fairo montor tl 
Parbre " (Gyp, Le Baron ftiniii). 

Tu n'es pan ainc6ro. Tu voudraia 

me faire monter d Varbre (IL LAVK- 

DAN, Le nouveau J"m}. 

archi, prefix. Unlike tho English arch 9 

which is used only with noune (o.g* 

arch-liar, areh-bulloon), archi is added 

to nouns, adjectives and past parti* 




ciplos to express a superlative degree 
e.g. II est fou, archi/ou, He is mad, 
stark staring raving mad. J'en suis 
sur, archisur, I'm certain of it, abso- 
bally-lutely certain. Tout cela est 
arc/i,iconnu, That's as old as the hills. 
Non, vraiment, croyez-vous que je 
puisse prendre quelque plaisir a cette 
piece qui est, an point do vuo mili- 
taire, archil ausse d'un bout a 1'autre ? 
(M. HABRY, La divine Chanson)* 
*ardolse, n.f. *1. Avoir une ardoise, To be 
able to get drinks on credit (on tick) in 
a public-house, to chalk (it) up. 
Lit. * slate * ; an allusion to the slate used for 
drawing up the reckoning. Although the 
phrase generally implies credit at a public- 
house, it may also be used in other cases 
e.g. Avoir une ardoise ch&z l& boulang&r (" at 
the baker's'). 

*2. Prendre une ardoise, To make water in a 
street urinal. 

An allusion to the slate-lined walls. 
argent, n.m. I. Mre a court d'argent, To 
be short of money. 

2. M/tre tout cousu d'argent, To be rolling 
in riches, to be made of money. 

By analogy with 6tre tout cousu d'or ; see or 1. 

3. Prendre tout (quelque chose) pour argent 
comptant, To believe aU (something) 
one is told e.g. 11 prend tout cela pour 
argent comptant, He takes it all in. 
Lit. * to take everything as hard cash * ; said 
of credulous or simple persons. 

See dormir 1 (Courteline). 

4. Jeter son argent par les fenfires, To 

squander away one's money, to play 
ducks and drakes with one's money. 

Ces gens-Ik, dit le pretre a 1'oreille 
de 1'avare, jettent V argent par les 
fenltres (BALZAC, ISug&nie Grandet). 

argousin n.m. Policeman, police-spy. 
Beally 'convict-keeper*. 

aria, n.m. Complication, bother, fuss 
e.g. Quel aria ! or Que d* arias ! What 
an ado ! Here's a go ! (Tu paries d'un 
aria / Tall?: of a fuss ! 
Formerly haria or Juzrria, which seems to be 
connected with the old verb hari&r, ' to 
worry % * harry '. 

*aristo n.m. and adj. A man in comfort- 
able circumstances, a toff, swell, nob. 
Les aristos, The upper crust. 
Abbreviation of aristocrats. On the lips of a 
workman, this word constitutes an insult 
implying the greatest contempt. 

arlequin, n.m. A dish made up of the 
remains of various other dishes or of 
all kinds of scraps of meat retailed in 
special shops to the poor people. 
By allusion to the motley garb of a harlequin. 

Elle tombait aux arlequins dans 
les gargotes borgnes (' She was re- 
duced to the 6 resurrection ' dishes 
of low eating-houses '), ou, pour un 
sou, elle avait des tas d' aretes de 
poisson me!6es a des rognures de 
rdti gate (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
arrae, n.f. 1. Mre sous les armes or 

Porter (Suivre) les armes, To be a 

soldier, in the army. 

2. Faire ses premieres armes, (a) To go 
through one's first campaign, to be at 
one's first battle ; (b) To make one's 
first steps (in a career). 

Des mois d'attente et de calme 
apparent avaient cependant suivi 
cette scene, tandis que Raymond, 
tres loin du pays, faisait ses prem- 
ieres armes (P. LOTI, Ramuntcho). 

3. Faire (or Tirer) des armes, To fence. 

4. Passer Varme a gauche, To die, to peg 
out, to go west. 

This phrase, which has spread from military 
slang to popular and even familiar speech, 
alludes to the fact that the soldier in the 
ranks carries his rifle on his right ; thus 
yasser I'arme d gauche implies a departure 
from the usual order. Compare the practice 
of soldiers at funerals of carrying their rifles 
reversed on the left shoulder. 

Monsieur le cur6, au fond, j'ai do 
la religion, et, le jour ou je serai 
tr&s malade et ou je sentirai que je 
vais passer Varme d gauche, soyez 
tranquille, je vous enverrai chercher 
avec le bon Dieu et tout le f ourni- 
ment (* and all the paraphernalia ') 
(F. Coppfe'B, Le bon Grime). 

II y en a qui, pris d'une angoisse 
subite & la pensee de ce qu'il y a 
de vain dans leur besogne et d' in- 
certain dans leur renomme'e, f ond- 
ent, comme le regrett6 Sully-Prud- 
homme, un prix Htteraire, avant que 
"de passer Varme a gauche (G. Du- 
HAMEL, Les Poetes et la Poesie). 

5. Passer par les armes, To be shot 
(military execution). Passer quelgu'un 
par les armes, To shoot (a soldier sen- 
tenced to death). 

C'est surtout le vol que les 
ge"neraux de 1'an -II punissaient avec 
une inexorable s6v6rit6. Dans 1'ar- 
m6e du JSTord, un chasseur, ayant 
chang6 son vieux chapeau centre un 
neuf, fut passi par lea armes (A. 
FBANOE, Le Mannequin d' Osier). 

6. Se battre d Varme blanche, To fight with 
swords, with cold steel. 




Arme Blanche is a weapon made of steel, a 
opposed to arnie d feu. 

Pas un coup do feu n'a ete tiro 
On assassino ce soir a Varme blanch* 
(G. LEROUX, Le Ghdteau noir). 
7, $e mettre (or Mre) sous les armes, To 
attire oneself in one's best clothes, to 
be in full feather, in full %, in all one's 

Like a soldier fully equipped for military 
service. Generally, but not always, used oi 

II s'etait mis sous les armes et fait 

aussi beau que possible 
Jean et Jeannette). 

*armoire, n.f. Armoire a glace, Soldier's 
haversack^ knapsack. 
Lit. * wardrobe with a mirror *. Also called 
armoir d poils (i.e. * with hairs '), by allusion 
to tlxo hairy skin which used to cover these 

*arpete or arpette, n.J. Little ^ girl cm- 
ployed by dressmaker, milliner, etc., 
to run errands, apprentice. 
A patois word meaning " urchin ' , * scamp' , 
The original force of tho term (which comes 
from arpe, 'claw*, whence arpion, q.v.) b~ 
* rapacious ', ' thievish ' (fcjMNfiAN, JLanyayt 
pansien, p. 304). 

See cheval 5 (Farrero). 

*arpion, n.m. Poot, * beetle-crusher '. 

Arpion or harpion, lit. 'claw*, comes 
from harpe, * harpoon ' and also * dog's 
claw '. 

*arquepincer, vb. tr* To catch, collar, seize, 
grab, nab. Se faire arqu&pincer, To 
get nabbed, pinched. 
This verb belongs to the language of tho 
apaches and = literally pincer au domi-cercle, 
another popular expression, borrowed from 
fencing, and moaning * to catch or stop 
some one when, he least expects it *. A 
synonym is cercler (SAJNiUN, L&s Sources do 
I' Argot ancien, II, pp. 218, 275). 

arracher, vb. tr. On se I'arrache (of per- 
sons), Be is all the rage, There is a 
regular scramble for him, Ho is much 
sought after. 

Lit. 4 people are snatching him from one 
another '. 

Non . . . personno ne me plait ! 
. , . pour 1'epouser, s'entend (* of 
course* or c l mean') . . . ainsi 
tiens . . . Paul de Lussy, qu'on 
trouve si Men . . . et M. do Trene, 
gu'on tfarrache . . . ben ( eh 
bien), je n'on voudrais pas ! (Gyp, 
Le Mariage de Chiffon). 

Aimez-vous le monde ? Jo no 
peux pas me dispenser d'y allor, on 
se ttfarmche (H. BECQTTE, Les Cor- 

arranger, vb. tr. 1. (a) To suit, please 

e.g. Voilft qiti m? arrange, That suits mo 
well, That's just the thing for me. 

Au fait, cola ivCarranyv do croire 
qu'il en est ainsi ( l that things are 
so') (C. FAERjBsiiB,, His- 
toires de Mar ins)* 

(b) 8' arranger de, To put up with, to make 
shift with e.g. Je m* arrange de tout, 
I make tho best of everything. 
2. (Of persons and things) To spoil, ill- 
treat, make a mess of, do an ill turn to, 
to 'give it* to some one, to give one a 
dressing down, to dust some one's 
jacket for him e.g. (Comtnc) mutt 
voild bien arrange ! (ironical) What a 
sight you look I You do look a sight ! 
You are in a mess ! Jc Vai arrange 
de, la belle (bonne,) fa$on, (manure,), I 
dusted his jacket well for him, I gave 
him tho rough side of my tongue, Ho 
caught it hot from nio. /I s'eM fait 
salcniGnt arranger I Ho got a rare 
drotttung-dowii ! 

Et qu'ost-co qui t 1 ^ arrange 
commo cola, ma pauvre petito? 
Un coup do pied do vachc, quan<l 
j'avais cinq ans (Tho * pauvro pt^tito * 
is a crippled girl with a wooden leg) 
(Jb\ Coi^liB, Les Viced du iktpitainc). 
Vous avez vu commo on m'rm/ 
dans la presse, Jflsi-co aHsea com- 
plot ? (I^\ Die CURKL, La notttwUe 

*3. To cheat, take in o.g. Oft $e, fail 
arranger dans ce rettiaurant-la> You get 
dono in at that restaurant. Thin may 
imply that one is overcharged or that 
inferior stuff is sold. 

4. t$* arranger. Qu*il Jar range! That in 
his look-out ! Ho imwt manage- UM 
best ho can, Arrangcz-VQUti ! (reflexive) 
Manage as best you can ! Thai, is 
your look-out ! (rwiprooal) M<ttlo it. 
among yourselves, with oaoh other, 
any way you like, Como to an undor- 

arrlyer, vb. hitr. 1. To Huceeod, to ge{, on 
in th.o world, to mako OIK^H way. A 
successful, self-maclci man in -wa r!rri>/, 
Non, tu rfarriiWftn jamaiH. Tu 
as du m6tier, tu an du talent, in 
es honnoto. Main ta pointtJiro 
plato, mon foonhommo (A* MAtmw,% 
Nawsance $un Maitre). 
2. Arrive qua pourra, Como what may* 
800 note to advenlr, A popular variant i 
Arrive qui plant(\ 




Arrive que pourra, on est sur 

d' avoir une bonne recolte en semant 

sur cette terre fertilised par lea 

cendres des arbres qu'elle portait 

(MfeaiMEE, Mateo Falcone). 

3. II croit que c'est arrive may mean (a) 

He is artless, credulous ; (b) He has 

too big an opinion of himself, He 

thinks he is absolutely c it ' ; (c) He 

believes too implicitly that a thing 

exists or is true or is important or that 

there is something in it. 

(b) La jeune fille prit & temoin le 
professeur : C'est que mon frere 
croit que tfest arrive, m'sieu' ! 
Vous m'en direz des nouvelles av- 
ant peu, mademoiselle. Alors, si 
vous 1'encouragez ! (C. H. HIRSCH, 
* 6 Petit " Louis, JSoxeur). 
arriviste, n.m. One who is unscrupulous 
in the art of getting on, one who means 
to get on at all costs, a pushful, * get- 
rich-quick ' man, a 4 hustler '. 

Un arriviste, soit ('if you like'), 
ayant eu une chance ('luck') 
6normo, mais tres bon enfant (* a 
very good sort '), et beaucoup de 
talent, apres tout (F. COPPEE, Le 
Tableau d'tfglise). 

*arrosage, n.m. The act of arroser 1. 
arroser, vb. tr. *l. To treat some one to 
a drink, to stand drinks in celebration 
of some event e.g. C'est moi gui 
arrose, It's my call. Arroser ses 
galons, To treat one's comrades on be- 
ing made a N.C.O., to wet one's stripes. 
Lit, * to water'. 

On trinqua ('clinked glasses') 
pour arroser 1' affaire conclue (MAU- 
PASSANT, Une Vie). 

2. To bribe, c square * a person. 
*arsouille, n.m. and adj. Blackguard, cad, 

rotter, rank outsider. 
The verbal noun from arsouiller, which is 
itself a corruption of resomller, i.e. se souiller 
('to defile oneself) again or completely, 
whence the meaning of 'to wallow in de- 
bauchery V to lead a dissolute life ' ( SAiNiiAN", 
Langage parisien, pp. 76-77). 
article, 1. Eire a V article de la mort, 
To be at the point of death, at death's 

From the Latin in articulo mortis. 
*2. Mtre porte sur Varticle, To be of an 
amatory disposition, to have a well- 
developed bump of amativeness. Cp. 
bagatelle 2, chose 3, porter 2. 

3. Faire V article, To puff (crack up) one's 
wares or goods (lit. and fig.} e.g. II 

sait faire Particle, He knows how to 
puff his goods (lit. andj%.). 
This, like the next, is a commercial phrase, 
article denoting the class of goods made or 
sold by a merchant. 

4. Voyager pour son article, To travel in 
business, to be on the road (as a com- 
mercial traveller). 

Dans sa jeunesse, lui, Matous- 
saint, quand il voyageait pour son 
article, il avait eu une querelle, a 
Sens, avec un sous-officier de 
dragons (F. COPP&E, Le Parrain). 
*artlflo(t), n.m. Artilleryman. 

A combination of artilleur and fiflot 

as, n.m. 1. First-rate man, an Al man 
e.g. C'est un as, He's a ' clipper ', a 
' blood ', a ' one-er '. 
Lit. ' ace '. During the war, as was used of 
any brave soldier, particularly of a distin- 
guished or first-class aviator. Before the war, 
the term was heard chiefly in the language 
of sport. Its popularity during the war has 
resulted in a very wide extension of its use 
and it is now applied to superior merit of 

any kind (cp. ' He is a regular trump *). In 
slang a slight hint of the force of pMnom&ne 
has crept into the term, so that C'est un as is 
sometimes tantamount to the older expression 
C'est un numdro (KYROP, Etudes de Gram- 
maire francaise, III, pp. 19-20). 

Je ne t'egalerai jamais, tu es un as 
(A. BrjRABEAtr, Un Jour de Folie). 

Merveilleux !...!! est merveil- 
leux! Vousentendez . . . c'est un 
as/ ... un as/ (M. NADATTD, Un 

See magnes (Champsaur). 
*2. Aller d Vas, To take a fall, to come a 

cropper (mucker). 

*3. As de carreau, Soldier's knapsack, 

Lit, 'ace of diamonds'. An allusion to its 
square shape. 

*4. Bouffer d Vas, To fast, not to eat at all. 
*5. Eire a ?as (or aux as), To have plenty of 
money, to be flush. 
Cp. avoir des as dans son feu (lit. * to have 
aces in one's cards *), 'to have every chance 
of success*, 'to have protectors*. 

Y avait des choses qu'on payait. 
. . . On etait encore aux as, en 
c'temps-l^i (H. BAKBUSSE, Le Feu). 
*6. Passer d Vas, (a) To juggle something 
away (lit. and fig.) ; (b) not to pay ; 
(c) to get nothing for oneself in an 
undertaking or share-out. 
*7. Veiller d Z'cw, To be careful, on the look- 
out, to keep one's eyes open. 
asperge, n.f. Tall, thin person, * lamp- 
post ', * long string of misery '. 
Lit. "asparagus'. 





*aspliyxier, vb. tr. To rob, collar, bag. Cp. 
Stouffer 2. 

Lit. ' to suffocate '. Used in the army during 
the War. 

asplrateur, n.m. Vacuum-cleaner. 
*assassiner, vb. tr. *1. (Of things) To spoil, 
smash up, make a mess of. 
Lit. 'to murder'. 

*2. (Of persons) To bore to death, to plague 
one's life out e.g. 11 m?a assassine de 
compliments, He bored me to death 
with his compliments. 

Voila deux heures qu'un imbecile, 
poste dans 1'ilo en face do moi, 
TO? assassine avec son instrument 
(FLATJBEBT, Correspondance). 
assaut, n.m,. Faire assaut de politesse 
(d'esprit, $ eloquence., de zele, etc.), To 
vie in politeness (wit, eloquence, zeal, 

asseoir. *1. vb. tr. Asseoir quelqu'un, 
To make a crushing retort to a 
person, floor, squash, shut up- e.g. 
Je Pai assis, I choked him. olL II 
en est reste assis, He was absolutely 

Lit. *to make a person sit down* (i.e. with 
astonishment) . 

Mon petit, je vais t'en raconter 
une (i.e. une histoire) quo tu en 
rester as assis (* you will bo absolutely 
flabbergasted ') (COLETTE, La Fin de 

*2. S'asseoir. *(a) Allez vous asseoir/ 
Shut up ! Got away with you ! Go to 
' pot M 

*(&) Envoyer gudgvfun s^asseoir, To throw 
a person down or To silence a person or 
To get rid of one. 
*(c) $' 'asseoir sur guelgue chose, To attach 

but slight importance to a thing* 
*(d) S' asseoir sur quelqu'un = 1. 
assez, adv. En avoir assez, To have had 
quite enough of it e.g. J*en ai assez, 
I'm fed up with it. 

Si tu as aftsez de moi, il y a lo 
divorce (BRIBTTX, Matcrnite). 

See boutique 1 (Maupassant). 
assiette, ??,./. 1. Ne pas Hre (or se sentir) 
dans (or en) son assiette, To feel queer, 
out of sorts, cheap, oil colour, not to 
feel quite up to the mark. 
AssiMte is hero the noim from asseoir, and 
denotes lit, "the position in which one is 
seated" and fig. "state*. 

Moi aussi, je ne me sens pas en 
mon assiette, il faudra mcme tin de 
ces jours que je vienne consul- 

tor Monsieur (FLAUBERT, Madame 

Qu'est-ee quo tu as, ma L6a ? 
Tu n'a pas Fair dan A ton assiette ? 
interrogea tendremcnt Mine Poloux 
(COLETTE, Ohcri). 

2. XSassiette au beurrc, The good things in 
the gift of the Government. Avoir 
Vassiette au beurre, To be well oft", to 
obtain preferments. 
Lit. ' the buttor- plate *. Those in power \vht) 
use their intlucnce on behalf of their friends 
are compared to a person holding th butt.or 
dish and handing it round the tal)h\ Tho 
expression had been current lor a Ion'* Mmo 
when a aong appeared in 1871 with the title 
of L'Assictto aw Iwurre, and the name wan 
adopted by a political and satirical paper 
which denounced the practice of those in high 
places of procuring *fat* positions for their 

L'honnour national, la fiorto du 
pavilion ('flag'), c'ost le cadet de, 
Uurs soucis ( 4 is the least of th(Mr 
concerns '), aux convives do Vats- 
sictte au beurre . . . Dos jouisaoiifH 
et des ego'istos, voil^t tout (I<\ Cor- 
p^is, Un Drapeau de moms)* 
assommant, adj. (Of persons or things) 
Boring, tiring e.g. Que voua ctctt 
assommant ! How tiresome you aro ! 
Qtfil cst assommanty Get homme-lii ! 
What a bore that man is ! 
See- assommer. 

Quo tu os assommant^ avoo ton 
mots d'esprit ot ten m^ohanct^ 
(0. MIRBEAIT, Le Journal d'una 
ffemme de Ohamhre), 

O'est assommant do travctillor lo 

dimanche (BMTSTDC, La petite Amid)* 

assomraer, vb. tr. (Of things n,nd pnrw/w) 

To bore, weary. XratMonMnar, To Iw 


fj'it. " to knock down ', * to fell to the ground '. 

Sos livres no mo pasHionnoiil pluH 

comme autrofois, m&mo ila xtfassom- 

ment (0. MIKBBACT, Le Journal d'wHP- 

ffemme de Chambre). 

Mos enfants, jouons h> (^xelc^uo 
choso en attendant. On f?as#ome a 
dix francs 1'houro (H. BATAir.LK, 

assommolr, n.m. Low drink-shop, dram- 

Lit ' club * , ' bludgeon '. Originally the name 
of a wlno-Bhop in the Belleville district of 
Paris, which became common to all low 
drinking-shopH after JSola had twod it as tho 
title for his famous novel. 
*asticoter. *I. vb. tr. To irritate^ worry, 
tease, * rag '. 




Lit. ' to prick ' ; a Norman borrowing going 
back to the Old French estiqwr, ' to stick ', 
'to prick '. 

Jo parie que cette question-la, 
elle vous asticote, tout comme moi 
(B. COOLTJS, Les JBleus de V Amour). 
Ne me gardez pas rancune de 
vous asticoter comme je viens de 
le faire (BuiEirx, Le Bourgeois aux 

*2. $' asticoter, To have angry words (as a 
prelude to a set-to), to squabble. 

Les autres jours, quand elles 
s'asticotaient ensemble, comme a 
arrive dans tous les manages, la vieifie 
femme bougonnait ('would start 
grumbling '), se disait horriblement 
malheureuse d'etre ainsi a la merci 
de sa belle-fiEe (ZoLA, ISAssommoir). 
Elles s'adorent et elles passont 
leur vie & s' asticoter ! (BEIEUX, 

atours, n.m, pi. Etre dans tous ses (or 
dans s&s plus beaux) atours, To be 
dressed in all one's finery. 
Atours ia the plural of the verbal noun, xised 
in this expression only, of the old word 
atouruor, 'to dispose', * to dock out*. 
atout, n.m. 1. Vigorous blow, knock, 
4 wipe ' e.g. J'ai regu un rude (or 
fameux) atout sur la tete, I didn't half 
get a wipe on the head. 
Lit. " trump ' (at cards) ; by allusion to the 
blow dealt to the other cards. 
*2. Atout is sometimes used as an inter- 
jection to emphasise the fact that a 
blow has taken effect e.g. Empoche 
$a, et atout, atout, atout! Take (lit. 
* Pocket ') that, and that, and that ! 
*3. Strength, courage e.g. avoir de I* atout, 
to have pluck, * spunk ' ; ne pas avoir 
d 1 atout, not to be strong enough, not to 
have the nerve. 

attaque, d*. 1. adj. (Of persons) Strong, 
plucky, game, resolute, ready for any 
emergency ; (of things) Fine, big, good, 
violent, severe, * frightful '. 
Properly a hunting term ; a chien d'attaque 
is a dog on which one can rely for tracking 
down and pursuing big game. 

Joanne e"tait d'attaque ( c game '). 
Elle avait fait ses preuves (' She had 
given proof of her mettle ') (M. 
COKDAY, Mariage de demain). 

Pour un mariage d'attaque ( 4 tip- 
top '), on peut dire que e'en est un 
(H. LAVEDAN, Leur Cc&ur). 
2. adv. Y aller d'attaque, To sot about a 
thing with a will, smartly, resolutely, 

as if one meant business. Travailler 
d'attague, To work with a will. 

Oui, Madame, c'est un bon gars 
(' lad ') qui travaille d'attaque (MATT- 
PASSANT, line Vie). 

attendre, vb. tr. I. Je V attends la or C'est 
la que je V attends, I'll have him there, 
That's where I shall catch him. 
This expression implies that one is only 
waiting for a person to do or say something 
in order to catch him out. 
2. Je vous attendais la or Voila ou je vous 
attendais, That's just what I was ex- 
pecting (you to say or do). 

Pauvre fille ! m'^criai-je en 
rendant les lettres & M.P. . . ., 
quelque blessure secrete Favait 
achevee, sans doute une premiere 
deception du coeur ! Ah 1 fit mon 
hdte, je vous attendais la ! (DE 
VOGUE, Varvara Afanasievna). 
*attiger. *1. vb. tr. = amoeher 1. 

An old cant word, meaning ' to hit % * beat % 
* wound ' , which has survived in popular 
speech and received a new lease of life during 
the War with a slightly different meaning 
(SAIN^AN, Les Sources de I 3 Argot ancien, II, 
pp. 218, 276). 

*2. vb. tr. and intr. To exaggerate, to 
carry a joke too far, to come it strong, 
to pull one's leg. The word is often 
followed by la cabane e.g. N'attige 
done pas (la cabane) ! I say, draw it 
mild ! Come of! it ! 
Very common during the War. 

attrapade, n.j. Quarrel, squabble, bicker- 
ing, fight, ' mill '. 

attrapage, n.m. *l. = attrapade. 

2. Severe scolding, sharp criticism, telling- 

attrape, n.f. Catch, booby-trap, take- 
in, claptrap, humbug. Also called 
attiape-nigaud, n.m., or attrape-gogo, 
Lit. ' trap (for a booby, simpleton) '. 

attraper, vb. tr. 1. Attrape / Take that 1 
It serves you right I Put that in your 
pipe and smoke it 1 That's for your 
pains ! 
Lit. ' Catch ! ' 

2, To cheat, do in, bamboozle e.g. 
J'ai ete attrape, I've been sold, taken in. 

3. To row, slang, give it some one hot 
e.g. Vous allez $tre attrape or Vous allez 
vous faire attraper, You'll get into a 
row ! You're in for it ! Se faire 
attraper, To get scolded, abused, 
* blown up '. 

Us attrapent Bussignol, parce 
qu'ils n'ont pas de talent. Le 




pauvre gargon paye pour tons (H. 

BATAILLE, La, Femme nue}. 
4. S'attraper (avec quelqu'un], To quarrel, 
squabble, to have words (with some 

Ah bien ! vous etes encore ( e you 

aren't half') innocents de vous 

attraper pour la politique ! (ZoLA, 


aubaine, n.f. Une bonne aubame, An un- 
expected stroke of good luck. 
Originally a legal term ; le droit d'aubaina 
was the right by virtue of which, the king 
inherited, the possessions of the awbam 
('foreigner') who died in his lands. 
*aubere, auber(t), n.m. Money, 'rhino', 
4 boodle '. 

An old cant term which has survived I in 
popular speech. It is really the word 
haubert, ' Imuberk * ; and its use in the sense 
of ' money ' is due to a play on worda : 
haubert, ' a coat of mail ', is an assemblage 
of mailles, ' meshes ' ; but maiUe also de- 
noted a certain com, so that both fwubert 
and "money' consisted of a collection of 


audace, n.f. Payer $ audace, To put on a 
bold face, to show a. bold front, to 
brazen a thing out. 

A present, il faiit payer d? audace, 
risquer le tout pour lo tout ( c risk all 
to win all 5 ) (H. BERNSTEIN, La 

Payant $ audace, Theobald Verniol 
demanda a son secretaire : Quo 
faisiez-vous done an Bois* hior 
matin ? ( WILLY, La bonne MaUifww) 
*Auguste, proper name. Ootnme de juste, 
Auguste J One of many popular stock 
rhyming phrases, which expresses 
agreement ; Quite so ! Eight you 
are ! You've said' it ! That's tho 
ticket ! Not half, Arthur ! etc. 
ciutant, adv. 1. Autant -f- infinitive is 
equivalent to ' On might just as well* 
. . .*, *It is as if . . .' e.g. Autant 
dire , . ., One might as well say . ., 
Which is as good as saying . . ., That 
is to say ... Tu te bats souvent ? 
Jamais, autant dire. Do you often 
fight ? Neyer, you may say, Autant 
causer & une borne ! You might as well 
talk to the wall ! (lit. ' to a boundary 
stone '). 

Elliptical for II vaut (or mudrait] autant 4* 
Infinitive. Autant vaudrait -f infinitive ia 
also used. 

2. Autant vaut, Practically, or nearly so 
e.g. La guerre estfinie, ou autant vaut, 
The war is as good as (is practically) 

3. C'est touyours autant or C'est (toujours) 
autant de gagne* That's always so much 
to the good. Cp. $a 6. 

Quand elle m'embrassait, jo me 
rondais bien compte qu'elle em- 
brassait un pou lo frere sur les jouos 
do la soeur, la mdtine ( l the minx ') I 
Ma foi, jo no disais rien, tfetaitflu- 
tant de gaffnc. (BBiBtDC, Les Ameri- 
cains ckcz nous). 

4. J'aime autant e.^. Veux-tu que Jc 
recommence ? Taime autant. Do yon 
want mo to begin again ? If you 
don't mind or Yes, if you like. 

*autor, d% adv. *1. On one's own initia- 
tive, of one's own accord, off one's own 
bat, without hesitation, without ask- 
ing for advice. 

An abbreviation of (ffautoritti. The expression 
cornea from the game of tfmrte f , in which it 
signifies that a player does not borrow a 

*2. Traveller tfoiutoff et d^acJiar^ To work 
with energy, with a will. SIM* achar, 


Pige-moi (* Just spot ") c'to rotn- 
biere (* woman ") <{iii fait tttrbincr 
('work') HOS lardttns (* brats') 
d'autor c,t d'arhar (Gvr, (Itwx qm ffcn 

autre, atij. anil pron, 1. A d'autrcnj 
Tell that to tho marines ! Don't, toll mr 
that ! 

Implying AdrflMfs-vmut d d'autr&tt, ylti* 
c,rMule$, * Tell that to others more credulous 
than J am', 

A tfctulrMt, mon bon monniour ! 
vos vessies ttont des lanterns / ( 4 you 
cannot make us believe that "tlw 
moon is made of green choose 1 ') 
olle est ii dormir detiout (* it's an oltl 
wives' tale '), votro histoiro d<^ 
brigands ! (C. FABTI^RE, J)to-8tpt 
Histoires de Marine). 
Seo faire 19 (Farrere), lalt 2 (Gyp). 

2. Comrne dtt Vautre, As the saying in 
(goes), As so-and-so says. 

Et puis, wffwn& disait I' autre (* iw 
tho old saying goes *), il ncfnut $ax 
prfooir les malheurs de si loin (* do not 
cross your bridges before you come 
to them ').- A chaque jowr &nffit tut 
peine / (* Sufficient unto tho day in 
the evil thereof) (Bnrwux, % La 
petite Amie). 

3. Un void (voil&) bien ffun& autre/ 
And now what's more (worse) . . . ; 
Bid ono ever see tho like of it ? 
Equivalent to void quftlqii c/iosf (Jt* pluit 


Dormant. Some word like affaire or Mstoire 

or chose is understood. 

En ce moment, la grande Nanon 
apparut, arme'e d'une bassinoire. 
En voila bien d'une autre / dit M. 
Grandet. Prenez-vous mon neveu 
pour tine femme ? Veux-tu bien 
remporter ta braise, Nanon ! (BAL- 
ZAC, Eugenie Grandet). 

4. En voir bien d'autres e.g. J'en ai vu 
bien d'autres, I have been through 
worse than that, I have survived 
greater trials than that, I have out- 
lived worse things than that. 
Equivalent to des chases plus extraordinaires. 
Some word like malheurs or choses is under- 

Cependant, j'essayais de me con- 
soler, de me faire des illusions. Je 
me disais : Le pays est malade. 
Mais, bah ! il en a vu bien d'autres, 
il est solide, il s'en tirera (' will re- 
cover ') (F. COFFEE, Un Drapeau de 

See cran 1 (Dorgel&s). 

5. N*en jamais faire d'autres e.g. II ri*en 
fait jamais d? autoes, It's just the kind 
of thing he would do, He's always 
doing that kind of thing, It is always 
the way with him, It is just like him, 
That's just like his usual nonsense, 
clumsiness, etc., He is at it again. 
Equivalent to faire toujours des sottises 
pareittes. Some word like tours, ' tricks ', or 
suttises is implied. 

La cuisiniere avait servi une 
creme dans une coupe, alors qu'il y 
avait un plat fait expres, c'e'tait 
insupportable, elle n 1 en faisait jamais 
d'autres (GYP, Miche). 

6. L'un dans Vautre, On an average. 

Je parie qu'ils les ont payes 95 
centimes I'un dans I'autre, leurs 
bouquets ! (GYP, Les Amoureux). 

7. Vous me prenez pour un autre, You mis- 
take me for a simpleton. 

autrement, adv. 1. Apart from its 
ordinary meaning of * otherwise % 
autrement can assume the comparative 
force of 'far more ', ' still more *, * much 
more ', generally with the addition 
of another adverb like bien, tout. 

Paris est bien autrement terrible 
aveo ses monstres que toutes '. 
forets d'Afrique (DAUDET, Jack). 

Notre maison, nos meubles, sont 
des compagnes autrement fideles que 
nos habits (M. PREVOST, Lettres a 
J?ran$oise mariee). 

21 avec 

2. In negative sentences this comparative 
force is equivalent topasbeaucoup (lit. 

* not more than necessary ') e.g. Je 
ne m'en inquiete pas autrement, I am 
not worrying very much about it. Je 
rty tiens pas autrement t 1 am not very 
keen about it. Oela ne m'etonne pas 
autrement, That does not surprise me 
very much. 

L'abbe Pellegrin ne parut pas 
autrement impressionne" (C. VAXTTEL, 
Mon Cure chez les Pauvres). 

Ces dames ne lui plaisaient pas 
autrement, mais elles ne 1'enrayaient 
plus du tout (A. HERMANT, Cadet de 

*Auverpin, n.m. and adj. A native of 

A corruption of Auverf/nat. This name is 
given in Paris to charcoal-dealers, water- 
carriers, boot-blacks, commissionaires, etc., 
who generally hail from Auvergne. Other 
nicknames are Aivoerploume (i.e. an Auv&rgnat 
as heavy as ploum, the Gascon word for 
plomb, ' lead *) or simply ploume, and f ouchtra, 
g.v. See also bougna. 
avaehl, adj. (Of things and persons) 

Flabby, out of shape. 
avaehir, s". To get out of shape, to be- 
come flabby e.g. Cette femme s'est 
avachie, This woman has become 
avachissement, n.m. Putting out of 

shape, flabbiness. 

avancer, vb. tr. 1. Cela m'avance bien ! 
or La belle avance! (ironical) What 
better off am I ? What good is that to 
me ? 

2. Je n'en suis pas plus avanc, I am no 
better off, I am none the wiser (nearer) 
(for it). 

3. Vous voila (or Vous $te$) bien avance t 
(ironical) What better off are you ? 
What good have you gained by that ? 
What good has that done you ? 

II fallait suivre mes conseils. Te 
voila bien avance maintenant ( ' You 
are no better off now than you were 
before ') (E. FABRE, IS Argent}. 
*avantages, n.m. pi. Woman's breasts, 

* Charlies.' 

It is interesting to note that the old and literal 
meaning of the word wantage was * that 
which is placed en amnt ', ' a projection*. 

*avant-senes, n.f. pi avantages. 

Lit. ' stage-boxes ', which generally project. 
r avec, prep. The following uses of the ad- 
verbial phrase avec cda (pa) in modern 
French should be noted : 
1. In its literal sense of et puis f and be 


sides *, c into the bargain ', c on top of 
that ' e.g. a shop assistant will say 
to a customer who has just made a 
purchase : Avec go,, madame ?, the 
reply being : C*est tout, mere*, mon- 

Avec tout $a, je n'ai pas dejeune 

(H. BATAILLE, U Enfant de V Amour). 
Ce n'est rien, un petit etourdisso- 

nxent, a cause de 1'air qui est tres vif . 

Avec $a, les rues aont si droles dans 

cette sacr6e ville (ZOLA, La Gonquete 

de Plassans), 

2. Avec ca gue is used with the same force 
e.g. Avec ca que je m'etwiuie (= et 
puis, je m'ennuie). 

Fichu temps, hein, Edmond ? 
En effet, monsieur le comte. Avec 
ca g^'on ne scrape dejti plus Tbeau- 
eoup. Ah ! c'etait autr chose sous 
1'Empiro (H. LAVEDAW, Viveurs). 

3. A more frequent use of avec ca ! is that 
in which the phrase has become an ex- 
clamatory ironical formula expressing 
doubt, incredulity or contradiction, 
equivalent to * Nonsense ! ' c .Rubbish! ' 

* Tell that to the marines !' * I don't 
think ! ' * I daro say ! * (ironical)} 

* Beally ! * (ironical). This use occurs 
after a negative sentence. 

C'est impossible ... Us n'oser- 
aient pas. Avec ga / Ils ne respect- 
ent plus riea (0. MIEBEATJ, Le fioy&r). 

Qu'cst-ce qu'il a ? II boude ? 
Non, Avec $a / Je le cormais . . . 
encore tine lubie ! Quel sale carac- 
tere il a, cclui-la ! (H. BATAILLB, Le 

4. Similarly avec ca gue is used, generally 
in a negative construction* to call a 
statement into question- e.g. Vous ne 
m'avez pas reconnu. Avec $a gtue je ne 
vans ai pas reconnu. You didn't recog- 
nise me.^ Nonsense ! Of course I re- 
cognised you. 

5. Finally avec $a que serves to affirm 
ironically or mockingly. Some possible 
English renderings are s It's not as 
if ...',* Just as if ' . . .*, c You can't 
pretend that . , A 

Alors, je vous ai doucement 
Doiarch^ sur lo pied. Ah ! cMtait 
vous ? Avec ca quc, vous no le 
saviez pas, Paulettc (F. DJSJ CBOISSET, 
Le. JBonheur, Mesdames). 

C'est vous qui avoz excite le chien! 
Comment, non ? Avec $a gue jo ne \ 

22 aviser 

1'ai pas vu (P. MAKGTTERITTE, Simple 

G. In familiar speech, avec is frequently 
used as an adverb e.g. Si vous mettez 
cette fobCj qud chapcau wettrez-voitz 
avec 1 If you wear that dress, which 
hat will you wear with it ? 
3ST.B.- The people KO further juicl use ftcttis in 
the same way c.&. PreMdin ton chateau, JG 
ne wuy. pas que tit sortfls sans, 
avenant, & 1% adv. In keeping, to match. 
Avenant in the sense of * agrecins with * Is 
only found in this expulsion. As an 
adjective it lias the value ot * pleasing*, 
' cngacfinp; ' e.g. une personnv avanante, mi avenant. 

II portait uno vieille redingoto, 
xm mauvais gilet, un paiitalon d 
Vavenant et des bottes resRoinolocs 
(BALZAC, Le P&re Oonot). 
aventure, n.f. Dire la bomie avcuturc, To 
tell fortunes, to bo a dixcwr (fom, 
diseuse) de bonne aventure., fortune- 
teller. Se faire dire (or &>e tirer) la 
bonne aventure. To have one's fortune 

"Voulez-vous que je vouft dise 
votrc bonne awnture V " domancla 
Mila h> Mergy. <e Volontiors ", rcv 
pondit Mergy, tandis q,u'il lui 
donnait sa main droite otiverto 
(MffiRiMiE, La Chronigm du Jtegnc de 
Charles IX). 

aveu, w.m. Un homme (De$ gvns) sans 
awn, Vagabond(s), vagrant(s). 
Lit. * avowal * ; an allni<in to the feudal 
custom by which a vassal had to make an 
dwvjw of the lands he held and which Iw 
placed under his overlord's protection. A 
man who po-sscHHcd no property could, make 
no such avowal, 
avion, n.m. Aeroplane. 

According to Larousse, thi was originally 
the name (from I/at, nvw^ * bird ') given to 
his flying machine by the inventor Ador. 

See Bertha (Curd). 

avis,* 1. M'est ct>m$ q[tte . ., It 
strikes mo that . . ., It is nay opinion 
that . . ., MothinkB , . . 
The impersonal Bubjeet. il is understood.. 

M'est avis gue COM nienmoura 
negligent quolquos milliers d'auirow 

Soo panne 3 (Kiohepin). 
2. Sawf (Jusgtfb) aw contmire, Unless 

(Until) advised to the contrary, Unless 

(Until) I (you, to.) hoar (or write) to 

the contrary. 
aviser, s*. Ne vous en avisez pas / You 

had bottor not (try, do it) ! 

Lit, ' do not taJte it into your head I * 




avoir, vb. tr. 1. Avoir qiielqu'un, (a) To 
take in, deceive, ' have ' a person 
e.g. Vous m'avez eu, I've been had, 
You scored off me. Tu ne m'auras 
plus / You won't catch me again ! 
(b) To beat, vanquish, whack, lick e.g. 
On Us aura ! We'll lick them ! We'll 
have them yet ! 

The expression On IBS aura 1 was immortalised 
in General P<tam's dispatch to the 10th 
Army on April 10, 1916. 

Les Allemands n'ont plus de 
munitions. . . . On les aura, quand 
on voudra (H. BABBFSSE, Le J?eu). 

2. En avoir, varies in meaning according to 
the context e.g. II en a may mean : 
He's got strength, pluck, cheek, money, 
etc. It may also stand for II en a 
dans Vaile (see alle 1). 

Faut pas en avoir pour se laisser 
dire ga ! (' He can't have much 
" spunk " to allow himself to be 
spoken to like that ! ') (B. DOE- 
GBLisJS, Les Groix de Bois). 

Au coup do feu du Tarasconnais, 
un hurlement terrible r^pondit. 
" II en a I " (' He's hit ! ') cria le 
bon Tartarin (A. DAITDET, Tartarin 
de Tarascon}. 

3. En avoir a (or contre) guelgu'un> To be 

angry with a person, to have a grudge 
against some one e.g. A gui en avez- 
vous ? With whom are you angry ? 
G'est a vous qu'il en a, Ho has a grudge 
against you. Op. vouloir 2. 
See' sang 9 (Richopin). 

4. En avoir pour + expression of time 
e.g. J*en ai pour trois heures, I shall be ; 

three hours over it, I am in for three 

hours of it. 

Comment va votre maitre ? Oh, 
pas bien, monsieur. 11 n'en a pas 
pour longtemps (i.e. a vivre ; * He 
won't last long ') (MAUPASSANT, 

Dites done, vous en avez encore 
pour longtemps a siffler comme 9a 
( c I say, how much longer are you 
going to keep that whistling up '), 
mon ami ? (BBIBUX, Les Americains 
chez nous). 

5. Qu'avez-vous ? What is the matter with 
you ? What ails you ? J'ai que . . ., 
The matter is that I ... Je n'ai 
rien, There is nothing the matter with 

See vrite~ 1 (Herman*). 

6. Qu'y a~t-il ? What is the matter ? 
What is wrong ? II y a que . ., The 
matter is that . . . 

*azor, n.m. *1. Dog. 

Azor is a common pet name for a dog. 

*2. Revolver, * barking-iron '. Op. 1 and 
aboyeur, basset. 

*3. Soldier's haversack, knapsack, e scran- 

Compared to a dog by allusion to the hairy 
covering when knapsacks were made of skin ; 
cp. note to armoire. 

*azteque, n.m. Puny creature, dwarfed, 
feeble, misshapen person, stunted and 
weakly person, miserable little wretch. 
The tribe of the Aztecs in Mexico seems to 
have been noted for their thinness, and 
their name has become synonymous with 
weak and rickety. Jack, the hero of A. 
Daudet's novel of that name, was nicknamed 
by his fellow-workers. 


baba, adj. inv. Astounded, dumbfounded, 

flabbergasted. En etre (or rester) baba, 
To be struck all of a heap. 
This word, to judge by the form of it with 
its reduplicated syllable, probably originated 
in children's talk. According to &ain6an 
(Sources indig&nea, I, p. 71) r&ster baba prop- 
erly means ' to remain nonplussed like a goat 
or sheep ' and is an allusion to the stupid, 
astonished expression of the goat (and of 
cattle in general). 

Mais eux, 1' ay ant rejoint, demeu- 
rerent baba, stupefaits de recon- 
naitre on lui l'6toigneur de rcverbere 
communal (G- COXTBTELINB, Le 
Train de Sh. 47). 

Eh bien, qu'est-ce quo tu dis de 
g& $ ^}! bien, repondit la petite qui 

se mit & rire, je dis que fen suis baba ! 
( I am struck all of a heap ') (Gyp, 
Le Mariage de CMffon). 
*]baMllarde or babille, n.f. Letter. 

Lit, * babbler *. Army slang. 
"baMnes, n.f. pi. Lips, chops e.g. s*en 
lecher les babines, to smack one's lips 
over a thing (lit. or fig., and before or 
after the event), to lick one's chops 
(or gills). 

Lit. ' lips of animals '. 

*]ba]bouines, n.f. pi. = foaMnes e.g. Se caler 
les babouines (or se babouiner), To eat, 
to *soo(r)f. 

This form is of provincial (Berry) origin. 
bacchanal, n.m. Great noise, uproar, 
tumult, disturbance e.g. faire un 




bacchanal, to kick up a row, shindy, 

By allusion to the Bacchanalia. 
*bHche, n.f. Bed sheet e.g. se mettre dans 
les bdches, to go to bed, to get "between 
the sheets. 

Lit. * cover ', ' tarpaulin ', * cart-tilt*. 
*lbacher, se. To go to bed, to get between 

the sheets, to ' doss '. See foache. 
bachot, n.m. The baccalaureat examina- 
tion (approximately equivalent to 
Matriculation). Faire son bachot, To 
read for that examination. Passer son 
bachot, To go up for that examination. 
Une boite (or Cln four, Une mine) a 
bachot, A special cramming-school for 
that examination. 

A derivative from bacltelier, one who lias 
passed that examination. 

Tu to representeras a ton bacJiot, 
ot, si tu as de la chance (' luck '), tu 
seras re$u (COLETTE, Le Me en 

See colle 2 (La-redan), 
bachoter. 1. vb. tr. To ' cram ' a pupil 
for an examination (especially the 
2. vb. intr. To prepare oneself for an 

examination, to * cram ', to grind '. 
Meier, vb. tr. To do a thing hurriedly and 
badly, to polish off, to scamp, to botch 
( U p) e .g. im Devoir bdcU, a slovenly 
done task. 

*badaf, n.m. = Bat" d'Af . 
baderne, n.f. Vuille baderne, Old crock, 
old fogey, old buffer. 
Used especially with reference to an old 
ex-officer. Originally a nautical term, denot- 
ing 'old, flabby and useless sennit' (i.e. 
braided cordage) made into mats placed on 
certain heavy objects to deaden the shock 
caused by the rolling of the ship or to 
preserve certain parts of the ship from 
friction (SAJNJliAN', l/angage parisien, p. 172). 
Le comique de cela, c'est que 
Drevet a perdu tout respect pour 
lui. Pour un peu il le traitcrait de 
vieille baderne (H. DE RISGKTER, La 

*foadigomees, n.J. pi. Mouth, lips, choeks, 
chops e.g. se caler les badigoinces or 
se cotter quelque chose dans les badi- 
goinces, to eat, feed, have a good fill, 
' grub ', c stodge '. 

Jladiffoine or badipoince, a provincialism 
adopted by Uabelais, denotes lit. ' thick lip ', 
and represents a fusion of the words 
bade, *lip% and baaouin, 'jaw' and also 
'chatterbox* (SAINEAN, Sources indiptnes, 
II, p. 329). 

Nom d'un chienl au lieu de se 

serrer le gaviot (* throat '), elle 
aurait commence* par se cotter gudque 
chose dans les badigoinces ! (ZoLA, 

Badingue or Badinguet, proper name. 
Nickname of Napoleon III. 
Various explanations, discussed by Alexandra, 
Musfo de ta Conversation, pp. 38-41, have 
been offered of the origin of this nickname. 
The oldest, which is now generally discredited, 
is that Badinguot was the^name of the work- 
man whose clothes Napoleon is said to have 
borrowed when he escaped from tho fortress 
of Ham (1846), where he had been imprisoned 
after the coup d'&at in 1840. Another 
is that the name is found for the ttrst 
time in the wording to a caricature by 
Oavarni published in 1840 ; but as the carica- 
ture has nothing to do with Napoleon in, 
it is difficult to understand how this word 
became the popular nicknamo for the Em- 
peror. It has been suggested that there was, 
in Napoleon's room at Ham, a screen covered 
with caricatures by Gavarni and others, and 
that the warders amused themsolvoH by 
applying to their prisoner a name which mot 
their eye every day. iTet another explan- 
ation is offered by A. Morel in his book 
NapoUon IH (1870), in which he Htates 
that the soldiers nt Hani were ta the habit 
of making fun of Napoleon's liorsomanhip : 
" II paraft qu'JJs lui donnaient entrft eux 1 
nom, do Badinguet : or ce mot, en picard ot 
en wallon, signiilo quelaue chose d'inter- 
m<Sdiaire entro 'Stourdl' et 'badaud'. 
Louis-NapolSon montra de 1'humeur, so 
piqua, se plaignit, reiion<?a enfln au cheval." 
Lastly, Sainfon (Lmgag yarimn, p, 172) 
suggests that the name was given to Napoleon 
III because of his goatee board, which was 
compared to a martingale, a particular kind 
of ropo on a ship, called bawfongw at 
Boulogne and badinyue at P6oamp. 

11 1'appelait Badingue par blague 
( { "by way of a joke '), pour se fiofaer 
(* make fun of ') 1'omporeur 
A, JjAssommoir). 
Boauooup do conservatours qui, 
par amour d 1'ordro, voulaienfc 
conserves la Ecpubliquo, vont ro- 
grettor Badinguet (FLAUBERT, Cor- 


*baffe or baffre, w./. Blow or slap in tho 
face, sock, bang in the mug o.g 
donner (envoy er, flangruer, Idcher) une 
baffre d gudgtinn, To land some one a 

Of tho two forms baffre is tho commoner* 
Also written b&fre. 

bafouillage, n.m. Incoherent talk. See 

bafouiiler, vb. intr. To spoak incoher- 
ently, to sputter, splutter, mumble, 
jabber, to lose oneself (in a speech), to 
be all abroad. 

From the Lyonnals barfouitt&r, 'to paddle' 
(in inud or water), and alno ' to jabber \ * to 

batre * 

speak badly ' (SAnrtAir, Langage parisien, 
p. 307). 

Pourquoi ? mais . . . je ne sais 
plus trop ! . . . ca ne m'a pas 
frapp6 ! Tu bafouilles, mon pauv' 
Jean ! . . . dis done la v6rite, va ? 
(Gyp, Les Froussards). 
*balre, n.f. *1. Tuck out, blow out. 

See bafrer. Also found in the form bdfrSe. 
*2 = baffre. 
*bfrer, vb. tr. and intr. To eat greedily, 

to stuff. 

An old word found in Babelais in the form 


Us bdfraient seuls, ils se de"- 
pechaient de s'empiffrer ('cram'), 
sans lacher un mot tout haut 
(ZOLA, LAssommoir). 
bagage, n.m. I. Plier bagage, (a) To 
make off, pack up and be off. 

Vous demandez Mme de Li6vitz ? 
me dit-elle. Elle a plie bagage ce 
matin, sans tambour ni trompette, 
et sans me faire ses adieux (V. 
CHEBBULIEZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

(b) To die, to go to kingdom come. 
II n'y avait 1& gu'un vieux 
ecin. Depuis longtemps madame 
Bovary guettait sa mort, et le bon- 
homme n'avait point encore plie 
bagage, que Charles <tait install^ 
en face, comme son successeur 
(FLAUBERT, Madame Bovary). 
2. Pour tout bagage, As all assets, all one 
has done or got. 

Cp. the more familiar phrase pour tout potage. 
bagatelle, n.f. I. Bagatelle/ or Baga- 
telle^) que tout cela / Nonsense ! Stuff 
and nonsense ! That's all nonsense ! 
Lit. 'trifle*. 

2. Un-Platonic love-making, sexual in- 
dulgence e.g. $tre porte sur (or ne 
penser qu*a) la bagatelle, to be fond of 
(to think of nothing but) sexual 
indulgence. Cp. article 2, chose 3, 
porter 2. 

C'est si bon, poxirtant, de ne pas 
tou jours penser & la bagatelle, de se 
murmurer des choses qui caressent 
le coeur, d'<changer des baisers 
d6sinte"ress6s, de se regarder, durant 
des eremites, dans les yeux (O. 
MIBBEATT, Le Journal d'une Femme 
de Ohambre). 

bagnole, n.f. Ramshackle carriage or 
cart. Also used now of motor-cars; 
cp. the English use of c bus '. 
From the Worman bagniole or banniote, a 

5 bail! 

broken-down cart (from banne, ' big cart', 

See fusilier 1 (Barbusse). 
*bagot, n.m. Luggage. Faire des bagots. 
To handle luggage, to carry burdens. 
UTrom bagage. 

*bagoter, vb. intr. *1. = Faire des bagots. 
2. To do hard exercise or marches, to 
work hard, to drudge. 
Military slang ; an extended use of 1. 
*3. To walk (go, knock) about. 

Elle bagotait dans les lignes. Un 
jour, elle a du recevoir une *balle, 
et rester la, morte et perdue (H. 

*4. To get on e.g. Q& va? Qa bagote. 
How are things ? So so I or Not so 

*bagotier, n.m. Luggage-handler, porter, 

This word, from bagot, goes back to the six- 
teenth century, and is now used to designate 
a man wlio awaits travellers at a station and 
runs after vehicles to help in the handling of 

bagou or bagout, n.m. Facility of speech 
(in a disparaging sense). Avoir du 
bagout, To have the gift of the gab. 
11 a un bagout de commis-voyageur, He 
is as glib as a bagman (lit. ' as a com- 
mercial traveller '). 

Probably the verbal substantive from the old 
verb baffouter t ' to speak at random ', itself 
derived from the pejorative prefix ba + goule, 
a form of gueule. 

Et elle est jolie ? Tres agreable. 
Grande ? Petite ? Spirituelle ? 
B$te ? II faut vous arraoher tous 
les mots. JElle a du bagout et elle 
est grande (P. DE CEOISSET, Ne 
dites pas Fontaine . . .). 
*baguenaude, n.f. Pocket. 

So-called by allusion to the shape of the husk 
of the bctffuenaude, * bladder-nut '. 
*baguenauder, (se). To go about aimlessly, 
to fiddle-faddle, to knock (laze, mooch) 

On ne devait pas laisser tant de 
civelots ( c civilians ') se baguenauder 
sur le front (H. BABBTJSSE, Le Feu). 
baguette, n.f. Mener quelqu'un a la 
baguette^ To rule some one despotically, 
with a rod of iron, to be a martinet. 
Lit. 'stick', 'rod'. 

II a une satanee ( confounded ) 

tante qui a le gouvernement de la 

maison depuis vingt ans et qui 

mine toute la famille a la baguette 

(G. OHNET, Noir et Hose). 

ball ! inter j. Bah 1 or Ah bah / expresses 

astonishment, doubt or indifference : 




Nonsense ! Eeally ! You don't mean 
it ! Pooh ! Tush. ! Tut ! etc. 

bahut, n.m. School, lycee. 

School slang ; lit. * chest (bos) % in which the 
scholars are confined. 

bahut6, ad'). This word is applied, in the 
slang of the ]cole Poll/technique and 
Saint-Cyr, to articles of uniform of a 
fancy shape or cut, and has practically 
the force of chic e.g. un col bahute, a 
collar higher than that permitted by 
regulations, ' posh ', * swagger '. 

balmier, vb. tr. and intr. To rag. 

This word belongs to the slang of the ficole 
Poly technique, and is equivalent to faire das 
bnmades. At SaintrGyr the corresponding 
term is fair dit tapage. 

baffler, vb. tr. See belle 3. 

bain, n.m. *1. JSnvoyer qnelqu^un ait 
bain. To send a person packing, to the 

2. Un bain de pieds, Overflow of the con- 
tents of a cup or glass into the saucer. 

*3. Prendre un bain de pieds, To bo sent to 
a penal colony. 

Possibly because, in order to reach a penal 
colony (e.g. New Caledonia), a convict has to 
cross the sea. 

*baiser, vb, tr. 8e faire baiser or Eire baisti, 
To be caught, arrested, found out. 
Military slang, 

Depechez-vous done, nom de 
Dieu! leur cria le brigadier de garde. 
Le quartier est eonsigno dopuis plus 
d'une heure, vous allcz vous faire 
baiser (A. HBBMANT, Le Cadet de 

]ST.B. Great care is required In the use of the 
verb baiser : in modern colloquial usage, it is 
not equivalent, when used with a feminine 
personal object, as formerly, to donner un 
oaiser or to &mbrasser, but generally implies 
sexual intercourse. 

foal, n.m. *1. Punishment walk of 
soldiers round the barracks yard, 
Faire le bal, To undergo such punish- 

Lit. ' ball % * dance ' ; an ironic application of 
the word. 

Vetu de la capote des hommes 
punis do prison, il attendait qu'on 
ltd descendit son sac et son fusil 
pour commencer le bal (L. BESOAVES, 
*2. Capital punishment in the army. 

3. Donner le (or un) bal a quelgu*un, To 
give somebody a good thrashing or 

Probably by allusion to the fact that the 
victim is made to ' dance \ 
bal(l)ade, n./. Walk, stroll. Faire une 
bal(l)ade y Aller en bal(l)ade f To go out 

for a walk, stroll, outing. See bal- 

J'ai envie de mo payer une ballade 
en auto ( c to treat myself to a joy- 
ride '} (BBIEUX, Los Bourgeois aux 

See abouler 2 (Huysmans). 
bal(l)ader. 1. vb. tr. To take out for a 
walk or stroll. 

2. 8c bal(l)ader 9 To take a walk or stroll, 
to knock (mooch, toddle) about, to 
c mike '. 

Properly *to sing ballade*'. This was tho 
usual meaning in Middle French and alluded 
to a practice of the beggars of old, who would 
sham blindness and go from town to town 
playing thoir instruments and sinirinu twllades 
at the cross-roads. roiu the moaning of 
going bcg'jfing from ono place to another, the 
verb acquired the more general signification of 
walking about aimlessly (SAiNfiAN", Lanyagv 
pans fan, pp. 225-22(5). Sain^an thlwka that 
Nyrop (Gram, hist., IV, p. 3JJ9) is mistaken in 
seeing in tho word a Southern borrowing 
Irom balado, patron saint's day when dancing 
takes fdiice. 

Maintenant il faut bien sliabillor 
avec chiGf boire des cocktails ot ,90 
balladcr au Bois on taxi ( WILLY, La 
bonne Maitresse). 
See bouillon 1 (Gyp). 

3. Envoyer bal(l)ader, To send a person to 
the right-about, to give a thing the 
chuck- up. 

balai, n.m. 1. Faire balai new/ e.g. II 
fait balai neuf, A now broom swoops 

Said of ono who shows excessive xcal in a 
position to which ho has just been appointed. 
Tho proverbial expression is II ri&st rie<n dv 
t&l $w balai muf (tit. * there is nothing like a 
now broom '). 

2. Itdtir le balai, To lead a fast or dis- 
orderly life, to go the pace. 
Originally used with tho moaning of * to bo 
reduced to roasting or burning tho broom 
through luck of fuel ', hence * to bo reduced 
to a life of poverty *, 'to drudge it *. Then 
the use of the phrase was extended to tho 
figurative meaning of * incurring groat ex- 
penses ", of 'living a wild, disorderly life* 
resulting in such poverty. This change Iix 
value may have been brought about or in- 
fluenced by tho popular belief in days gone 
by that witches used to ride on brooms, with 
which they made a big flro when they 
assembled at their revels, especially as the 
expression was originally applied to women 
only (KOBKRT, Phrasdoloyw, p* 202). 

C'est un hommo honorable jxisqu'^ 
un certain point . . , rnais soule- 
mont un pou brulc . . . pour avoir 
trop rdti le balai (MAUPASSANT, 
II s'en allait courir oil il pouv&it, 




en quete de celles qui ont deja rdti le 
balai et qu'il attirait par sa jeunesse, 
sa force et sa belle mine (E. ROB, 

balancer, vb. tr. I. To throw away, cast 
off, get rid of, chuck away j to dismiss, 
sack, kick out. Se faire balancer, To 
get the sack, the order of the boot. 

Armel, pris soudain de peur, 
exigea des modifications. Bob se 
facha, parla de tout balancer, puis 
dut convenir qu' Armel avait raison 
(M. HABRY, La divine Chanson). 

Me chasser, moi ! me balancer, 
moi ! cria-t-il (L. CLADEL, Pierre 

2. To throw, send. 

Mon vieux, tu paries d'un bom- 
bardement qu'ils ont balance (H. 

3. To take in, hoax, * bounce '. 
*balanQoire, n.f. *1. Eubbish, nonsense, 

humbug e.g. Tout ca, c'est de la 
balancoire (or des balancoires), That's 
all rot, tommy-rot. 
From balancer 3. 

Ceux d'aujourd'hui ont beau 
faire les malins et inventor un tas de 
balangoires pour donner de la 
tablature ( c trouble ') aux tribunaux, 
le monde ira toujours du meme 
train! ('will go on as usual') (E. 
BOD, L'lncendie). 

Vous vous rappelez tout ce que 
j'ai degoisi (' spouted ') sur Tinfame 
capital, sur les patrons, sur la 
soci&te bourgeoise ? . . . Je veux 
que vous sachiez que fen suis 
bougrement revenu ('I have jolly 
well lost all the illusions I had 
about ') de toutes ces balancoires~la 
(BEIETJX, Le Bourgeois aux Champs). 

See couper 1 (a) (Gyp). 
*2. Envoyer guelgu'un a la balan$oire, To 
send a person to the right-about, to the 
deuce, to get rid of a person. 
Lit. 'swing', 'see-saw'. See balancer 1. 
*!>alan<lrin, n.m. A pedlar's pack of goods. 
In the Anjou dialect the word denotes a 
*- pedlar * and also his * pack '. It goes back 
to the Provencal balandra, lit. 'swinging' 
' rocking ', ' dangling ', etc. (SAlN3SA]sr, Lan- 
gaffe parisien, p. 286 ; Sources indigenes, II 
p. 60). 

*balanstlquer, vb. tr. = balancer 1. 

An apache word; a combination oj 
balancer and ramastiquer, * to pick up '. 
balayer, vb. tr. To dismiss, send off, sack 
1M. "to swoep'. 

balle, n.J. *1. Pace, head, nut, mug, dial 
e.g. une bonne balle, a genial face ; line 
drdle de balle 9 a funny face. 
Lit. ' ball '. The idea of roundness is also 
expressed in the English * dial ', * nut '. 
Unlike binette, bobine, etc., balle is not used 
in a pejorative sense, so that one does not say 
4 une sale balle '. 

Pincepoup avait une balle rouge- 
aude de campagnard cuit au soleil 
(R. BENJAMIN, Oaspard). 
2. Franc (rarely used with sums of less 
than ten). 
By allusion to its roundness. 

Donnez-moi mes mille balles> plus 
une legere indemnity, et je pars sans 
faire de fanfare (P. VEBEE, Les 

See allonger 1 (Bernsteui), cracher 
1 (Gyp). 

*3. Faire la batte, To suit, be convenient 
e.g. Qafait ma balle, That suits me to a 
T, That's the ticket (just the thing) for 
me, That suits my book. 
Originally the phrase was O'est ma baUe, and 
was borrowed Irom the game of tennis. 

4. Prendre (or Saisir) la balle au bond (or 

entre bond et volee), Not to miss an 
opportunity, to take time by the fore- 
lock, to make hay while the sun 

Another borrowing from the game of tennis ; 
lit. " to hit the ball at the moment it bounces 
from the ground (or before it touches the 
ground) '. 

5. Itenvoyer la balle a guelqrfun, To return 

the compliment, to be ready in re- 
partee, to give tit for tat. 
Jtfrom the game of tennis. 

6. JSe renvoyer la balle, To throw the blame 

on each other. 

I'rom the game of tennis. 

7. A vous la balle, It's your turn now 

(to act, play, speak, etc.), It's your 

innings now. 

From the game of tennis. 

* vb. intr. Envoyer bailer quelqu'un, 
To send one to the right-about, to the 

From the old vert) baiter, 'to dance'; 
cp. foal 3. 

ballon, n.m. *1. Posterior, behind e.g. 
Enlever le ballon a gudqtfun, (a) To 
give some one a thrashing, to kick a 
person's behind; (6) to give one a 
good talking to. Se faire enlever le 
ballon, (a) To get a thrashing, to get 
one's behind kicked ; (6) to get a good 
talking to. 

II a promis de m'enlever le ballon, 
s'il me pin$ait (' caught ') encore & 




trainer ma peau ('loafing about') 
(ZoLA, JjAssommoir). 

*2. Prison, imprisonment. Faire du bal- 
lon, To do time. Sortir du ballon, To 
come out of jail. 
This use of the word belongs to the vocabulary 
of the apaches. 

Y a pas quatre jours qu'ello sort 

du ballon (0. MJSTENIER, La Lutte 

pour I' Amour). 

3. Un ballon d'essai, A feeler e.g. II a 

lance un ballon d'essai. He has sent out 

a feeler. 

Lit . ' a pilot balloon ' , sent tip before a flight 
to find out the direction of the wind. 

*ballot, n.m. Pool, duffer, fathead. 
Lit. * bundle ', ' bale * ; cp. paquet. 

*balochard, n.m. A lazy, lifeless, careless 

Pioperly *a person with a waddling gait" ; 
see balocher. 

*balocher, vb. intr. To go about aimlessly 
(especially with a waddling gait), to 
mooch about, to ' mike '. 
A word of Picard origin, meaning * to oscil- 
late ', and so ' to walk with a waddling gait '. 
Thus balochard in Picard is applied to a 
person who waddles, and also to a listless 
person with a slouching walk who works 
indifferently and mechanically (SAIN^AN, 
Langage parisien, p. 280). 

*balthazar, n.m. A slap-up meal, regular 
tuck-in, a blow out. 
An abbreviation of festin de Balthazar, by 
allusion to Balthazar's famous orgy mentioned 
in the Bible. 

baluchoxi, n.m. Pack, parcel, bundle 

(especially of clothes and odds and 

ends tied up in a handkerchief) . JFaire 

son baluchon, To pack up, to get ready. 

An old argot word denoting a ' beggar's pack '. 

Vous avez des papiors ? Je les ai 

la-haut. Je vas (popular for vais) 

aller dire au revoir a 1' atelier, faire 

mon baluchon, et je vous les de- 

scendrai (BRIETJX, La petite Aime). 

bamban, n.m. = banbanu 

bambin, n.m. Brat, kid. 
[From the Italian bambino. 

bambochade, n.j. Little spree. 

The Butch painter Van Laar (1613-1673) was 
so small that the Italians, among whom ho 
lived for sixteen years, nicknamed him 6m- 
boccio (' doll '), and the name bambocciata ( in 
JTrench bambochade or bamboche) was applied 
to pictures painted in his style representing 
rustic, popular or burlesque subjects. Later 
bambocM and bambochade passed into familiar 
speech with the force of * coarse jokes ', ' dis- 
orderly conduct ', * wild pranks *, * spree *. 

bam]bochard ? n,m. One who leads a fast 
life, a fast fellow. 

bamboehe, n.f. Fast life, spree, lark. 
See bambochade. 

bambocher, vb. intr. To lead a fast life, to 
be on the spree. 

II consid6rait que la vie evfcait f aite 
uniquement pour bambocher et plai- 
santer (MAUPASSANT, Bombard). 
*bambou!a, n.m. *1. JSTegro. 
*2. Nickname for the Senegalese sharp- 
shooters during the war. 
This word, which is imitative, denotes 
primarily a kind of drum used by negroes, 
and also the lascivious dance performed to 
the sound of it. 

ban, n.m. 1. A round of applause which 
consists in clapping hands in a certain 
rhythmical manner. 

Une voix pateuse proclamo : " Un 
ban pour le fantaboche ('infantry 
soldier')!" Les mains battent. 
Le rythme mou s'affermit. L' ova- 
tion ccsse, sur un elaquoment not 
(C. H. HIBSOH, "Petit" Louis, 

2. Le ban et V arri&re-ban, The rank and 
file, all one's kith and kin. 

Lit. ' the ban and roar-ban *, * the last levies *. 
This phrase is a relic of the feudal system, 
In the Middle Ages, when the King went to 
war, he summoned le ban (i.e. his direct 
vassals e g. earls, barons, and knights) and 
rarrittre-ban (i.e. his indirect vassals, the 
vassals of his vassals). Hence conwguer le 
ban et Z'am'dr0-&<m de ses amis means * to call 
to aid or to gather together friendn and 
relations of all degrees '. 

Ce jour-la, le depart do Serri&ros et 
son punch d' adieu avaient attire le 
ban et T arriere-ban des habitues 
(DAUDET, Le petit Chose). 

3. Mettre quelqu'un au ban (de V opinion 
publique), To put some one under a 
ban, to hold him tip to the scorn of 
his fellows, to boycott, to send to 

See explanation to 4. 

Otd, mais a quoi cola servait-il, fti 
le Regiment no vonlait plus de lui, 
si on le mettait au ban, si les jours 
ou Ton s'en allait fairo do granclos 
marches dans la campagno, on Tou- 
bliait ainsi dans unc 6curio vido ? (A. 
HEEMANT, Le Cavalier Miserey). 

B'ailleurs, le monde enticr met- 
trait au ban de Vopinion celui qui 
traiterait ses semblablos en nnemis 
(E. ABOUT, Le Roman d"un brave 

4. Rompre son ban t To break one's ban, to 
return to a place in which one has not 
permission to reside. Mtre en rupture 
de ban, To be out of bounds. 
According to ancient justice, a condemned 


29 fearbaque 

person, after serving his sentence, could be 
compelled to live in a specified locality ; this 
was called mettr& au "ban. He had to g&rder 
son ban, under penalty of being re-imprisoned 
if he happened to rompre son ban by leaving 
the place to which he had been assigned. A 
person who broke his ban was said to be en 
rupture de ban, and the phrase is now used 
literally of *ticket-of -leave* men, or figura- 
tively of anyone * breaking bounds '. 

II fut envoy6 en surveillance (i.e. 
under supervision of the police) & 
Vernon, ou il travailla quelque 
temps sur la riviere ; puis, vaga- 
bond incorrigible, il rompit son ban 
et revint encore a Paris (F. COPPEE, 
Le Memplaoant). 

On m'aurait boucle ( put in 
prison ') un de ces jours ; car je 
suis en rupture de ban (ibid.). 
banban, n.m. Nickname for a lame per- 
son, * dot and go one '. 
An imitative word, representing the sound 
of a big bell in motion. 
bancal, n.m. Curved cavalry sword. 
The word really means ' bandy-legged '. 
bande, n.f. 1. C 'oiler quelqu'un sous 
bande, To reduce a person to silence, to 
stump a person. 

Prom the game of billiards, in which cotter 
une bille sous bande is to scud the ball close 
against the cushion so that it stays there 

2. JFaire bande a, part. Not to mix with 

other people, to keep aloof, to form a 
clique apart. 

II s'associa d'embl^e ( c straight 
off ') k notre train de vie, et refusa de 
faire bande a part avec la jeunesse 
dor6e (E. ABOUT, Le Turco). 
*banniere, n.f. Eire en banniere f To have 
merely one's shirt on. 
Originates in soldiers' slang. The shirt with 
its tails is compared to a ba nor flying m the 

Victor, dis que pour un vieux de 
mon age, on n'a pas 1'air trop bete en 
banniere ? (H. LAVEBAN, Le nouveau 

banque, n.f. *1. Trade of mountebank. 
Ld banque is the stake of the person who, 
in a game of chance, holds the game 
against the others, and the word passed into 
the speech of hawkers and mountebanks 
*2. JFaire de la banque, (a) To be a moun- 
tebank ; (6) To puff up one's wares, 
to boost one's goods. Cp. note to 

3. Tailler une banque, To hold the cards at 
the game of baccara. 

Je suis fou de la trompe, et 
quand j'en sonne, c'est comme 
quand je taille une banque, je ne 

peux plus m'arre'ter (H. LAVEDAN, 
Le nouveau Jeu). 

banquette, n.f. Jouer devant les (or des) 
banquettes (of actors), To play to empty 
benches, to an empty house. 
Lit. ' to play before the benches '. 

baptiser, vb. tr. (Of wine, etc.) To dilute, 
put water in it. 

baragouin or baragouinage, n.m. Gib- 
berish, nonsense, double Butch, jargon. 
The usual explanation, dating from the six- 
teenth century and still found in Littre" and 
the D.Qf., of the origin of this word is that it 
is derived from the two low Breton words, 
bara, 'bread', and gwin, "wine*. These 
words, expressing the first needs of man, were 
frequently heard by the French on the lips 
of the Bretons, and as they did not at first 
understand them, they combined them 
to denote 'unintelligible language*. Ac- 
cording to Sain<an (Sources indig&nes, I, 
p. 225) this explanation is not worthy of 
attention; the word bargouin or baragouin 
means kt. ' one who talks at random ', from 
the verb bargouiner, found in a lettre de grdce 
of 1391, in which "sanglant barragouin" is 
au insult equivalent to "miserable Stranger'*. 
The original meaning is ' a foreigner who talks 
gibberish', still found in the patois of the 
Centre, where baragouin is applied to 'one who 
speaks in an unintelligible manner and in a 
disguised voice '. Then the word assumed 
the meaning of 'unintelligible speech', 
frequent in Rabelais, and the only one which 
has survived. 

baragouiner, vb. tr. 1. To talk gibberish, 
double Dutch, to jabber. 

Get homme s'approche, me bara- 
gouine une longue libanie dont je ne 
comprends pas un mot (V. CHEB- 
BTTLIEZ, LAventure de Ladislas 

2. Baragouiner une langue, To speak a 

language badly, to murder a language. 

II y a des interpretes qui bara- 

gouinent plusieurs langues t qui 

savent h peine le frangais (T. 

BERNARD, U Anglais tel qitfon le 


baraque, n.f. House or establishment. 
Lit. ' hut ', ' hovel '. The word usually has 
disparaging force, implying the idea of ram- 
shackle or bad organisation e.g. Quelle 
baraque ! What a hole 1 It is particularly 
used by servants in speaking of a house where 
there is much work and little comfort. 
*barbaeque, n.f. = barbaque. 
*barbant, adj. (Of persons or things) Bor- 
ing, wearisome. See barber. 

See cramponner (Veber). 
*barbaque, n.f. Meat, especially of bad 

Military slang. The word properly denotes 
"mutton*, and comes from the Berry form 
barbi or barbis = brebis, 'sheep* 
n, p. 294). 




TbarTbe. (A) n.f. *1. Bore, nuisance 
e.g. C'esb une barbe, It's a bore. 
Quelle barbe ! What a nuisance ! La 
barbe / or Oh, la barbe / Oh, shut up ! 
Dry up ! C'&tait la barbe et les 
ch&oeux 1 It was a frightful bore ! 
See barber. The last expression above is taken 
from the barber's usual query: Pour la 
barbe ou les cheveux ? ' Shave or haircut ? ' 

Ce gue je me suis rasee (' What a 
boring time I had ') dans ce restaur- 
ant ! , . . C'etait la premiere fois 
ee soir que j'allais dans un endroit 
aussi chic. ... La barbe a com- 
mence avant I'entr6e : ** Ne re- 
garde porsonne. . . . Ne dis pas : 
* Bonsoir, messieurs et dames * " 
(H. DUVERNOIS, Gfisele). 

Comte ! . . . comte ! . . . Bien 
sur c|u'il Test ! . . . J'aurais pout- 
etre du no pas en vouloir & cause 
de ca ! La barbe, Nini ! (C. H. 
HIBSOH, Nini Godache). 

2. Dire quelque, chose a qudgu'un a sa 
barbe e.g. Je le lui (tirai a sa barbe., 
I will tell him so to his face. 

3. Faire la barbe a quelqu'un, To show 
some ono who is master, to outdo a 
person, to supplant, take the shino out 
of a person. 

Lit. 'to shave some ono'. 

4. Porter toute sa barbe, To wear a full 


5. Mire h la barbe de quelqu'un, To laugh in 

anyone's face. 

6. Mre dans sa barbe, To laugh in one's 

7. Vieille barbe, Old-fashionod politician 
who will not keep up with the times, 
old man with antiquated notions, old 

*(B) Adj. = barbant, but of persons 
only e.g. Ce qtiil est barbe / What a 
bore he is ! 

*Jmr]beaii, n.m. Prostitute's bully, pimp. 
Xtit. the fish called 'barbel'. Cp. note to 
^barber. *1. vb. tr. To bore. 

Probably by allusion to the reputation that 

barbers have of being talkative, Cp. raser. 

Jo ne veux pas te barber avec 

los affaires, paruvre che*ri, toi qui es 

si peu pratique (H. DCTVEBKOIS, 


*2. iSe barber, To be bored. 
*barbillon or barbiset, n.m. = barbeau, 
barjbon, n.m. Old man, greybeard, dotard, 
Lit. * big beard ', from Italian barbone, 
Used disparagingly 

*t>arbotage, n.m. Thoft, robbery, scroung- 

See barboter 2. 

barboter, 1. vb. info. = bafpuiller e.g. 
II barbotait dans $es explications, He 
became confused in his explanations. 
Lit. ' to paddle (in mud or water) % ' to 
splash about' 
*2. vb. tr. To steal, pinch, scrounge. 

This use of the, word lias passed into popular 
speech from the modern argot of printers, 
which in turn borrowed it from the cant of 

Oxi ost mon cpinglo ? boito do mal- 
heur ! On barbof f e les bijoux & pre- 
sent ? (COLETTE, Chtiri). 

*l)arca ! inter j. Nothing doing ! 

A colonial military term, from the Arabic 
barkah, which has penetrated into the popular 

Ah ! et puis, barca /jo dirai an 
major que j'ai mal a la gorge (G. 
CoTJiiTEiuiHE, Les Qaictcs de ritisrad- 

^barda, n.w. *L Soldier's entiro kit. 
*2. ljuggago of any kind. 

Introduced into military slang by tho soldlors 
serving in Algeria ; from the Arabic tHtrdah, 

Los camarados nous souhaitaient 
bonne chance ( ( wished us good 
luck *) tout on ramassant leur barda 
(B. DoRGSSLiss, Les Oroix de Hois), 
*barder 9 vb. intr. This verb, which IB 
generally used with ca as subject, im- 
plies that things or events arc, or arc 
becoming, difficult, strenuous, danger- 
ous, unpleasant, or that one has to 
work hard e.g. (fo barde / Things arc 
humming ! fa a barde hier, Wo went 
through it yesterday. Qa va barder / 
Now for it ! Look out for HqualLs ! 
Danger ahead ! Jl faut que $a barde ! 
We've got to make things hum ! 
We've got to put some vim into it ! 
Barder, says fialnfan (Langag? y;n"iV, 
p. 160), is originally a natitical Uu'in, * to 
drive out of the proper track', the moaning of 
which has become generalised with the foro, 
of 'to run quickly',, of a horse (ita-&fuina 
dialect), or 'to travel from ono Hide- to 
another', of a quick-moving vehicle (l$ 
dialect). In the barracks, barder incam * to 
do diill", implying the idea of fatigiK^ or 

Vous pensez comme ga tfcst mis 
d barder/ Nous 6tioiis on retard 
d'une houre sur les eompagnios, ot 
on partait on memo temps (J, 
BOMAINS, Le Vin bkmc de la Vil- 
Toi 1 ... tliehe de ftirer dcs 




pattes (see patte 2) , . . ou smon 
. , . (il avance un poing menagant 
efc enorme) . . . go, va barder / (Gyp, 
Ceux qui s'en f . . .). 
barguignage, n.m. Shilly-shallying. 
barguigner, vb. intr. To shilly-shally. 
JBargmyner, originally bargainer (twelfth 
century), ' to haggle over the price of goods ', 
meant lit. "to jumble together', ' to handle 
and make dirty % ' to make a mess of ' (from 
the Lyonnais bargayns, ' mud *). The modern 
meaning 'to hesitate*, found in Mohere, 
belongs to popular parlance (SAINJ^AN, 
Sources indigenes, I, p. 155). 

II fallait prendre un parti (' come 
to a decision ') sans barguigner. 
Un paquebot, sur la jet6e, itait en 
train de lever Fancro. D'un bond, 
je sautai sur le ppnt (M, et A. 
FISCHER, L'Inconduite de Lucie). 
*barouf or baroufle, n.m. (Lit.) Noise, 
row, racket ; (fig.) scandal e.g. faire 
du barouf (le), to make a racket. II y 
a un barouf (U) du diable! There's a 
deuce of a row ! Qafera du barouf (le), 
There'll bo no end of a scandal. 
This word, also written barouffe, is of Pro- 
vencal origin, from the MarseUlais baroujo, 
"altercation', * brawl' (Italian baruffa) 
(SABr$AN, Lanffoye parisi&n, p. 317). 

Quand il y a du barouf, vite je 
cours le chercher (M. HAKRY, La 
divine Chanson). 

barque., n.f. Mener (or Oonduire) bien 
sa barque. To manage one's affairs 
(very) well, cleverly, to play one's cards 

Tu as 6te jug au tribunal de 
commerce, tu connais les lois, tu as 
bien mene ta barque, je te suivrai, 
Ce"sar ! (BALZAC, Cesar Birotteau). 
barre, n.f. 1. Avoir (or Prendre) barre (or 
barres) sur quelqu'un, To have an 
advantage (a puU, a hold, the whip- 
hand) over a person. 
.From the jeu de barres, the game of * prisoners' 
base', in which, after catching the one 
pursued, the captor says 'J'ai barres sur 
wus '. 

Des qu'on a souri aux politesses 
d'un inconnu, cet inconnu a 
barres sur wus (MAUPASSANT, Sur 

2. Ne faire que toucher barre (or barres) 
e.g. Je nefais que toucher barre(s), I'm 
not stopping here, I am only staying a 
moment, I'm of again, immediately. 
This is also from the JBU de barres ; the one 
pursued can obtain safety by the process of 
toucher barre i.e. by crossing la barre ol his 
camp and setting out again immediately, 
Et comme Aretz lui pr<sentait une 

boite de cigares Je n'ai pas le 
temps, de"clara-t-il. Je ne fais que 
toucher barre (J. PELLEEIN, Sous le 
Eegne du Debauche). 
*barrer, se. To make off, (do a) mizzle, 
From the j&u fo barres (cp. barre). 

Celui qui me la soufflerait, ferait 
bien de se barrer dans un autre 
patelin ('place') (J. H. BOSNY, 

See amoeher 1 (Borgeles). 
bas, n.m. Un bas de laine, A nest egg. 
Lit. ' a worsted stocking ', in which money is 
*]basset, n.m. Revolver. 

By allusion to the barking of a dog ; basset = 
'dachshund'. Cp. aboyeur, azor 2. 
bassin, n.m. and adj. inv. Bore, boring, 
tiresome e.g. Ge qu*il est bassin! 
What a bore he is ! See bassinoire. 

Eh bien, garde-le, et tais-toi, 
parce que tu deviens bassin (H. 
LAVED AK, Le nouveau Jeu). 
bassinant, adj. = bassin. See foasslner. 
bassiner, vb* tr. To bore, annoy, impor- 
Iiit. ' to warm a bed ' ; see bassinoire. 

Est-ce qu'il va nous bassiner long- 
temps avec son travail ! cria Mes- 
Bottes (ZOLA, ISAssommoir). 
bassinet, n.m. Cracker au bassinet (or au 
bassin), (a) To pay after much resist- 
ance, reluctantly, to fork out ; (6) To 
decide to tell, to confess at last, to spit 
it out. 

Lit. * to spit in the basin * ; from bassin, the 
vessel passed round in church for collecting 
bassinoire, n.f. Boring thing or person. 

Cp. bassin. 

Lit. * \ 

warming-pan'; perhaps by allusion to 
the fact that the conversation of a bore 
produces on one's nerves the monotonous 
movement of a warming-pan passed to and 
fro over the bed-sheets. 

*basta ! inter -j. Enough I No more ! e.g. 
JBasta / vous m'ennuyez, Dry up ! You 
get on my nerves. It can also be used 
to express disappointment e.g. II 
croyait reussir, mais basta, He thought 
he would succeed, but there was no- 
thing doing. 

From the Italian bastare, 'to suffice'. The 
French form baste! was common in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and is 
still used in the navy (SAmto, Lamgage 
parisien, p. 161). 

bastringue, n.m. 1. Low caf ^-concert, 
music-hall, dancing-hall. 

Un petit marchand de vin qui 



avait tin bastringue au fond de son 
arriere-boutique (ZoLA, I? Assam-" 

See flan I (Huysmans). 
*2. Bow, disturbance, racket. 

Mhf zut alors! ('dash it all I') 
voUa le bastringue qui commence 
(GL COUETEMNB, Les Gaietes de 
*3. Noisy, poor music. 
*4. = baida. 

This word lias undergone some curious 
semantic changes. It goes back to the end 
of the eighteenth century and originally 
designated a machine for printing cloth on 
cylinders. The first 1 exicographer to mention 
it (in 1808) explains it as a name originally 
given to a quadrille long popular ia Paris, 
but, he adds, the term had received a wide 
extension and was applied to various things 
e.g. a badly-composed dance, a poor violin 
fplayer, a disorderly house, a measure of wine, 
etc. The word, which shows provincial German 
origin, probably Alsatian, is still common 
with the meaning 1, but its more general 
value is that of 2, especially with the idea 
of the discordant noise of musical instru- 
ments (3). In Anjou it also has the force of 
a collection of things, furniture (4) (SAlNtor, 
Langage pari&ien, pp. 187-9). 
bit, n.m. Gliacun sail ou le. bdt U blesse, 
Everyone knows best where Ms shoe 

Lit. 'where the pack-saddle wounds him*, 
A fuller form of the expression is Nul ne salt 
mieu% me I'dne oti le bdt le lUsse, 

II devina sans doute oil le bdt me 
blessait (' where the shoe was pinch- 
ing me '), car il s repandit en ex- 
plications rassiiranles (E. ABOUT, 
La Ohambre d'Ami). 

bataclan, n.m. Any collection of things. 
The word is generally used in the 
form. . . * et tout le bataclan at the end 
of an enumeration : ... and all the 
paraphernalia, and the whole bag of 
tricks, and the whole caboodle. Cp. 
boutique 2. 

This imitative word flrst occurs in the 
early nineteenth century, and is of popular 
formation (cp. the Heard form pctt&ctan, the 
noise of a falling body) . It originally denoted 
the action of furniture being moved about 
with great noise, whence the notion of 
cumbersome paraphernalia. The parallel 
form pataclan, is usual at Reims and also, 
alongside latcwlan, in Provence (SAiN^- 
Langage pari&ien, p. 37). 

Je dirige 1* opinion politico, lit- 
teraire, philosophise . . . et tout 
le bataclan (0. MIBBEATT, Lea Affaires 

bataillon, n,m, Inconnu au bataillon, I 
don't know him, No one knows him. 
Lit. 'unknown to the battalion '. 

*Bat* d'Af % n.m. *1. Soldier belonging to 

an African regiment. 
*2. The regiment itself. 

Abbreviation of "bata/Hlon d'AJrigue. 

II a voulu se distinguer en cassant 
la visiere de son k&pi, a la Batf 
d'Af (i.e. in the style of the Bat' 
d'Af ) (R. DOHQEL&S, Les Groix de 


bateau, n,m. 1. Shoe or foot (especially 
a big one), * beetle-crusher '. 
By comparison with a boat. 

2. JStre du dernier bateau, To be up to date, 
in the swim, 

As if one had just arrived by the last boat. 
"Oh immense appartement modern 
style dans une maison. dernier bat- 
eau (GYP, Oeux qui s'enf . . .). 

3. Stre du m$me bateau, To be of the 

same class, set, character, etc., of that 

4. Monter un bateau a quelgtfun, (a) To 

deceive, *kid' a person; (6) To tell 
somebody lies or a cock-and-bull 
story, to mystify, hoax. 
This expression is probably modelled on the 
equivalent phrase monter une seie & guelgu'un 
(q.v.) ; or the word bateau may have been 
unconsciously suggested by or connected with 
the argot meaning of bateJaffe, * deception ' 
* hoax '. Op. note to charrier. 

Us nous montent un bateau, ils 
ne se sont pas battus. ya s'est 
arrange" (M. I)OKNAY, Education de 

T'en a-t-elle cont6, dans les deux 
heures peut-&tre ou trois, quo vous 
vous $tes vus ? Ce n'est pas un 
bateau qu'elle fa montt, c'est une 
escadre, tine flotte, une armada ! 
(P. BOTTBGET, La Ducfiesse bleue), 

5. Memr qudqu'un en bateau 5= 4 (6). 

Eh bien, il vous a menti ! II v ous 
mene en bateau, mon cher! 11 a 
tromp6 tout le monde, toute sa vie ! 
(G. LEBOUX, Le Chateau noir). 
*bath. *1. adj. inv. Fine, excelloiit, tip- 
top, Al, etc. e.g. un bath type, a 
topping chap ; un bath diner, a slap- 
up dinner; il a et bath Gomme tout, 
he was as nice as pie ; tfest rien bath, 
that's rlne. 

*2. interj. Good ! What luck ! Pine ! 
Top-hole ! 

Originally belonged to the slang of apacfw* 
and prostitutes and was equivalent to hattant 
(n&uf), * bran-new '. The word is found for 
the first time in an argot poem of 1850. It 
caught on quickly and passed into the slang 
of soldiers, printers, and workers generally, 
and then into popular speech, being applied to 




anything that is good or meets with approval 
(SA1N&A.N, Langage parisien, p. 217). 

Vise (* Just have a look at ') la 
bath jumelle que fai prise a un 
macchabee boche (' a dead German ') 
(E. DOBGELES, Les Oroix de Bois). 

Elle est rien bath la gonzesse ! 
C She's a really topping girl ') 
(M. HABBY, La divine Chanson). 
toatifoler, vb. Mr. To frolic, skylark, 
romp. Batifoler avec unefille, To take 
liberties with a girl while playing with 

According to the D.<?., this verb comes from 
the Italian battifotte, boulevard where young 
folk used to go to play ; cp. boulevarder, * to 
stroll on the boulevards'. SainSan (Sources 
indigenes, II, p. 339) rejects this derivation, 
and sees in the word a southern borrowing 
of the sixteenth century. In the Dauphine" 
batifela means 'to tell fibs', *to chatter', 
and the form and meaning of the word have 
become modified by the intrusion of the 
notions battre and fol, whence the form 
batifoula, ' to banter ', * frolic '. 

Or, un jour, comme ils s'amu- 
saiont a batifoler dans 1'eau, ITran- 
901 s cria soudain a son camarade 
(MAUPASSANT, Mademoiselle Oocotte). 
foatif emitter, vb. ^ntr. To get muddled (in 
one's speech), to flounder. 
A fusion of batifoler and bafouiller. 
bailment, n.m. Etre du bdtiment, To be- 
long to the same profession e.g. II est 
du bdtiment, He is one of us. 

Je ne regarderai le portrait que si 
vous le permettez, vous savez ! . . . 
Jene suis pas du bdtiment pour rien ! 
(i.e. I, too, am an artist, and T know 
that artists do not like to be inter- 
rupted while working) (L. DELABTJE- 
MABDBTJS, Douce Moitie). 
baton,, n.m. *1. Battalion e.g. itre du 
troisieme bdton, to belong to the third 

Military slang ; due to the written abbrevia- 
tion baton* 

2. A bdlons rompus, By fits and starts, by 
snatches, on and off e.g. travailler a 
bdtons rompus, to work by fits and 
starts ; une conversation a bdtons 
rompus, desultory talk. 

From the phrase battre le (or du} tambour d 
bdtons rompus, 'to beat intermittent tattoos 
on the drum " when practising. 

3. Mettre des bdtons dans les roues (d 
quelqu'un), To put a spoke in some 
one's wheel. 

This phrase originates from the practice, in 
the days of stage-coaches, of putting sticks 
in the back wheels when the vehicle was de- 
scending a slope too quickly. 

Au lieu d'aplanir les petites diffi- 

cultes, tu t'appliques a mettre des 
bdtons dans les roues (H. LAVEDAN, 
*foattage, n.m. Exaggeration, boasting, 
bluff, lies, humbug. 
From battre with its popular meaning of * to 
tell a lie * (standing for battre eomtois, q.v.) . 
Je puis te garantir que, s'il 
menace de se tuer, ce sera du 
battage ( c bluff ') et rien d'autre 
(R DE CUBEL, La Danse devant le 

battant, adj. 1. (Of time) Punctually, 
precisely, on the dot. 

A six heures battant vous allez le 

voir entrer, car son pareil n'existe 

pas sur la terre pour Texactitude 

(FLATJBEBT, Madame Bovary}. 

2. (Tout) Battant neuf, Brand-new. Cp. 


Abattoir, n.m. Hand (especially a large 
one), flipper. 

By comparison with a battoir de blancfiisseuse, 
a washerwoman's bat or beater. 
*baver. *L vb. intr. En baver, (a) To be 
astounded, flabbergasted; (6) To be 
furious, mad with rage. 
Lit. 'to slaver', 'slobber*, 'drivel* i.e. 
with astonishment or anger. 
*2. JEn baver des rondsdec7iajpeau(x), 
emphatic form of 1. 
The suggestion is that as the result of astonish- 
ment one stands open-mouthed with saliva 
running down in such abundance that it forms 
pools the size of the crown of a hat. 

Oh ! tout de meTne, ce que vous 
te$ epatant I ( e What a scream you 
are !').... Si Virevelles etait la, 
il en baverait des ronds de chapeaux ! 
(H. BUVEBNOIS, La Guitare et le 

bavette, n.f. Tailler une bavette (or des 
bavettes), To talk, gossip, have a chat. 
Lit. 'to cut out a bib'. The expression 
arises from a play on the words bavette ('bib') 
and baver, which formerly = bavarder, to 
* gossip ', the idea probably being that people 
who talk a great deal are apt to slaver or 
dribble and so need to cut out; a bib first. 

Je m'assieds a cdt< de madame 
Canivet sur la banquette, et nous 
nous mettons a tailler une petite 
bavette (L. HALEVY, Les petites 

bazar, n.m. Any collection of things, 
especially in a state of confusion e.g. 
J*ai envoye sauter tout le bazar J I 
chucked up the whole business, the 
whole bally show ! 

Originally applied to a soldier's belongings, 
then to trappings (furniture, clothes, etc.) 




in general. The word is also used to denote 
* house ', * college or school % * shop * (in the 
sense of 'place where one woiivs'). 

La cambuse brulcrait, elle aurait 
fichu en personne le feu au bazar 
( 4 If the houso were burning, she 
would have set fire to tlio furniture 
herself *), tant V embetement de la vie 
eomm.enc.ait a lui monter an nez (' to 
get on her nerves *) (ZOLA, L'Assom- 

bazarder, vb, tr. To get rid of, sell off 
(especially at a low price and particu- 
larly with reference to one's furniture) 
e.g. J'ai bazarde tout mon saint- 
frusquin, I have sold all my belongings. 
The word originated with the soldiers in 
Africa, who sell their things to the Arab 
second-hand dealers in the bazars. 

Gorvaise aurait bazarde la maison ; 

elle e*tait prise de la rage du clou 

(' pawning '), elle so serait tondu 

la tete, si on avait voulu lui preter 

sur ses cheveux (ZoLA, ISA ssommoir), 

beau, adj. and n.m. 1. ffaire le beau, (a) 

(of persons) To show one's graces, to 

show off, to strut about ; (b) (of dogs 

and cats) To beg (i.e. to stand up on its 

hind paws). 

La concierge, olle a une chatte qui 
sait faire le beau ! (L. DELABXTE- 
MARDRUS, Douce Moitie). 

2. II f era beau (or beau terny),** or beau jour) 

guand . . . (ironical), It will be a long 
time before . . ., 1 am not likely 
to . . ., 1 am determined not to e.g. 
II /era beau guand $e retournerai chcz 
lui, I shall never go to his houso again. 

3. 11 ferait beau voir que , . ., (ironical) 
It would be surprising (a nice thing) to 
see ... 

II /erait beau voir qu'un fonctiori- 
naire, ne fut-il que commis principal, 
s'avisat de jotor a la tete dea 
autorites un rcfus qui 6quivaudrait 
a uno demission ! (E. EOTATTNT^, 
L'lnfwmc aux Mains de Lumi&re). 

4. Porter beau, (of persons) To present a 

fine appearance, to have an imposing 

presence, to carry oneself well, to 

carry one's head high. 

Primarily of a horse which boars its head on 


Grand, robuste, portant beau, lo 
mare'ehal due de Brunswick avait 
une figure distingu6o (A. TumrBiisT, 
La Chanoinesse). 

5. Be mettre au beau (of the weather), To 
clear up -e.g. Le temps se met au beau, 

The weather is clearing up, turning 

(Retting) fine. 

Voir tout en beau. To soo everything 

through rose-coloured spectacles (or 

glasses), to see the bright side of 


Madame de Guoldro ne voynit pas 
tros en beau Ics gens ot les choses 
(G\ r r, Une Passionnc.ttcJ). 
, n.f. L Avoir la bcaittc du diablc, 
is said of a girl, neither ugly nor 
pretty, whose attractiveness consists in 
her youth and freshness ; to havo the 
freshness of youth. 

An allusion to the saying j> dtatilr Atiit fteuit, 
quand il dtait famw, whicli, in its turn, refers 
to the Devil's youthful life an the proud and 
handsome angel Lucifer. Tho express ion is 
iwed to indicate i.hnt youth ah\ays has a 
certain beauty in it, oven in ugly persons. 

Cora Pearl avait co qu'on appollo 
la bcautc du diable, c'eat-jVdiro je no 
sais quoi do provocant et d'attirant 
dans scs traits, et on lava-nl.ait pour 
ks formes antiques do son corps 
(A. WOLFF, La haute Noce). 
Eire en beaute, (of a woman) To look 
one's best. 

Suis-jo bienmon cliat ('Do I look 
all right, my dear ') ? JUn b&mtf, 
repond Didi (O. BfiVAT^ Les 

, adj. Silly, childish. 
I'roin btte, * silly'. 8eo note to finHa. 

Ello mo raconta uno hisioiro 
Mbdte ot tragiquo do chat trouvc 
(0. MIEBEAU, Dingo}* 
c, w.w. *1, Mouth e.g. Fcnnc, (or 
Tais) ton bee / Shut up ! 
Mt, " beak'. 

See dire 21 (Hirsch). 
Un bee jaune, A young inexperienced 
follow, ninny* silly goose. 
An alluHion to younjuc MrdH, \vhoso beaks nr 
generally yellow, and who, ia hawking 
phraseology, are called nJaiK. Thus ni<tt# ban 
come to mean 'nlmple', *Himplot<m*. 
Un blanc-bcc, A beardlonH youth, 
greenhorn, simpleton, A moro ohickon. 
Jlleally a man with no hair on hit* chin. 

Soo boulette (liornatdn). 
Un fin bee, A gourmet, epicure. Op. 
bouehe 8. 

Avoir bee et angles, To bo aMo (and to 
know how) to defend oneself, to fight, 
with tooth and nail. 
L'it. * to have beak and elawB*. 
Avoir boti bec f To have a Hharp (or glib) 
tongue, to be able to ariHwer back, to 
havo the gift of the gab. 




7. Avoir le bee sale, To be always thirsty, 
to be fond of drinking. Un bee sale, 
A thirsty mortal. 
Lit. *to have a salt beak*. 

Quello race degoutante t Tons, 
bees-sales et cossards ! (* sluggards ') 
(H. BARBTTSSE, Le Feu}. 
S. Olore (or Clouer) le bee a quelqu'un, To 
shut a person up, to make a decisive 
retort to a person. 

9. Eire (or Hester, Se trouver) le bee dans 
I'eau, To be at a loss, in a mess, to be 
very much disappointed, to fail to 
accomplish one's purpose. 

Like birds standing with their beaks in the 
water, waiting for something to catch. 

Oui, naais jo n'ai pas de position. 
S'il m'avait pris au mot, s'il avait 
accept^, je me serais trouve le bee 
dans Teau (' 1 should have been in the 
carfc') (T. BERNARD, I? Anglais tel 
qu'on le parle). 

10. Laisser gudgifun le bee dans Teau, To 
leave a pei^son in the lurch. 

Aux premieres notes d'une polka, 
il tourna la fcte et Ton crut qu'il 
aurait le cceur do repartir en 
laissawt une seconde fois ses audi- 
teurs le bee dans Veau ( H. BORDEAUX, 
Les Jftoquevillard). 

11. Tenir quelqu'un le bee dans ?eau, To 
make one wait in vain, to keep one in 
useless suspense, to keep one on a 
string, to put one off with fine words. 

12. $e prcndre de bee (avee quelqu^un), To 
quarrel (with a person) e.g. Us se sont 
pris de bee, They came to words. 
Henco : une prise de bee, a quarrel, 
Rot-to, slanging match. 

By comparison with birds pecking away at 
each other, 

Jl y cut entre nous do violentes 
prises de bee, il s'ensuivit des 
6* changes de horions ( c thwacks') 
(V. CitEBBULiEZ, L'Aventure de 
Ladislas BolsJd}. 

*13. Un bee de gaz, (a) Policeman, detec- 
tive, copper. 

Lit. ' lamp-post '. ' This expression belongs to 
the vocabulary of the apaches. 

Tu dovrais savoir que je no parle 
pas pour les bees de gaz (i I. H. ROSNY, 
Dans Us JRues). 

*(b) Tombcr sur un (or Mencontrer le) bee de 
gaz, To meet with an unforeseen 
obstacle, to catch a tartar, come a 
cropper (fig.). 

Lit. * to knock against a lamp-post '. Do gaz 
is often omitted. 

Le pere Mortier croyait qu'avcc 
de la publicite dans le Oil Bias, il 
aurait tout ce qu'il voudrait de Lea. 
Ah ! la la, mes enfants, quel bee de 
gaz ! (' what a sell ! ') (COLETTE, La 
Fin de Oheri). 
b^eane, n.f. Bicycle, bike. 

The word is a borrowing from the language of 
mechanics, and was first applied to a steam 
engine, especially a ramshackle one, or to an 
old-fashioned locomotive. Cp. ' Us (les ouvriers 
en fer)ne parlaient pas comme toutle monde, 
se servaient entre PUX d'une espece de jargon 
que 1' enfant trouvait bas et laid. Une 
machine s'appelait une bfaane, les chefs 
d'atelier des contrecoups, les mauvais ouvriers 
de la chouftique' (DAUDET, Jack). The word 
is a provincial borrowing, brought to Paris 
by workers from the west : in Anjou Ifaane 
is the name given to the chevrette, and in 
"French ehfyre metaphorically denotes various 
lever-machines (SAIN^AN, Langage parisien, 
p. 189). 
foScliage, n.m. Sharp criticism. See 

focher, vb. tr. To criticise, run down, pick 
to pieces (of persons and things). 
Int. ' to dig *. Cp, dSbiner, Jardiner. 

Chaque fois que tu la bfoheras, je 
prendrai sa defense (H. LAVBDAN, 
Le nouveau Jeu). 

Et puis il y avait um premiere 
('first night') a la Come'die- 
Eran9aise ; alors, nous avons beche 
la piece, naturellement (BBIBTJX, 
Manages d* Artistes). 
b^eot, n.m. t Kiss. 

A diminutive of bee. 
S>6eoter, vb. tr. To kiss. 
*becqnetanc, n.f. Food, grub. 

Soldiers* slang ; see beequeter. Also spelt 

Voil^. la bectance ! annonce un 
poilu (' soldier ') qui guettait au 
tournant (H. BARBUSSE, Le Feu). 
*becqiieter, vb. tr. and intr. To eat, to peck. 
Lit. *to peck% as of birds. Soldiers' slang, 
which has passed into popular speech. 

Dis done ! vions-tu beequeter ? 
Arrive, clampin \ (' Come along, you 
lazy bones I ') Je paie un canon 
('glass of wine') de la bouteille 
(ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
betlaine, n.f. Paunch, corporation. 

II etait, a present, un petit homme 
do quarante-sept ans, avec un com- 
mencement de bedaine (F. COPP^E, 
fcedon, n.m. = bedaine* 
bedonner, vb. intr. To get stout, develop 
a corporation, to become pot-bellied. 
Une quinzaine de messieurs plus 


ou moins chauves, bedonnants et 
dcore*s, fument, assis autour du 
tapis vert (L. FRAPI&, La Boite aux 

See bide (Colette). 

be*gueule n.f. and adj. Prude ; prudish, 
straitlaced. laire la begueule, To 
play the prude, to be prudish. 
From Ue (from bfor, *to gape') + ffueule, 
hence * one who stands open-mouthed '. 

Moi, pourvu qu'on ne m' oblige pas 
a faire centre mon gout, je ne suis 
pas begueule ; aussi je ne m'ennuie 
pas chez Madame (A. SALMON, C'est 
une belle Fille /) 

b6gum, n.m. Love, fancy. The word is 
applied both to the sentiment itself 
and to the person who is the object* of 
it e.g. Presentez-moi a votre beguin, 
Introduce me to your mash, fancy. 
Avoir un (or le) beguin pour guelqifun, 
To bo in love with a person, to bo 
sweet on a person. Tt is also sometimes 
used of things, to have a fancy for. 
The word denotes primarily a cap with strings 
tied under the chin, and originally worn by 
children cp. the old phrase Je le connais 
depuis le bdguiti, i.e. I have known him since 
lie was a child, lor children wore the Mgniti 
till they were six or seven. Thus lira ow- 
btigmnd do or avoir un bifyuin pour un enfant 
meant to have a groat affection for a child, 
and later the phrase was extended to apply 
to any person or thing (ROBERT, Phrasdologie, 
p. J30). 

Quand Souris epousa Mile Duval, 
Leuillet f ut surpris et un peu voxe, 
car il avait pour elle un 16ger bcguin 
(MAUPASSANT, Le Vengeur). 

Je n>ai aucun beguin pour ces 
folJes Parisiennos (R. ROLLAND, 
Jean- Christophe). 
*beigne, n.f. Blow, slap, cuff. 

From beiffnet, "fritter', probably by allusion 
to its swollen shape. It is interesting to note 
that an obsolete meaning of beignet is * slight 
swelling*. Cp, pain. 

Quand la petite he"sitait, elle ro- 
cevait un premier avertissement, 
une beigne d'une tolle force qii'elle 
en voyait trente-six chandelles ('that 
she saw stars ') (ZoLA, UAssom- 

feel et Men, adv. Completely, thoroughly, 
fairly, outright, fair and square e.g. 
II Va bel et bien <$i,He'did actually say so. 
This adverbial phrase is generally used to 
contradict an erroneous statement, or to stress 
the actuality of a thing. 

Olivier ctait bel et bien prisonnier 
dans sa chambre (P. BENOIT, Pour 
don Carlos). 

36 belle 

bel et bon, adj. All right (very fine, very 
well), but . . e.g. Ton t cela est bel et 
bon, mais je n'en crois rien, All that is 
very fine, but I don't believe a word of 

This adjectival phrase is used to indicate 
doubt concerning a statement which is 
considered insufficiently corroborated. 

Belgique, n.f. Filer en (or Partir pour la) 
JBelgique, To abscond, go to Texas* 
Cp. Bruxelles. 

Lit. ' to make tracks for Belgium. '. This is 
a euphemism applied to one who absconds 
with the contents of the cash- box, or to 
fraudulent bankrupts, because to evade the 
attentions of the police they usually take 
a trip to Belgium, this country being for 
Parisians the nearest and most convenient. 
belle, n.f. and adj. 1. Deplus belle, More 
(or Bettor, worse, louder, harder, etc.) 
than ever, with renewed ardour 

This phrase implies * with redoubled in- 
tensity ' ; m(tmdr& or fapon i understood. 

En efiet, la fusillade, 6tointo uno 
demi-houre a peine, rcprit dc plus 
belle (R. BOYLESVE, IJEnfant <l la 

2. Jouer la belle , To play the rubber (i.e. 
the third and decisive game, when, each 
player has won a game). Avoir la 
belle f To win the rubber. 

The word partiG, * game ', is understood, 

3. La baillcr (or donner) belle (or bonne) a 

gudqutun, To tell some one a protty 
tale (ironical), to stuff some one up 
nicely, to humbug, tako in, pull somo 
one's leg -e.g. Vous me la baillez belle / 
A pretty story you arc telling mo ! 
You are spinning me a lino yarn ! 
You are pulling my leg ! 
JiaiUvr is an old verb, now almost obso- 
lete, which originally meant ' to hold % * to 
possess ', and also * to give *. The expression 
is derived from the game of tennis, in which 
la donner bellft d (m&lqu'un, (elliptical for 
donwr la batt(t bella d quelqtfun) meant, 
to play the ball in such a way that it i 
easy for one's opponent to return it. Thus tho 
phrase in its ilgurativo sense originally 
denoted * to give some one a tine opportunity 
to do or aay something % but later ii oamo to 
be used ironically with tho above force, 
Vous me la baillez bdle> monHiour, 

et je voxia remeroio do VOH avis ; 

gardez-loB pour vous ou portoz-los 

aillours ! (M, MAINDRQK, Oe bon 

M. de Veragues). 

4. La manguer belle, To let slip an oppor- 

Also from the game of tennis, the phrase 
being elliptical for manqwr la balk MI&, * to 
miss an easy ball*. 

5. L'echapper belle* To havo a narrow 




escape (or close (near) shave), to be 
touch, and go witli a person, to escape 
by the skin of one's teeth. 
This originates in the same way as 4 and at 
first liad the same meaning of * to let escape 
a fine opportunity % being elliptical for laisser 
ttchapper la balle belle. 

belles, adj. I. En apprendre (or entendre) 
de belles e.g. J'en ai appris (or 
entendu) de belles sur votre compte, I 
have heard fine tales about you, nice 
doings (goings-on) of you (ironical). 
In this and the following expressions with 
belles, some feminine plural noun like choses, 
affaires or histoires is understood. 

2. En dire (or (ra)conter) de belles a 
quelqu'un e.g. II vous en a conte de 
belles f He told you fine tales ! He 
spun you a fine yarn ! He took you in 
(stuffed you) nicely ! Vous w?en dites 
de belles I I can hardly believe that ! 
You're pulling my leg ! On m'a 
raconte de belles sur son compte/ I've 
been told nice things about Mm ! 

3. En faire (or Oommettre) de belles e.g. 
II en a fait (or commis) de belles , He has 
been behaving nicely, He has been 
playing nice tricks ! (ironical). 

4. J$n voir de belles e.g. Nous en avons vu 

de belles, We have had some strange 
(hard, terrible) experiences. Similarly 
En faire voir de belles d quelqu'un 
e.g. Je lui en ferai voir de belles / I'll 
put him through it ! 

"'benediction, n.f. . . . que c'est (c'etait) 
une (vraie) benediction, . . . like the 
very deuce e.g. // neige que tfest une 
(vraie) benediction, It is snowing like 
the very deuce. 

This is a popular adaptation, expressing 
emphasis or abundance, of the familiar phrase 
C'est une benediction, used to denote that 
something is successful or abundant beyond 
all expectation, as if by a special benediction 
of heaven. 

II est etendu comme un veau sur 
son lit, et pleure comme une Made- 
leine (* weeping most bitterly ' ; see 
Appendix sub Madeleine), que tfest 
une vraie benediction/ (BALZAC, 
Eugenie Qrandet). 

*be"nef, n.m. Benefit, profit, pecuniary 
gain. Les petits beliefs, Perquisites, 
* porks ', * pickings ', 
A popular abbreviation of Mnd/ice, n.m. 
b6neliee, n.m. N'admettre une chose que 
sous binefice d'inventaire, To admit a 
thing only up to a certain point, after 
verification, conditionally, for what it 
is worth, with a pinch of salt/ e.g. On 

ne doit accepter ces conclusions que sous 
bln&fice d'inventaire. 
An extended use of the legal phrase sous 
bdndftce d'inventaire, which is used to indicate 
that an inheritor being liable for the debts of 
the deceased only in proportion to his inherit- 
ance, which is verified by the inventory, he 
may, if the debts exceed the inheritance, de- 
cline to accept it e.g. II a accepUla succession 
sous bn4fic& d'inventaire, He has accepted 
the inheritance on condition that he is not 
saddled with debts in excess of the assets. 
Benjamin, proper name. ^Favourite, dar- 
ling, pet e.g. C'est le Benjamin de ses 
parents, He is his parents' darling. 
This generally refers to the favourite (usually 
the youngest) child in a family, by allusion 
to the biblical story of Jacob's fondness for 
his youngest son Benjamin. It may also be 
used of any favourite. 

Si vous me la presentez, vous 
serez son Benjamin, elle vous 
adorera (BALZAC, Le Pere Goriot). 
, n.f. Year. 

Has passed from the cant of thieves into 
the popular language generally. 

Dans le tas, y avait un birb& 
('old fellow') de soixante-cinq 
berges ( J. H. ROSNY, Dans les Sues). 
berlingot, n.m . 1 . A kind of caramel sweet. 
Prom the Italian berlinyozzo, a kind of maca- 

2. Rustic term for cart ; old, ramshackle 

IProm berlingue, which was used in the 
eighteenth century for a kind of berlim, 
'berlm*, a four-wheeled carriage (so called 
because it was made for the first time in 
Berlin) . 

J'ai done pris un " berlingot " et je 
me suis fait conduire a G-uerande par 
le Bourg-de-Batz (F. COPP&E, En 

berloipe, n.f. JBattre la berloque, To rave, 
be crazy, talk nonsense, talk at ran- 
dom. May also be used of things 
e.g. Ma montre bat la berloque, My 
watch is quite crazy. 
Another form of breloque, q.v. 
berllie, n.f. Avoir la berlue, To be blind 
(fig.}, to see things which do not exist, 
to have hallucinations, to have a 
wrong idea of anything e.g. Ai-je 
done la berlue ? Are my eyes right, I 
wonder ? Do my eyes deceive me ? 
An extension of the medical term denoting a 
defect of vision which makes one see imagin- 
ary objects or gives a deformed view of real 

Cela ne pouvait pourtant pas se 
passer si simplement ! Les gens 
n'avaient %>as la berlue, ils savaient 
Men ce qu'ils avaient vu ! (L. 
EEAPI!:, La Figurante). 




beraique I interj. Popular expression 
denoting disappointment or decep- 
tion : "Nothing doing ! (It's) No go ! 
What a sell ! e.g. Je croyais le trouver 
chez lui, mais bernique I 1 thought I 
should find him at home, but there was 
nothing doing ! 

The word seems to "be of Breton origin ; in 
Brittany l)ermqu& is the usual form for 
fiernicle, the vulgar name for a sholl fish of the 
limpet kind (modern French bcrnade, 
'barnacle'). Those shells, which swarm on 
the rocks and cling in masses to the sides 
of ships, became the symbol for nullity_ or 
lack of value (SAIN^AN, Langctge partition, 
PP. 77-8). 

J'avouo quo jo rcgxotto les naillo 
francs quo j'aurais pu gagner. Jo 
voulais renouveler le mobilior do 
Croisset, bernique I (FLAUBERT, Cor- 

Mais les vrais gredins, bernique I 
... Us sont bion trop fins, cottx- 
la ! . . . Vons croyez les tenir, 
pas de ga, Lisette ! (* it's no use try- 
ing It on them'). Us vous glissont 
entro les doigts commas dos anguillos 
(E. Bor>, L'Incendie). 

Bertha, proper name. 1. La grouse 
Bertha, The big long- distance gun 
with which the Germans bombarded 
Paris during the War. 
2. Heavy shell fired by this gun . 

Prom the name of Krupp's elder daughter. 

La chapelle qui a recu trois 
t)omTbes ffavion et deux ohus do la 
JBertha (IT. DE CTJBEL, La Viveuse et 
le Moribond). 
*bfeef(f ), adv. = bSzef. 
ibesogne, n.f. Abattre de la besogne s= en 
abattre. Hence Un grand abatteur de 
besogne, A great worker, a grafter. 

All ! Je vais n abattre de la be- 
sogne, je ne te di$ qtte $a / (* yon mark 
my words ') (P. MAEGTJEBITTB, 

Ibesoins, n.m. pL Faire, ses (petite) besoins, 
To go to the privy. 
This stands for faire ses besoms natureh, 
ta, n.m. and adj. Noodle, muff ; foolish, 
stupid e.g. G'est nn blta 9 He can't 
say boo to a goose. II est gentil, 
mais 6$a,He's a nice fellow, but a bit 
of a fool. 
From a dialect form of Idtail, ' cattle '. 

Est-ce assez Mta, oes rMexions 1 

(Gyp, Les ffroussards)* 

bte. (A) n.f. 1. foolish, person e.g. 

G*e$t une vieille bete, He is an old fool. 

(Test ime bonne bete (or une (or la) Mte 

du> bon Dicu)t He is a good-natured 
fool, a kind but foolish person. Une 
btite A (bon) Dieu, (fit. a lady-bird) A 
harmless person. Fa ire la b$te, To 
play tho fool, the giddy ox, to be 

2. >ete noise, 3?et aversion e.g. Cette 
fcmme cst ma bete noire t I hate the very 
sight of that woman, 1 can't bear tho 
sight of that woman. 

Madame do Bassigny etait la 
feinmo cl'un colonel, ot la bete noire 
do Chiilon (GYP, Le Manage de 

3. Chercher la petite b&te, (dans . . .), To 
pick holes (in), to bo over particular. 

Du resto, ils m'avaient, de bonno 

houre, juge "" subtil JJ ; et l)ieu sait 

co quo eetto 6pith6te signifio pour 

nos contomporains : c'est 4 * chcrcher 

la petite bete" ou aimer & " oouper 

Ics chcveux cu quatro "' " o'est ne 

pas so contonter dos bonnes cst 

grosses apparonccs (R. BOVLKSYM, 

Souvenirs du Jar din dctniit). 

(B) adj. Stupid- e.g. 11 est bctc a manger 

dufoin, (lit. ' silly enough to oat hay ') 

Ho is a perfect idiot, a downright ass, 

C'est (d'un) b$te & couper au cowtcau, 

(lit. * It is so silly that ono could cut 

it with a Imifo s ) It is awfully Htupid. 

Pas si Mte / I'm not such a fool ! (i.e. 

as to say, beliovo that), You don't 

catch me ! Ko llics on me ! 

Tho hunt phrase is olliptioal for Je ne mis pas 

si l)('te Qtta fan ai l'air> J am not. nueh a lool 

iw JL look. For coni]wiriHt)iis with bfte t BCO 

Appendix sub S,ne, cfoou, cruche, oie, pot, 


n*f. Trifle (lit. and fig.) e.g. 
donner une betisa, to give a mere 
nothing se brouiller ponr une bti#c f 
to fall out over a trifle. 
Mt, - foollahnt'.HS *. 

Le soir, au dinor, olio s'cmporta 
(* lost her temper ') pour uno bStise 
contro Jacques (Qvxv Uw>& Passiort- 

31 rapport.ait quolcjxiefois uu bou- 
quoi a sa femxne,, un petit cadoau 
pour B6sir6e, un rien, une Mtise (A. 
JDAT7i>3ST, Iromont Jeune d, liulcr 

n.m. Low caf^chantant or 

lYom beugl&r, ' to bellow ' ; tho audience often 
sing in chorus with tho artists. 

31s avaient dobuto par les beuglants 
do la rue Royale et se proposaient do 




finir rue d'Albanie (L. DESOAVES, 


foeilgler, vb. tr. and intr. To bawl, bellow, 
roar, sing in a loud voice e.g. beugler 
une chanson, to bellow out a song. Ne 
beuglez pas si fort/ Don't bawl like 

Lit. 'to bellow" (of animals). 
beurre, n.m. 1. Profit, more or less law- 
ful gains e.g. Faire son beurre 9 To 
make a profit, to make one's fortune, 
one's pile, to feather one's nest, to 
make a good thing of it. 
The expression generally implies adroit or 
illicit methods, arid arises from the fact that 
for the poor butter is a luxury. 

Je trouve encore moyen de faire 

mon beurre (J. H. E.OSNY, Marthe). 

See chocolat (Bernstein). 
*2. Accommodcr quelqu'un au beurre noir, 
To give some orio a black eye. 
Lit. ' to cook some one with black butter * ; 
cp. accommoder 1 and ceil 5. To understand 
this phrase one must remember (a) thafc 
beurra noir, i.e. butter browned in the frying- 
pan, is used in cooking e.g. des ceufs aw 
oeurre noir, and also "in making certain 
sauces ; (6) that unsalted butter is thought 
by superstitious people to bo an excellent 
ointment for curing various kinds of bruises, 
particularly ' black * eyes. 

3. G'est> un (vrai) beurre. That's an easy 
job, that's as easy as can be, it's a 
t cinch ', it's a ' gift '. Cp. 1. 

4. Oela (Q a) fait mon beurre, It's th very 
thing for me, It's to my advantage. 
JBJn faire son beurre, To put to good use, 
to good profit. Cp. 1 and 3. 

Si ton monsieur est bien nippi 
( c dressed '), demande-lui un vioux 
paletot, fen ferai mon beurre ('I'll 
make good use of it ') (ZOLA, 

5. Mettre du beurre dans les epinards, To 
add to one's means, to improve one's 
position e.g. @a mettra du beurre dans 
les Ipinards, That will make life more 
comfortable, that will grease the wheels 
of life, that is an unexpected and wel- 
come windfall, a bit of ' fat *. 

JLiL ' to put butter in the spinach', i.e. an 
additional luxury. 

Dame ! si $a devait mettre du 

beurre dans les epinards 1 (ZOLA, 


6. Promettre plus de beurre que de pain, 
To be lavish of promises (which cannot 
be fulfilled). 

Te frappe pas ('Don't get ex- 
cited'), mon vieux. Cabet vous 
off re toujours plus de beurre que 

de pain (C. H. Hmscn, " Petti " 
Louis f Boxeur). 

tseuverie, n.f. Drinking-bout, * binge '. 
*Mzef, adv. Much, especially used in 
negative constructions e.g. II rty en a 
pas bezef, There isn't much of it. On 
ne touchera pas bezef de pourboire/ 
We won't get much of a tip ! Tu riy 
comprends bezef, hein ? You can't make 
much of it, eh ? and in the phrase bono 
bezef J Very good! That's all right! 
So much the better ! (60^0 being 
military slang for bon). 
The word, from Algerian bi'zzef, 'abun- 
dantly ', was introduced into military slang 
by the soldiers in Algeria and has passed 
into popular speech. 

Mais, n.m, Trouver un biais, To find some 
way out of a difficulty. 
Lit. "slope*, 'slant'. 

Ah ! il faut que nous trouvions un 
biais. Donnant donnant ! ( ' Give and 
take ! ') Elle rentrerait en posses- 
sion de son bien, et moi . . . (J. 
BIOHJSPIN, Miarka}. 
MM. 1. n.m. Woman's hat. 

Eeally an old-fashioned style of hat; the 
name was given about 1830 to a certain type 
of small hat for women. See note to 

Je compose des bibis qui font sen- 
sation. Une cliente, Mme Bivoare", 
m'a donne* un louis, tant elle <Hait 
contente (H. DUVERNOIS, Edgar}. 
2. pron. Myself, this child, number one 
e.g. Q a > c ' es t P our bibi> That's for 

ibi is a popular childish substitute for the 
first person pronoun e.g. fa c'est your bibi et 
"bibi c'est moi. At the same time it is a term 
of endearment given to children, implying 
the notion of 'little', whence the two 
popular secondary meanings of the word as a 
noun (a) small skeleton-key ; (&) small, old- 
fashioned woman's hat (see 1) (SAiNfiAN, 
Langage parisien, p. 350). 

Vous me le pr^terez, dites ? 
Oui, si vous etes chouette ('nice') 
avec Bibi (O. MIBBEAU, Le Journal 
d'une Femme de Ghambre). 

Faut etre gentil, bien gentil avec 
bibi, parce que bibi n'est pas 
ordinaire (MAUPASSANT, Le Champ 

See broquille (Htcsch). 
*bibinej n.f *1. Low public-house or 


*2. Beer or any drink of inferior quality, 
4 slops '. 

A deformation of dfibine, q.v. 
toiche, n*f. Term of endearment to a 




woman e.g. M a biche 1 Barling ! 
Ducky ! 

Lit. * hind *, * roe *. 

*biehier, vb. intr. To get along e.g. Qa 
biche ? How goes it ? Qa> biche, les 
affaires f How's business ? Qa ne 
biche pas avec sa femme t He does not 
get on well with his wife. 
This verb, which belongs to the Lyonnais 
vocabulary, is primarily an angler's term, 
meaning 'to nibble' e.g. flst~c& qua $a 
biche ? (7a bloke, There's a bite (SAiNlSAN, 
Langasre parisien, p. 179). 

Et Marcienne ? Qa biche ? 
jfipatamment (' Eippingly *) . . . 
rnerci . . . Tu 1'as vuo la gosse 
(' girl ', c kid '), dans la revue do la 
Cigale ? (H. BATAILLE, Maman 

Qa a 1'air do bicher, ton fr6ro ot 
Tourneux ? (C. H. HIRSOH, Nini 

Sco gratter 2 ( Benjamin). 
biehette, n.f. = biche, particularly of a 

little girl. 

bichof, n.m. = bischof. 
bichon, n.m, = biche, particularly of a 

Lit. "lap-dog". 

biehonner. 1. vb. tr. To adorn, dross up 
e.g. Mle aime & biehonner ses 
enfants, She is fond of dressing up her 
Lit. ' to curl like a bicJion ', * lap-dog * 

Les mamans avaient fait de leur 
mieux (* had done their best ') pour 
biehonner lours gamines (If. CorrioE, 
Les deux Communions). 
2. Se biehonner. To adorn, preen one- 
self, make oneself smart, titivate e.g. 
II passe des heures a se bichonner, Ho 
spends hours titivating. 
bieo(t), n.m. *1. = arbico(t). 

See cabot 1 (Harry). 
2. Kid (young goat). 

*bidard, n.m. and adj. Lucky follow e.g. 
Quel veinard de bidard I What a lucky 
dog he is ! 

3?rom the name of the packer who won tho 
big lottery prize at the Exposition of 1878. 

*bide, n.m. = bedaine. 

II ricana parco que 1'officior 
am^ricain bedonnait : cc Pour une 
nation de sportifs, qu'ost-ce qu'il 
tient comme bide 1 " (' what a cor- 
poration he's got ') (COLETTE, La 
Fin de Ghfri). 

*bidoche n.f. Meat, especially of inferior 

Originally applied especially to a piece of 
boiled beef, although the word really denotes 
'mutton* (cp. the Berry word bide, *old 
sheep '). }t has passed from military to 
popular speech with tho general meaning 
of ' meat '. 

On n'en mange pas tous los jours 
do la bidoche choz toi ? (L. DES- 
CAVES, Sous-Offs). 

*b!d(ra, n.m. = bedaine. 

*bidonner, vb. tr. and intr. To drink 
(freely), to swig e.g. bidonner un 
coup 9 to have a * gargle '. II est 
toujours a bidonner, He's always booz- 

J^rorn bidon, * water-bottle *, in which wine 
is distributed to soldiers. 

*2. Se bidonncr, To laugh uproariously, to 
bo convulsed with laughter. 
Implying that tho bidon, ('belly') is shaken 
up by laughter ; cp. se boyauter. 

bien. (A) adv. 1. In exclamations, ono 
should distinguish between Bicn ! 
Good ! All right ! and Eh bien / Well 
then ! 

2. jBien is frequently added in French with 
a shade of meaning whic.h in English 
can often bo rendered only by com- 
pletely remodelling tho sentence. 
(a) With vaguo intensity ing foroo equi- 
valent to * certainly ', k in truth ', 
' surely ', * yoxi may bo sure ', etc., or 
serving to emphasise the verb -e.g. J?> 
boirals bien wi verre de vin, I shouldn't 
mind drinking a glass of wino. Avonft- 
nous bien le droit de le faire 9 Arc you 
sure wo have the right to do it ? Je 
crois bien I I should think so ! Rather ! 
Vous pensez bien que . ., You can 
readily imagine that . . . JSst-ce bien 
vous f Is it really you ? Vous auricz 
bien pu me le dire, You might have 
told me. Nous verrons bievb, Wo 
shall see (implying threat, amusement, 
scepticism, etc.). Je vous le disais 
bien / Didn't I toll you so ? Je vous 
Vai bien dit / I told you so ! CTest 
bien vous / That's you all over ! 
That's just like you ! II y a bien deu% 
ans qu'il n'est venu, It's fully two 
years since he's been. Peut-$tre bien / 
Perhaps so ! 

(b) Bien is often used to mark a con- 
cession, which is usually modified by a 
mais in tho following clause - o.g. Je 
sais bien (or Je sais bien que . . ., Je 
vois bien, Je comprends bien, Je 
voudrais bien f J'ai bien enUndu dire 




que . . ., O'est bien un succes), mais 
. . ., I know (or I know that . . ., 
I can see, I quite understand, I should 
very much like to, I have indeed heard 
that . . ., It is, I admit, a success), 
but ... 

(c) It should be observed that, with 
vouloir, bien may weaken the meaning 
e.g. Je veux, I insist, I mean to, 
but Je veux bien, I accept, consent, 
am quite willing, have no objection. 
But inversely Je voudrais, I should 
like, and Je voudrais bien, I should 
very much like to. 

(d) In a command T or question, bien can 
express impatience e.g. Veux-tu bien 
te taire ! Will you hold your tongue ! 
Voulez-vous bien vous en oiler / Will you 
go away ! Qu'est-ce qidl peut bien 
faire ? What on earth can he be doing ? 

3. Bien (as also mieux and mal) is fre- 
quently used adjectivally with vary- 
ing forces : 

(a) Attributively e.g. Un jeune homme 
tres bien, A very proper (decent) 
young man. Me (Nous, Vous, etc.) 
voildt, bien! (ironical) Here's a nice 
state of affairs ! Here's a pretty mess ! 
Well ! I am (we are, you are, etc.) in a 
nice pickle ! 

Et, revenant & pied vers son 
logis, aflame, e*reinte, abasourdi, 
ayant deux francs cinquante en 
poche et une complication de plus 
dans sa vie, Axmand ressassait a 
chaque enjambe"e : Me voila bien, 
moi ! . . . Me voila bien / (L. 

(b) Predicatively. Here the meaning 
may be ' good ', e pretty ', ' kind ', 
* comfortable ', * healthy ', etc. e.g. 
Cette jeune fille est tres bien, mieux que 
sa so3ur, That girl is very good-look- 
ing, better looking than her sister. 
On y est tr&s bien, (e.g. of an hotel) The 
accommodation there is very good, 
They do you very well there, It is very 
comfortable there. Je suis (or me 
trouve) (trls) bien ici, I am (very) com- 
fortable here. Je suis (tres) bien avec 
lui, I am on (very) good terms with 
him. Us sont bien ensemble, They 
get on very well together; also 
They are lovers. Jl est tres bien, 
He is very respectable, or nice, or 
handsome, or well off, or comfortable 

(in a chair, etc.), or good (e.g. in acting 
a rtile), or in good health (= il va tres 
bien, il se porte tres bien}. Je ne me 
sens pas bien, I don't feel well. Ce 
chapeau me semble tr&s bien, That hat 
seems quite all right to me. C'est 
bien (or tres bien, or fort bien) / (a) 
That's right ! (often ironically) ; (b) 
That will do ! C'est bien a vous de 
. . ., (a) It is good of you to ... 
e.g. C'est bien a vous de venir me 
voir, It is good of you to come and 
see me ; (b) (ironical use) It is wrong, 
ridiculous of you to ... e.g. 
C'est bien a vous de reprendre les 
autresf It ill becomes you to find 
fault with others ! 

4. C'est bien fait, (ironical) It serves you 
(him, her, them, etc.) right. 

Georges eut pitie d'elle. Si nous 
nous montrions ? Non, non, mon- 
sieur Georges . . . C'est bien fait 
pour die! (H. DE RJEGNIEB, Les 
Vacances d'un jeune Homme sage). 

Puis j*ai voulu me moquer de moi. 
Je me suis dit : " C'est bien fait ! " 
Mais quoi ! je souffrais, je souffrais 
teUement ! (BINET-VALMEK, ISHon- 
nete Homme). 

5. Tant bien que mal, As well as one can 
(could), so-so, neither well nor ill, after 
a fashion, anyhow, in a perfunctory 
(an offhanded) manner. 

Tant bien que mal, il parvint a 
passer les examens ne*cessaires (R. 
BOLLAKD, Jean-Christophe). 
(B) n.m. 1. Avoir du bien au soleil (or 
Avoir du bien de chez soi), To have 
lands (property) of one's own, to be a 
man of property, to be well-to-do. 

Un garQon etalier fit sa demande 
et fut ^conduit. C'etait pourtant 
un gars superbe, ayant du bien de 
chez lui, et qui songeait a s'&bablir 
(F. COPPEB, La petite Papeti&re). 

2. En tout bien tout honneur, With (the 
most) honourable intentions. 

Je crois qu'une honnete femme 
peut se permettre, en tout bien tout 
honneur, de petites coquetteries 
sans consequence, qui font partie 
de ses devoirs en socie"te (BALZAC, 
Eugenie Orandet). 

3. Eire du dernier bien avec quelqu'un, To 

be on excellent (the most intimate) 
terms with some one. Cp. bien, adv. 3 



II reconnaissait onfin ceux d'entre 
les homines presents qui etaient 
apparemment d% dernier bien avec 
Pauline (A. HEBMANT, Ooutras, 

Men-dire, n.-m. Eire (or Se mdlre) sur son 
bien-dire, To mind one's p's and q's, to 
be on one's best behaviour. 
The phrase is used, lit, of the act or the ability 
of expressing oneself con cctly and elegantly 
Mentflt, adv. 1. A bientdt ? So long 1 
An. elliptical expression denoting that one 
hopes to see a person again soon. 
2. In some familiar uses, bientot, ' soon ', 
has practically the force of 6 quickly 
e.g. B a &u bientdt /ait, It $id not 
take Mm. long. Oela est bientdt dit, 
That is more quickly said than done, 
Mere, n.f. Oe n'est pas de la 'petite bicre, 
It's something like, it's Al, It's no 
easy (small) matter, It's no joke, 
Let petite Iritre is a beer which contoinB little 
alcohol ; cp. tho English phrase * Ho thinks 
no small boor of himself * 

Ah! uials ! les middies ('young- 
sters '), proclama vivemcnt madaine 
Griffon, vous alloz voir, ce rfest pas 
" de la petite bitire ", aujourd'hui ! 
(' To-day is no ordinary day ' or 
'To-day is a rcd-lettor day '). 
Quand vous serez grands, vous vous 
rappellerez la date ! (L. IfRArtffl, Lett 

*biffe, n.f. *1. Trade of rag-picker. 
*2. Infantry e.g. etre dans la bijfe, to bo a 
See biffin.' 

*MfietoJtt, n.m. Ticket (railway, theatre, 
lottery, etc.). 

Lit, 'little rag" (from biff&; see Wffln). 
*biffin, n.m. *1. Bag-picker. 

Ello faisait concurrence aux biffins 
etfomllaitlosjp<?w6eWe^(' dust- bins ') 
(J. H. ROSNY, Dans Us Rues). 
*%, Infantry soldier, foot-slogger. 

Les routes sent toutes les mem OH, 
pour lo biffin (R, DOIWITT^S, e$ 
Croix de JBois). 

From biffe, ' rag ', a meaning ffoinpj hack to 
a sti iped .stuff used from the thirteenth to the 
sixteenth century. This cloth was of special 
quality, and the manufacture ot interior 
imitations resulted in the change of meaning 
of the word. In the nineteenth century biffe 
gave Mffer, "to pick up rags', and biffw t 
*rag-piclcer% and also 'foot-soldier', whose 
knapsack resembles the rag-picker's basket 
(SAlNJfiAlsr, Langage parisien, p. 256). 
bigre I interj. By Jove I By Gad ! Great 
Scott ! By Jingo ! Dash it ! Confound 
it J eg. Bigre / il <y va un peu fort ! 

By Jove ! he's coining it a bit strong ! 
An attenuated form of bbugre, 

Tu n'as pas d'habit (' dross- 
coat ') ? Bigre / C That's a dovil ! ') 
en voila une chose indispcn- 
sablo pourtant (MAXTPASSANT, Bd- 

See commode (Gyp). 

Mgrement, adv. Intensely, awfully, jolly, 
no ond, extremely e.g. //, fa'it bigra- 
mcnt froid, It's devilish cold. Q^est 
higre.mcnt difficile, It's jolly difficult. 
An attenuated form of bougrement 

Jo la trouve . . . voyanto ( e showy *, 
'gaudy'). . . mais bigrement jolie! 
(Cfyr, La Ginyuette), 

Wle n.f. 1. Sa faire dc, la bile* To worry, 
to fret e.g. Ne te fate pas de, bile, 
Don't worry, Take it (or things) easy, 
Easy does it. A quoi bon sc, faire de *la 
bile ? What's the uso of worrying ? 
Sop also faire (B) 4. 

Originally the phrase was ,w faire fl& la, bile, 
noire, 'the black bilo ' (which is t.ho literal 
meaning of 4 melancholy * ; cp. also ' atra- 
bilious*) producing, according to the ancients, 
a depressing and irritating effect on tho 

A votro place, je ??c nwfcrais pets 

de bile! (A. ALLAIS, fj Af/airc 

800 classe (Courtolino), loin 3 

(Willy), raisoli 8 (Arland). 
2. ffcchauffcr la bik, To got angry, to lose 
ono' s tonipoi. JlScJia uffw la b Jle d qucl- 
gu'un, To anger, provoke a person, to 
put some ono in a rago. 
Tho ancientn also bclievod that when tho biln 
was heated it caused anger and bad temper. 
biler, se. To worry, fret (Cp. bile 1) e.g. 
(JVe) Te biU pas / Don't worry ! Take 
things easy ! 

N& te bile $tt(,s y m / ( c Don't worry, 

tako my word for it ! ') c> n'en vaut 

^ucro la peino (H. BATAILLTB, 


Sc^o pelnard (Oaroo). 

MIeux or foilieux, n.m. and adj. Ono who 
worries or frets easily or uselessly, a 
* worrit *. H rfettt pas bileu or (Test 
un pas-bilcux, He's a happy-goluoky 
sort of chap. 

Lit. ' bilious ", by allusion to tho bullcf that 
persons who worry inoren-so tholrttccietloii of 
bilo. See bile 1. 

, 1. Devisser $on biUard, To 
kick tho bucket, peg out, hop the twig* 
LiL 'to unHcrow one's billiard tablo". On 
of innumerable popular euphemisms for * to 
die". See mourlr B. 




25. Passer sur le billard, To be operated 
upon, to be cut open. 
By comparison of the operating table with a 
billiard table. 

*MlIe, n.f. Pace (generally, but not al- 
ways, pejorative), mug, phiz e.g. une \ 
sale bille, an ugly-looking blighter 

L'it. ' ball', 'marble*; by allusion to their 

Monique ne dctestait pas la fan- 
taisie de Briscot et, sous 1'air voyou 
(" caddish '), sa bonne bille ronde (V. 
billet, n.m. *1. Je vous donne (fiche, flan- 
que, fous) mon billet que . . ., Je vous 
en donne (etc.) mon billet, I swear, I'll 
take my davy on it, I'll eat my hat 
if ... 

This phrase is used to affirm energetically, to 
indicate that one is firmly resolved to carry 
out a threat. Probably by allusion to the note 
of hand signed by a person who promises to 
repay a certain loan on a given date. 

Je vous fous mon billet que vous 
serez tous les deux fusilles ce sou* ! 
(C. FARBEBE, Quatorze Histoires de 

Si elle croit en Stre quitte a ce 
prix-la (* If she thinks she is going to 
get off o lightly'), elle se trompe, 
je vous en Jiche mon billet (BBIETJX, 

See fait B 6 (Farrere). 
2. Prendre un billet de parterre, To fall, 
come a cropper. 

Lit, 'to take a ticket for the pit' (m a 
theatre) ; a play on the words 'part&rre, * pit % 
and par terre, * on the ground '. 

Tout le monde, plus ou moins, 
prend a son tour un billet de parterre, 
On compto les fonds de culotte qui 
n'ont pas 1'air de s'etre assis dans la 
neige (J. RICIIEPIN, Le Pave). 
*binaise, n.f. Trick, cunning device, stra- 
tagem e.g. connaUre les binaises, to be 
up to every move, to know the ropes, 
to be up to snuff. 

An abbreviation of eombmaise, a corruption 
of combinaison. 

binette, n.f. Pace, phiz e.g. Sa binette 
ne me souritpas, 1 don't like the cut of 
his jib. 

Probably from bobinette, diminutive of bobine, 

II reasonable a son pere, constata 
Gabriel. Quelle binette I ('What a 
mug ! ') (H. DWEKNOIS, Edgar}. 
birbe, n.m. Old fellow (generally pejora- 
tive), old crock, old fogy, old codger, 

An old argot word, properly ' old beggar ' , 
from the Provencal birbe, * beggar'. 

Le fait est que ce birbe etait tou- 
jours obligeant et gracieux pour les 
nouveaux venus (J. 3. HUYSMAHS, 
Les Sceurs Vatard). 

See berge (Eosny). 
*bMbi, n.m. Penal regiments in Africa 
e.g. aller & biribi, to be sent to one of 
these regiments. 

Part of the task of soldiers in these regiments 
consists in breaking stones on the highway. 
The word probably derives its meaning by a 
comparison of the stones to the nut shells 
used in the game of biribi, practised among 
the Arabs. The old popular refrains, in which 
Xlinbi alternates with Barbari or Barbarie 
(i.e. Barbary in Africa), may also have con- 
tributed (SAlNfiAN, Langage parisi&n. pp. 
149-50, 392-3) % 

Le principe pour 1'adjudant e*tait 
que dans tout homme tombe" au 
regiment il y avait un gibier possible 
de biribi (G. COTJUTELTNE, Le Train 
de 8 h. 47). 

See rabiot 2 (Courteline). 
bisbille, n.f. Squabble, tiff, bickering, fall- 
ing out e.g. Us sont toujours en bisbille, 
They are always bickering, at logger- 
Ifrom the Italian bisbiglio, 'murmur'. 

Mon Dieu ! il s'eleve sou vent dans 
les mena-ges de ces petites bisbilles. 
... On s'echaufie, on s'aigrit; 
comme le disait saint Jerome, on 
fait d'une mouche un elephant (V. 
CIIEKBTJLIEZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

II 6tait toujours en bisbille avec 
Tadministration (G-. DUHAMEL, 
Msc!iOf(f ), n.m. Hot, spiced wine. 

From the German Mschof, 'bishop', this 
drink being of a violet colour like the robes of 

Je ne sais pas pourquoi tu en veux 
d ( c why you have a grudge against ') 
Virginie elle" t'a paye des bischofs, 
l'6te dernier (J. K. HTTYSMANS, Les 

bise, n.f. Kiss. 
*blsenesse or bisness, n.m. laire son bis(e)- 
nes(se) t To ply one's trade. 
Especially used of, and among, prostitutes, 
in the sense of * to walk the streets * ; an 
adaptation of the English word. 
biser, vb. tr. To Mss. 
bisquant, adj. Provoking, annoying, ril- 
ing. Prom bisquer. 

bisquer, vb. Mr. To be vexed, to be riled 
e.g. Qa lefera bisquer, That will rile 



Mm, will get his goat. Bisque, bisque, 
rage/ (school slang) There's having 
yon ! Have you ever been had ! 
frrom the Provencal bisect, ('to be wild*), 
the equivalent of the old phrase, still heard, 
prendre la cHm&, * to fly into a rage ', ' to get 
one's monkey up " (cp. ' to get one's goat ') 
un allusion to the fiery disposition of goats 
(S-AiNflAN, Langaye parisien, pp. 78-9). 

Je sais Men qu'ils ne peuvent pas 
nous souffrir ('they cannot stand 
us '), mais 9a m' amuse de les voir 
bisguer (L. BESCAVES, La Teigne). 

Hein ? est-il assez nitide, mon 
costume ? N'est-ce pas qu'au bal 
do la comtesse N. je ferai bisguer los 
autres femmes ? (A. F&ANCE, M. 

*bistou11Ie, n.f. *1. Mixture of spirits and 


*2. Bad spirits. 

*3. Tales, lies e.g. De la bistouille, tout $a / 
That's all rot, rubbish, bosb ! 
A loan word from the Picard dialect. Bis- 
tromlle is also found. 

Jacques reprit do sa yoix apre qu 1 
alourdissait la trainerie du voyou 
(' street-arab ') : Tout $a c'est de la 
bistrouille, . . . Je pars apres de- 
main (J. H. BOSKY, Dans les Hues), 
*bistro(t), n.m. *1. Public-house, wine- 

*2. Pub-keeper, landlord of wine-shop. 
Of provincial origin : in Anjou and Poitou the 
word denotes a young servant whose duty it 
is to look after the cattle in the fields. It 
probably designated at nrst the assistant 
of the landlord of a wine-shop, and then the 
landlord himself (SAiNfiAN, Latigag pa/rision, 
p. 2C8). 

1. Ces homines jeunes qui vaguent 
autour du cafe-concert, du cinema, 
du bistro et du bar (J. H. ROSNY, 
Dans les Hues). 

See perroquet (Rosny). 

2. Mais je ne suis pas poeto . . . 
je suis bistro : il y a une paille / (' a 
mere trifle of a difference ' (ironical) ) 
(1?. CABCO, Scenes de la Vie de Mont- 
mar tre). 

See croustiller (Lavcdan). 
*biture or Mtture, n.f. *1. Intoxication, 
booze e.g. prendre (or seflanquer) une 
Uture, to get drunk, to booze. 

Jo viens & regretter ma mentalite 
d'autrefois, quand je jouais au 
poker avec POgre, avant do te con- 
naitre, et quand jo noyais mes 
chagrins dans des " bitures " (M. 
HAERY, La divine Chanson). 

*2. Prendre (or Se donner) une biture de 
quelque chose, To have one's fill of any- 

In nautical laniguage biture, 'bitter end", 
is the name given to that part of a cable 
which is left round the bitts and unwinds 
freely of its own accord after the anchor has 
been thrown overboard. Thus the word 
implies sufficiency or abundance and canie to 
denote among sailors an abundant amount of 
drink. The term has passed into popular 
speech, and in some provinces also means a 
square meal or a great qimnfcity of lood 
(SAlNfiAN", LangagQ parisi&n, p. 1(J5). 
*blturer. *1. vb. tr. and mtr. To drink 

copiously ; to make drunk. 
*2. JSe biturer, To indulge in a Mture, to get 

drunk, boozed. 

Waekbouler, vb, tr. 1. Not to elect a can- 
didate (at elections, clubs, etc.) e.g. 
II s'est fait blackbouler aux elections, 
He was not returned at the elections. 
2. To pluck, plough, at an examination- 
e.g. 21 tfest fait encore blackbouler an 
bachot, He's been ploughed again at 
the * bachot '. 

A hybrid from the French boula and English 
* black '. The word has a wider rungo 
than * to blackball', and is used above 
all in reference to unroturucd candidates at 
elections. The allusion is to the black ball 
used to indicate the rejection of a candidate 
in a ballot. 

blague, n.f. I. Lie, false story, humbug, 
fib, piffle, bung, flam e.g. racontcr 
dcs blagues, to toll lies. Gonter des 
blagues, To kid. Quelle blague ! What 
bosh ! Bot ! Nonsense ! Des blagues, 
tout ga / That's all rot ! Mague a 
part I or Blague dans le coin / or 8 aw 
blague! Joking apart (aside) ! I'm not 
joking ! Honest injun ! No kid ! ,dU~ 
Ions, blague dans le coin! Come on 
now, don't talk rot ! Stop being 
funny ! Pas de blagues, hcin ! Come 
oil the bird-lime ! G'est pas de 
blague / It's no gammon ! Non f santi 
blague? No, really? No, honest? 
Honest injun ? 

Oh ! tu pourras me raconter des 

blagues, domain . . . jo wiis bien 

forcco de to croire I (C. II. Hiuson, 

Ninl Cfodache). 
Je ne vous croyais paB si moral ! 

Non ? blague a part f (L. IfiiAPilis, Les 

Quol age me donnoz-vous, blague 

dans le coin? (H. JDuvEiiNOis, 

Mais je vous assure gue j'ctais mal- 

houreux, co jour-la. Quelle blague / 



J'aurais Men voulu que ce fut une 
blague ! (F. DE CBOISSET, Ne dites 
pas Fontaine . . .). 
See 6meri (Hirsch). 

2, Facility in telling lies, etc., the gift of 

the gab. 

3. Joke, trick, hoax, wheeze e.g.faireune 

blague a quelqu'un, to fool some one, to 
gammon, to stuff a person. II fait ton- 
jours des blagues, He's always up to all 
sorts of tricks. Une bonne blague , A 
good joke, story. La bonne blague! 
What a joke ! Une mauvaise blague, 
A bad trick, ill-natured joke. 

II faisait des blagues aux copains 
(' pals ') (G. COTJBTELINE, Les Gai- 

II avait achet6 ces terrains dans 
1'espoir qu'ils seraient expropries. 
Expropries ? Par qui ? Par le 
chomin de f er. Quelle bonne blague I 
C'etait le chemin de fer qui les ven- 
dait (H. BECQTTE, Les Corbeaux). 

On pre"tend qti'il n'y a plus 
d'esclavage. . . . Ah! voila une 
bonne blague, par exemple (' and no 
mistake ') (0. MTRBEACT, Le Journal 
d'une Femme de Chambre). 

Y a temps pour tout, petit ! . . . 
Jamais meler la blague au s6rieux, ni 
le serieux & la blague (C. H. HIKSCH, 
" Petit " Louis, Boxeur}. 
The word Hague comes from the Limou- 
sin blagou, * gossip*, corresponding to the 
Languedoc word bagoul, with the same mean- 
ing. Balzac wrote : " Ce mot bagou qui 
d<5signait autrefoisl' esprit de repartie stfireo- 
typ6e, a e*t6 de'trtoe' par lo mot blague." 
Originally current in military speech at the 
beginning of the nineteenth century in the 
sense of '"brag ', the word very quickly caught 
on and was admitted by the Acadtmie in 
1878. It now denotes a joke with a strong 
sceptical or ironical element, and characterises 
above all the glibness of journalists and the 
spirit behind the wit of the boulevards 
(SAiNisAN, Langage parisien, pp. 79-80). 
blaguer. 1. vb. intr. To tell lies, to talk 
nonsense, not to be earnest, to draw 
the long bow, to boast, to joke, to 

Jo blague, mais je suis au fond 
tres serieux (GYP, Les Froussards}. 
See couleur 4 (Zola), fois 5 (c) (Du- 

2. vb. tr. To tease, kid, hoax, quiz, pull 
one's leg e.g. Je vais le blaguer la- 
dessus, I'll quiz him about it. Can 
also be applied to things. 

L'auteur y traitait Dieu sans f aeon 

( c without ceremony '), " blaguait " 
1' edifice social, et se plaignait 
amerement d'une personne nomme'e 
Rosette (F. COPPEE, Un Mot 

blagueur, n.m. and adj. A person fond 
of blague, wag, joker, story-teller, 
boaster, humbug, scoffer. 
See titi (Maupassant). 
*blair, n.m. Boko, smeller, conk, and, by 
extension, face, head, mug. 
Abbreviation of blaireau, n.m., * badger*. 

Pan ! ( e bang ! ') dans Foail & la 
douairiere. . . . Pan ! sur le blair 
a la duchesse (A. SALMON, C'est une 
belle Fille /). 

Wane. (A) adj. II n'est pas blanc, or, 
more popularly, Je ne le wis pas 
blanc, He is not innocent, He runs the 
risk of being caught or condemned, 
He is liable to be ' wanted % He's in 
for it. 

By allusion to the fact that white is considered 
trie symbol of innocence ; cp. II est sorti de 
cette affair& blanc comme neige. 

Mon vieux, je ne te vois pas blanc / 
s'ecria Favieres. Mais Edeline, tout 
de suite, protesta (L. DESCAVES, 

Deux morts en deux jours sous la 
seringue. Je ne les vois pas blancs ! 
(' They (i.e. the doctors at a clinical 
hospital) are in for it ! ') (COLETTE, 
La Fin de Oheri). 

(B) n.m. 1. Eegarder quelqu'un dans le 
blanc des yeux, To look one straight 
(full) in the face, fixedly. 
Lit. ' in the white of the eye '. 

Le colonel Bertrand regarda son 
adjoint dans le blanc des yeux (H. 
BORDEAUX, Le SoupQon du Colonel). 

2. Jtougir jusqu'au blanc des yeux, To 

blush to the eyes. 

3. JSe manger le blanc des yeux e.g. Us 

(Elles) se sont mange le blanc des yeux, 
They had a furious quarrel. 
Lit. ' to eat each other's white of the eye * ; 
probably by allusion to the fact that the 
lower classes in their quarrels usually bring 
their faces close together and give the 
impression that they would like to ' eat ' one 

b!6, n.m. Manger son bU en herbe, To 
anticipate one's revenue, to spend one's 
income in advance, to eat the calf in the 
cow's belly. 

By allusion to the farmer who, through 
necessity or extravagance, sells his corn 
before it is ripe; when It is still en herbe, 
in order to procure the money he wants. 




bleu. (A) adj. 1. Astounded, flabber- 
gasted e.g. J'en suis tout bleu / Well, 
I am surprised ! 

2. En faire voir de bleues d quelqu'un 
e.g. II nfen a fait voir de bleues> Ho 
flabbergasted me or He quite upset ino. 
The word chows is understood. 
(B) n.m. I. Un bleu t Young inexperi- 
enced soldier, recruit, rookie ; by ex- 
tension, a raw hand of any kind, a 
Johnny Raw. Les bleus, Rookies, 
cruties. Me prends-tu pour un bleu ? 
(fig.) Do you see any green in my eye ? 
N'&re plus un bleu, (Jig.) To have cut 
one's eye-teeth. 

Probably by allusion to the blue uniforms 
which, at the time of the Kevolution, replaced 
the white. The lloyalist troops in the "Vend6o 
called the Republican soldiers Ins bleus, while 
they themselves were known as las blancs. 

Conrad, tais-toi, ordonna le cap- 
oral, tu sais Men quo maintenant 
Us bleus ne doivent plus payer a 
boire aux anciens (P. ACKER, Le 
iSoldat Bernard}. 

See lasear (Cotirtelme). 
2. Blue mark left by a blow, a bruise. 

Jo suis sure quo j'ai des bleus sur 
tout le corps (* that 1 am one mass of 
bruises ') (0., Le Porte- 

3. Gros bleu, (very dark) coarse red wine, 
as opposed to petit bleu, light red wine. 

4. Un petit bleu, Express letter sent in 
Paris (in a blue envelope). 

C'est moi, tu m'attendais ? Oui, 
j'ai trouve ton petit bleu en arrivant 
(M. DONITAY, L'AffrancMe). 

5. Passer cm, bleu, (a) To conceal, hide, 
juggle away, contrive to keep secret ; 
(b) Not to be known, not to leak out 
e.g. II esp&re gue $a> passera au bleu, 
He hopes nobody will bo the wiser for 

Lit. ' to blue ' ; treat with laundress's blue. 
Madame Boche etaib tres maline 
sur ce chapitre ( 6 on this subject '), 
parce que Boche lui f aisait passer au 
bleu des pieces de dix francs (QLA, 

*bleue, %./. Absinthe e.g. prendre la 
bleue, to drink an absinthe. 

C'est ma tournee ('It's my shout '). 
J' off re une " bleue ". Et ils ontre- 
ront tous les trois dans le bar (F. 
CoPKfsu, Les deux Communions). 

adj. Very drunk, tight, well 

Lit. 'plated', 'iron-clad'; according to 
popular belief when a man is drunk he is 
proof against illness or disease. 
bloc, n.m. Prison, quod, clink e.g. 
Mettre (Fourrer) qtufilqtfun au bloc, To 
put one in the clink, to clap a person in 
jail, to run one in. 

Military slang which has passed into familiar 
speech ; from a special use of the word Mot- 
to denote a kind of stocks to which the feet 
of slaves in the colonies wore attached by way 
of punishment. 

On lui flan gua qmnzo jours de bloc. 
(* He was given a fortnight's C.B.') 
et on lui retira ses galons (P. 
COFFEE, La vieille Tunique). 

Ma situation, ponsa-t-il, est ana- 
logue a cello du reporter qui so 
traveslit on malandrin et so fait 
fourrer au bloc par curiosilo (A. 
HISEMANT, Cadet de 

*blot, n.m. Business, affair, piece of work 
or anything which sxiits a certain per- 
son -e.g. Qn c'eM mon blot. That's my 
business, I '11 attend to that. C'est pas 
ton blot, Mind your own business. Qa- 
fait mon blot, That just suits ino, 
An old Argot word denoting * price ', ' transac- 
tion'; Old French bloc, 'price* (SAiNfiAN, 
LesSourctWftfll'Arffotanm'n, FI, pp. ^2"2, 200), 
Oh ! voila uno table qui /era notre 
blot: insbillons-notis (P. VEBKII, 
Les Men treat). 
bloum, n.m. Opera hat. 

Blown ' in Anjou is an imitative word ex- 
pressing the niullled sound of a fall or shock, 
and (like the other word for opora-hat 
claque) is used with this meaning in Pann 
by allusion to the sound made by tho spring 
when this kind of hat IH opened (HAWsfeAK, 
Langago parisien, p. 356). 
Wouser. 1. Blou8erque1qu,'un,To 
mislead, deceive a person. 
'From tho game of billiards, In which blouse r 
(la, bille de) son (tdwrsdira niean,s * to pocket 
one's opponent's ball*, a stroke which results 
in additional points. 

2. Se blouser, To bo wrong, to make a. 
blunder, a bad shot-~-o.g. 11 tfcM 
blouse , He's in tho wrong box, He's 
made a bloomer. 

Se bloitfi&r ia 'to pocket one's own ball*, a 
stroke which entails the loss of points. 

Au lion do cola, il contimia de sc 

blous&r, on attribuant a GisotU) Rculo 

dos intentions aur Plambocho, ot 

sans pouvoir arrivor d'ailloura a 

domt k lor quellea 6taicnt COB inten- 

tions (J. RiCHMrtK, Mamboche). 

*bobard, n.m,. Humbug, lie, rot, bosh, 

tommy rot, gas e.g. Tout $a, c*e$t des 

bobards f That's all rot, bosh. Ne me 



raconte pas de bobards, Come ofi the 
"bird-lime. Envoyer des bobards, To 
tell lies, talk rot. 

Originates in the provincial (Maine) adjective 
bobard, 'silly *, ' foolish ' ; at first propos 
bobard was used, and then bobard alone. 
The lorce of the word is very similar to that 
of bomment (SAINT^AN, Langage yansien, 
p 535). 

Tout $a, c'est des bobards. On 
nous Va trop fait (* They've done it 
on us too often ') (H. BABBUSSE, Le 

*Bobeche, proper name. Chez Bobeche / or 
Chez Bobeche ? is a stock interjection or 
query expressing mockery, incredulity, 
irony or refusal : Never ! How, when, 
where ? 

From the nickname of a famous clown who 
lived at the time of the Empire and Restaura- 
tion. The word Is also used with the meaning 
of * clown ' , ' bulloon '. 

*bobeehon, n.m. Head, nut e.g. Monter 
le bobechon a quelgu'un, To work upon a 
person, to poison a person's mind. Se 
monter le bobechon, To be enthusiastic, 
to kid ' oneself. Cp. bourriehon, and 
tete 18 and 23. 
Lit. ' small bobdche or sconce '. 
bobine, n.f. Face, phiz, dial, mug e.g. 
Tu es malade, il faut U soigner : tu as 
une sale bobine, You are ill, you must 
take caro of yourself : you look de- 
cidedly rotten. 

Lit. " reel ', ' bobbin ',* * spool * ; by allusion 
to its roundness. 

Et je vous garantis c^ue cet 
homme-1^ n'a jamais ete a rScole 
. . . car autrement je connaitrais au 
moins sa bobine ! (GYP, Miche). 
bobo, n.m. Harm, pain, sore, slight ail- 
ment e.g. Gela fait bobo, It hurts, it 
is aching. Avoir bobo or un or 
6060, To feel a pain somewhere. 
Primarily a childish imitative word, but 
also xised in familiar speech with the sense of 
"slight pain or ailment*, 

Mon vieux concierge, M. Dcbout, 
a du bobo au pied, le gauche (H. 
LAVEJDAN, Nocturnes). 
bobonne, n,j. Servant-maid, slavey, 

From bonne, 'servant*, 'nurse'; the form 

of the word, with its reduplication o the 

first syllable, shows that It originates in 

child's language. See note to fifille. 

See tourlourou (Kichepin). 

boche, n.m. and adj. German. 

Much has been written concerning the origin of 
this word. It seems to have appeared for the 
first time about I860, and was originally 
restricted to the world of galantenein which it 
was used to denote ' a refractory young man ' 


one not easy to deal with (as opposed to muche, 
f a polite and amiable young man ') . It was a 
Parisian abbreviation of caboche, ' hard head '. 
Then it passed into the language of Parisian 
printers, who applied the name of Ut& de boohe 
to workers in the printing trade of German 
or Memish origin, because of their difficulty 
in understanding the orders given them. 
Later, among workmen generally, Ut& de 
boche, by abbreviation and by analogy with 
its synonym tSte carrte d'Allemand (i.e. a 
German or Alsatian), became bocJie, applied to 
all Germans. In military and popular speech, 
from the beginning of the War, the name 
of Boche became the general appellation 
for German; but whereas previously it had 
been merely a familiar ironic nickname, it 
now took on the character of a vile stigma, 
and will probably never be effaced from the 
language. It naturally produced innumer- 
able derivatives e.g. bocherie or bochonnerie, 
German cruelty ; Bochie or Bochonnie, 
Germany; bochisant, adj., Germanophile ; 
bochiser, vb. tr., to Germanise, to spy; 
bochisme, German ideas or customs, Kultur 
(SAlNfiAN, Langage parisien, pp. 532-3; 
Argot des Tranches, pp. 9-13, 134-5). 

See bath (Dorgeles), gradailie (Bar- 

bock, n.m. Beer -glass or glass of beer. 
From the German Bock, 'goat', in the 
word Bockbier, the name of a kind of beer. 
bceuf, adj. inv. In certain familiar ex- 
pressions b&uf is used with the force 
of ' big ', c enormous ', and the ex- 
tended meaning of c beautiful % 
* astonishing ', ' striking ', * extraor- 
dinary % ' stunning ' e.g. Un succes 
bozuf, An enormous success. Avoir 
un aplomb (or un toupet) bceuf. To 
have colossal cheek. Qa faisait un 
effet bceuf, It was simply gorgeous, 

Mais son aplomb bceuf lui permit 
defaire bonne contenance (* to put a 
good face on the matter') (Gyr, 

bois, n.m. 1. Alter (Faire un tour} au 
Bois, To go (for a walk, drive) in the 
bois de Boulogne in Paris. 

See audace (Willy), bal(l)ader 
(Willy), lane< 2 (Capus). 

2. Etre du bois dont on fait les flutes, To be 
of an. easy, pliable disposition, to be 
easily got over, to have no decided 
opinions of one's own e.g. II est du 
bois dont on fait les flutes, You can turn 
him round whichever way you like. 
Lit. ' to be like the wood of which flutes are 
made* by allusion to the lightness and 
hollowness of the woods used in the manu- 
facture of these instruments. 

3. Etre dans ses bois, To have one's own 
furniture, not to live in lodgings. Se 



mettre dans ses bois, To furnish one's 
rooms oneself. 
Cp. meubles. 

4. II lui a youssi du bois, is said of a 
husband whose wife is deceiving him, 
Lit. * his horns are sprouting * ; by allusion to 
Us bois f 'horns', 'antlers* ot a stag (so- 
called because they are like branches). Cp. 
porter des cornes. 

5. Les bois de justice, * Journalese * for the 


C. Ne pas se chauffer du meme bois e.g. 
Nous ne nous chauffons pas du meme 
bois, We are not of the same kidney, 
we have nothing in common. 
Lit, 'not to warm oneself with tho same 
firewood ' . 

7. Ne (plus) savoir de quel bois faire fl&c 

e.g. 11 ne savait (plus) de quel bois 
faire fl&che, Ho did not know which 
way to turn, Ho was at his wits' end. 
Lit. * not to know with which wood to make 
an arrow ' ; by allusion to the fact that such 
wood must have special qualities. See fl6che. 

8. On n'est pas de bois, a stock phrase 
denoting that tho claims of sex cannot 
be gainsaid. 

9. Voir de quel bois on se chauffe e.g. On 
verra de quel boisje me chauffe, (threat) 
They will see what (tho sort of) stuff 
(metal) I am made of, I'll show them 
the sort of man I am. Cp. 6. 

This expression goes back to the sixteenth 
century when De qu&lbois wits cliauffez-mus f 
was commonly used for Que faites-wus ? 

AEons, debout, faineant, je vais 
t'apprendre de quel boisje me chauffe 
(EBOKMAN3ST-OHATBIAN, Eistoife d'un 
Consent de 1813). 

boite, n.f. 1. Any place where one works, 
to which one belongs. "When unde- 
fined the word usually has a disparag- 
ing sense e.g. C'est une bolte / It's a 
regular hole ! Quelle boUe I What a 
beastly hole. Cp. boutique. 

Je 1'ai retrouvee voili^ six n\ois, ot 
elle m'avait demando de venir chez 
elle, vu qu'elle avait loue une boUe 
deux f ois trop grande (MAUPASSANT, 

L' absinthe du caf6 Barbotto est 
excellence et puis, l&-bas, a la botte, 
vous no serez pas trop mal. La 
botte, c'etait le college (A. DAUDBT, 
Le petit Chose). 

*2. (Military slang.) Guardroom, clink, 
C.B. e.g. Je vais vous flanquer & la 
bofae, I'll put you in clink. Ooucher 
d la boite or Boulotter (Ramasser) de la 
bofae, To be confined to the guard 

room. La grosse boite, Prison. Cp. 
caisse 1. 

Quant a co drole, des qu'il 
rontrora vous me le fla-nquerez a la 
boite (Gr. COTTRTELINE, Lcs Gaietes 
de FUscadron). 

See true 4 (Courtelmc). 
*3. Mouth, 6 trap '- e.g. Ferm,e ta boite / 
IShut up ! Dry up ! 

4. Place of amusement, * show ' e.g. /cv? 
boltes de Montmartre. 

Mipesco, il carotte ('pinches') 
dos cigaxes aux Am6ricains ot aux 
hdpitaux pour les revondro dans les 
boltes de nuit (COLETTE, La J?m de 

5. Avoir I'air de (or Semblcr) sortir d'une 

boite., To look as if one had just como 
out of a band-box, to bo neatly 
dressed, spruce, or (ironically) to bo 
stiff and starched. 

bombance, n.f. Good cheer, plenty. 
Faire bombance, To make good cheer, 
to junket. 
From Old French bobance, ' pride *, ' pomp ', 

bombardier, vb. tr. To appoint, nominate 
(usually with tho idea of surprise or 
unexpectedness) -e.g. 21 vient d'etre 
bombarde prcfet, He has just been sud- 
denly appointed a prvfet,., ho has just 
been pitchforked into a prefecture (over 
the heads of more deserving people). 

Car je bombarderais & Fins taut, 
si je lo pouvais, Tristan Bernard 
academicien (GYi*, Ceux gui s^en 


bombe. 1. n.f. (a) Spree, binge, bust, 
* do ' e.g. faire la bombe, to live a fast 
(hectic) life, to go on the razzlo, on tho 
spree. Etre en bom be, To bo on tho 
spree. Sfoffrif une vraie bombe. To 
have a rogulai* (rare old) boano. 
A military abbreviation of borobanoe, 

II paratt qu'un soir de reveillon, 
il y a deux ans, iU ont fait dans son 
atelier une de ces bombes ! (V. 
MAEQUTSRITIE, La Gar$onn&). 

(b) Gare la bombe / Look out ! Take care I 
Lit. ' Beware of the bomb 1 * 

(c) HJntrer en bombe = JUntrer en coup de 
vent ; see coup 50. 

bon, (A) adj. 1. Bon, I inter j. may 
express not only approval, but also 
doubt, disappointment, surprise, in- 
credulity :Good ! Beally ! Well, 
1 never ! 




Mais, quand elle 6ta de devant le 
maitre son assiette sale chargee d'os 
de pore, sa main la laissa glisser 
jusqu'aterre. . . . Ah/bon/gion- 
da, sans plus, an fracas de 1'assiette, 
M. de Bradieu (E. BATJMAIOST, La 
Fosse aux Lions). 

2. C'est bon I inter j. may express not only 
approval, satisfaction : Very well !, 
but also disapproval, threat : That 
will do ! 

3. Oela est bon a dire, That is easy to say 
(but not to do). 

4. En faire (dire, avoir) de bonnes, To do 

or say amusing, peculiar, surprising 

things e.g. II m'en a dit de bonnes/ 

He told me some tall tales ! Ah ! vous 

en avez de bonnes ! Well, you can spin 

'em ! 

A fern, plur, word like choses or Mstoires is 


5. En voila une bonne ! or G'en est une bien 
bonne/ or Elle est (bien) bonne (,celle-la) / 
That's a good story (or trick) ! What 
a good joke ! That's a good 'un, that 
is ! I like that ! Well, that's the limit ! 
That's rather a tall story ! II m'en 
arrive une bien bonne / A nice thing 
has happened to me ! II vous en garde 
une bonne! He is keeping a rod in 
pickle for you ! 

A word like histoire or plaisanterie is under- 

Mais voili 1'erreur ! C'est moi 
qui herite ! Vous ? Tout seul. 
Oh ! celle-la est bonne f par exemple 
. . . elle est trop bonne / (V. S ABBOTT, 
Les Femmes fortes). 

Qo, me rappelle que lorsque j'avais 
precisement cet age, il m'en arriva 
une bien bonne, qui vaut la peine 
d'etre raeonte"e (M. ZAMACOIS, En 

6. Avoir quelqu'un a la bonne, To be well 
disposed towards a person, to love, 
like, be sweet on a person. 

Apr is qui en avait-elle ? ( c Against 
whom did she have a grudge ? '). 
Apres moi, surement . . . elle ne 
doit pas m* avoir a la bonne (' she has 
no cause to be well disposed to- 
wards me ') (M. DONNAY, Education 
de Prince). 

(B) adv. 1. II fait bon id, It is very 
snug (comfortable, pleasant, nice) here. 
2. II ne fait pas bon de . . ., It is rather 
dangerous to ... 

3. Tenir bon, To resist, hold out or on, 
hang on. 

4. Tout de bon, or, familiarly, Pour (tout) 
de bon, In real earnest, seriously, 
really, for good and all. 

Est-ce que tu 1'as renvoyee pour 
tout de bon ? dit-il enfin (FLAUBERT, 
Madame Bovary). 

See se toquer (Farrere). 
(0) n.m. 1. Mon bon/ Ma bonne/ 
familiar term of endearment between 
friends or married people : My dear ! 
My dear chap ! My good fellow ! 
Elliptical for Mon bon ami, Ma bonne amie. 

2. Avoir du bon (of things or persons), To 
have good points e.g. II a du bon, He 
has some good qualities, some good 
stuff in him. 

3. C'est du bon / That's good stuff ! 
That's the stuff. II y a du bon / may 
denote that all goes well : Fine !, or 
that there is some advantage, profit : 
There's something doing ! 

bond, n.m. Faire faux bond (a quelqu'un), 
To disappoint, to fail in one's promise 
to, to fail to keep an appointment, not 
to show up, to let some one down. 
3?rom the game of tennis, in which the ball is 
said to faire faux bond when it rebounds 
obliquely from the ground. 

II ne songe pas une minute a 
observer le reglement qui lui 
defendant de quitter la garnison : 
pouvait-il faire faux bond a Mme 
Durosoir qui 1'attendait impasse 
Marceau ? (A. HERMANT, Coutras, 

Si vous voulez danser avec moi 
cette polka, je ferai faux bond au t 
cavalier ('partner') qui me 1'a de- 
mandee (V. CHERBTJLIEZ, Miss 

See chamade (Huysmans). 
foond6, adj. Chock-full, crammed e.g. 
une salle bondee de spectateurs. 
Lit. 'full to the bung' (bonde). 
*bondieu, inter j. This inter j. is sometimes 
used adjectivally in the sense of ' bad ', 
* rotten ', * vile * e.g. Quel bondieu de 
m&tier (de temps) / What a rotten trade 
(rotten weather) ! Quel bondieu d'im- 
becile / What a bally fool ! 
*bond!eusard, n.m. and adj. (Disparaging) 
Bigot, church-goer, church-going, mir- 
acle-monger; dealer in articles used 
for church- worship. 

*bondieuserie, n.f. (Disparaging) Any- 
thing (whether in the way of ritual or 




ornament) connected with or used for 
religion or worship. 

Elle mo deplait maintenaxit, ma 
Nativity ot j'y ronozicc . , . la 
bondieuserie, ce n'est deeidement pas 
dans mes cordes ( c m my line') (F. 
COPP&E, Le Tableau d'jUglise). 
Jjonheiir., n.m. 1. Au petit bonheur / I'll 
risk it I I'll chance it ! Hero goes ! 

Ce potage sent 1'arsonic. Voulez- 
vous que je le goute ? Non, resto 
tranquille ; au petit bonheur, apres 
tout (E. BAUMANN, La Fosse auos 

2, J?aire quelque chose au petit bonheur, To 

do something anyhow, without think- 
ing, at a venture, in a happy-go-lucky 

JjQ plus sage serait do n'y point 
songer et de laisser aller les choses 
au petit bonheur (0. MTOBEAXT, Le 
Journal d^une Jemme de Ghambre). 

3. Jouer de bonheur, To be lucky, in luck, 

to be a lucky follow (at gambling or 
foonhomme, n.m. *1. Soldier. 

This synonym foi po!lu belongs to inilifcjiiy 
filani? ; the plural in this sense of the word is 

Un bonhomme d'uno autro oom- 
pagnie so promenait dans la trail - 
cn6e (H, BARBUSSE, Le Feu). 

2. Jacques Bonhomme, nickname for tho 
French peasant. 

Tins nickname was llrst. applied by the 
soldiers of tho fourteenth and flttoenth 
centuries to tho peasants, whom they piti- 
lessly plundered. 

3. Aller (or Jfaire) son petit bonhomme de 

chemin, To do anything without heed- 
ing interruptions or hindrances, to 
toddle along, to jog quietly along, to 
jog-trot along, to rub along, to go ono's 
own little way. 

A 1'aiuiliar and playful variant o the phrase 
faire son chetnin, 'to get on in tho world', 
and usually applied to a man who quietly 
but surely attains his ends. It may also be 
said of things, 

II n'y a qu'& suivre son petit bon- 
homme de dmnin, ne rien changer 
ii!i ses habitudes, s'onfermcr quand 
arrive le coup de balai (J. EiCiiEp 

Et voila . . . Tout va son petit 
bonhomme de chemin, sans moi, tout 
ausai Men (BEIETJX, Le Bourgeois 
aux Champs). 

boni, n.m. Benefit, profit, surplus, re- 
mainder, bonus. 

Fi om tho Latin genitive boni, in the expression 
aliijind boni, ' something good'. The word 
denotes piinianly any surplus over expenses 
allowed tor, and then, by extension was 
applied to any profit. 

II reilechit quo les ropas dn matin 
ci.ant do vingt-doxix sons, au lieu de 
tronto quo coutaicnt ceux du soir, il 
lui rostorait, en so contontant de 
dejounors, uri franc vingt centimes 
do ^o?? i (MAtirASS ANT, Bel-Ami). 
bonlche, n.f. Young niaid-servant, 

A playful deformation of bonne t 'servant- 

girl ', perhaps suggested by camche, ' poodle ', 

Tr6s peu de temps s'ccoulo et la 

honichc reparait, annoncant quo ^Son 

Excellence vient d'arrivor (WiLLY, 

Jeusc de Princes). 

boniment, n.m. Lies, deceitful talk or 
reasoning, clap-trap, cajolery, eye- 
wash e.g. raconter des boniments a 
qwlqw'un, to kid a person, to pitch one 
the tale. iSortlr un drdle de boniment 9 
To come out with a queer argument. 
Ifaire du boniment a quelqu'un, To try 
to coax a person by cajoling talk 
e.g. faire du boniment d, ivne famine , to 
make love to a woman, to t(dl her tho 

This word (often qualified in popular speech 
by an additional phrase like d la noir (dv 
coco), d la grdiuati (d'oiii), d l<t manque- ^ d Id 
vme>dRpain) coinoH from IMHIT or hownr, ' to 
Hay', * to Bpoak ', properly "to tell good 
stories', and originally designated the lonw 
pulling Hpeech made by inountehanlvs and 
lalr-lolk in order to attraet tho puhlie, Tlien 
tho word was adopted by popuhu' spreeh 
with tho Corce of atti'ul talk intiiuU'd to 
convince, or persuade, wueh as that of eaiidi- 
H at elect ionH (SAIN^AV, Laiy/ayo />//'/, 

pp. 251-2). 

On pout pas s'en dopetror (Ui 
( c got rid of ') cette boimo femme- 
l&j I J'y serais encore, wi jo Taurais 
econt6e. Ello vous tiont deM boni- 
menial ('What yarns she spins ! ') 
(0. H. Hi use if, Nini (Hod ache), 

Vous no Hongex pas qu'avoe un 
boniment, vous allo%, eomine v^ 
avant lo dejotiner mo fairo cracker 
(' fork out ') la forte Hoinino pour 
une cGuvre de charito ! All ! non ! 
(0. MiEBEAtr, Le Jfoyer). 

Soo cuistance (Benjamin). 
bonne, n.f. Une bonne d tout Jaire, A 

maid of all work, a c general '. 
bonnet, n.m. 1. C'ext bonnet blane et blanc 
bonnet, It's six of one and half a dozen 
of tho other., It's tweedledum and 



tweedledee, It's much of a muchness, 
It's as broad as it is long. 
This expression arose at the time when the 
position of adjectives of colour was less fixed 
than it is now, and bonnet blanc or blanc 
bonnet could be used indifferently and meant 
exactly the same thing. 
See kif-kif (France). 

2. Jeter son bonnet par-dessus Us moulins, 
To throw off all restraint, all sense of 
propriety, to take the plunge, not to 
care for the consequences. 

Lit. 'to throw one's cap over the mills'. 
This phrase has a curious origin. Formerly 
the person telling a fairy-tale to children 
would end his story with Je jetai mon bonnet 
par-dessus les moulins, meaning ' I do not 
know what became of it all', just as one 
says now n ... i, ni, c'est fini, implying 
that one neither remembered nor cared what 
happened subsequently. This led to the idea 
of indifference to public opinion, an exten- 
sion In meaning helped by the fact that, since 
the seventeenth century, old mills had been 
turned into haunts of pleasure ; and as these 
were frequented by women as well as by men, 
it is not surprising that the phrase was used 
particularly of women of easy virtue, and is 
still usually said of women (Robert, Phrase- 
ologie, pp. 134-5). 

"Elle a vingt tentations de jeter son 

bonnet par-dessus les moulins (E. 

ABOUT, Les cinq Perles). 

3. Mettre son bonnet de travers e.g. 11 a 
mis son bonnet de travers, He is in a 
very bad temper, He got out of bed 
the wrong side. 

Lit. * to set one's cap awry '. Cp. mettre son 
chapeau de travers, * to adopt a provoking or 
defiant attitude'. 

4. Opiner du bonnet, To nod assent, to 

agree with the previous speaker with- 
out stating one's reasons. 
The bonnet was, and still is, the head- 
gear of certain dignitaries doctors, judges, 
barristers, bishops, etc. When such gros 
bonnets (see 7) were in council and the 
president put a resolution to the vote, it was 
the custom to raise the bonnet to signify 
assent* Hence the above meaning of opiner 
du bonnet, which is also said of a person with 
no decided opinions of his own, or of a subor- 
dinate who always agrees with his superior. 

5. Avoir le bonnet prs de Voreille = Avoir 

la ttte pris du bonnet ; see t@te 5. 

6. Prendre quelque chose sous son bonnet, 
(a) To imagine, make up, invent some- 
thing ,* (b) To take something upon 
oneself, to assume the responsibility. 
By allusion to the fact that the bonnet covers 
the head, and consequently the brain, where 
the thing is conceived. 

Certes, r6pondit Homais, mais que 
voulez-vous ? C'est le maire qui a 
tout pris sous son bonnet 
Madame Bovary)* 

7. Un gros bonnet, A big bug, a bigwig. 
See note to 4. Cp. legume. 

Voici qu'on annonce au baron 
la visite d'un gros bonnet qui lui 
apporte les remerciements de 1'ad- 
ministration pour son don genereux 
(F. COPPICE, Les quarante Sous du 

bonze, n.m. Solemn, pretentious old man 
(especially one with old-fashioned 
ideas), old fogy, old crock. 
Lit. ' Buddhist priest * ; from the Japanese 
bozu, ' priest*. 

bord, n.m. JStre du bord de quelqu'un, To 
be of some one's set or opinion e.g. 
II est de mon bord, He is of my opinion 
or He belongs to my set. 
A nautical metaphor ; lit. ' to be of the same 
ship '. 

bordee, n.}. Tirer une bordee, To go on 
the spree, to make a night of it. 
Courir des bordees, To go pub- crawl- 
ing. En bordee, On the spree. 
Properly a nautical term meaning ' to tack * 
which passed into the speech of sailors, and 
later into that of soldiers and workmen 
generally, with the idea of * unlawful absence " 
for some amusement of a questionable 

II se rengagea, toucha la prime 
et tira une bordee ('received his 
earnest money and went on the 
booze ') de trois jours (F. COPPEE, 
La vieille Tunique). 

Tu etais encore en bordee ? Vbila 
trois jours que tu n'as pas reparu 
chez toi ! (M. DONNAY, La Pat- 

borgne, adj. Dingy, low, Hi-famed e.g. 
un cabaret borgne, a low ale-house or 
Lit. 'one-eyed*. 

A ce moment, au coin d'une des 
ruelles borgnes qui descendent sur 
les quais, un jeune homme deboucha 
& quelques pas d'Henriette (R. 
BAZKST, JOe toute son Ame). 

See arleqmn (Zola). 

borne, n.f. Passer or Depasser (toutes) les 
bornes, To go too far (fig.) e.g. Cela 
passe toutes les bornes, That is going 
rather too far. 

Qa passe les bornes. II faudra 
prendre un grand parti (* come to a 
drastic decision '), decide" ment (H. 
LAVEDAN, Nocturnes). 

Ou vas-tu ? Je fiche mon camp 
( ' I'm hopping it ' ). Tu Aepasses les 
bornes (ibid.). 




*boseo(t), n.m. and adj. Hunchback. 

A deformation of bossu. 

bosse, n.f. 1. Avoir la bosse de, To have 
a real gift for, to have the bump of 
e.g. II a la bosse de la musique, He has 
a real gift for music. 
Lit. * bump * ; an allusion to the bumps on 
the cranium considered by phrenologists to' 
indicate certain faculties. 

2. Rouler sa bosse, To wander (rove, roam, 

knock, tramp) about the world, to bo a 
rolling-stone e.g. II a roule sa bosse un 
peu partout, Ho has knocked about a 
great deal all over the world. 
Lit. 'to roam about with one's hump '. 

Pendant un an, il a roule sa bosse. 

. . . Maintonant, le voila revenu 

(GYP, La Ginguette). 
Apres avoir roule ma bosse, un 

peu partout, j'ai fini par 6tro agent 

d'uno compagnie beige (BRIJEUX, 

Les J3ienfaitews). 

3. $e donner (or 8* en donner, Sfen payer) 

une bosse, (a] To have lots of fun, to 
split one's sides, to have a jolly lark ; 
(b) To get plenty of something (es- 
pecially to eat and drink), to got a 
good fill, to eat to one's heart's delight. 
Bosse is hero originally a nautical term 
(cp. biture) denoting a strong ropo serving 
to connect a cable, which camo to mean 
among sailors* a " wild lark * or * debauch ' 
through its being grafted on to its homonym 
in the popular language, sa donner or se fair 
une bosso, 'to got drunk*, 'to tipple', *tc> 
stuff % probably suggested by the idea that 
when one has had a good It 11 tho stomach 
becomes round like a bossa, * hump ' (SAiNl&AN, 
Jjdiiffoffe pansien, p. 166). 

Ah ! Ton pouvait ft en donner une 
bosse dans cetto maison-la ! ( J. K.. 
HUYSMANS, Les JSceurs Vatard). 
*bosser, vb. intr. *1. To enjoy oneself, to 
have a spree e.g. Oe que fai bosse 
hier / What a beano I had yesterday ! 
See bosse 3. 
*2. To drudge, toil, grind, slave. 

In irony. 

botte, n.f. 1. Une botte de . . . or Des 
bottes or A la botte, Heaps, lots, bags - 
e.g. J'ai regu toute une botte de lettres, 
I have received heaps of letters. II y 
en a des bottes (or a la botte), There are 
tons of them. 
Prom botte m its sense of * bundle '. 

II y en a a la botte, des gentils 
garcons, on march dessus ! (P. 
VEBEK, Les JZentrees). 
2. A propos de bottes, With reference to 
nothing in particular, with no refer- 
once to the subject in hand, for no 

earthly reason, unseasonably, irre- 

An abbreviation of A propos de bottes, combien 
I'aune de (ces) fagots P i.e. ' Speaking of boots, 
what is the price per ell of (these) faggots ? ", 
a nonsensical queiy ubed facetiously or 
ironically in order to give a dilferent turn to 
the conversation of a boring person. 

II parlait a propos de bottes de la 

transmigration des (R. DOK- 

dELiss, tiaint Magloire). 
Un m,6me ('kid') do vingt-cinq 

ou trento ans, toute rose, gigotant 

(' kicking her legs about ') beaucoup 

et riant a propos de bottes (J". 

ROMAINS, Le Vin blanc de la "Vil- 


3. Etre (or Faire) la botte dc quehftfun = 
better quelqu'un. 

Lit. 'to fit some one like a boot'. 

Quo Monsieur mo premie, II ne 
s'en repentira pas. Jo Hons dans 
mon esprit quo je SIM'X la botte. de 
(* that 1 was made for ', * thai I am 
the very man for ' ) Monwiour ( H. 
LAVISDAV, Ontfi dc, Mawon}. 

4. Proposer In botte <l, To make amorous 
overtures to. 

Probably by allusion to the moaning of bottft 
in fencing, 'lunge", "thrust*. 
batter, vb. tr. To suit e.g. (fo we bottr, 
That suits mo down to the ground, 
That's the very thing for mo. 
rM. to 'lit tho loot like a, boot '. Op. botte 
3 and chausser. 

Lo quartior mo bntlc, ot tu as une 
tcte qui mo rement (* a face which 
pleases mo') (J. KOMAIKS, Le Vin 
blanc de la Villette). 

Cellos a qui je plais ne me bottent 
pas, et celles quo jo botte no mo 
plaisent pas . . .jo nuis infiniment 
difficile ! (GYi>, Le Baron Sinai). 
bottin, n.m. Directory. 

Sfibastlcn JJottin (1764-1853), a Preneh 
adminintrator, wiw the first to issue a com- 
mercial directory. 

Aujourd'hui, il ost note TST.C. 
BUT lo JJottin, il cst mombro do la 
Ohambre syndicale et adminiatra- 
teur du Bureau do bionfaiaanco de 
Farrondissoment (BaiEiix, La petite 

bouc, n.m. Etre le bouc emissaire, To bo 
the scapegoat. 

By allusion to the Biblical story of the scape- 
goat sent out into the wilderness OH atonement 
for the siiis of Israel (Leviticus xvi.). 

Vous savez co qu'etait aiors le 
gerant d'un journal : son bouc 
emissaire, son hommo do poines * . . 




au pluriel (E. ATJGIER, Le Fits de 


boucan, n.m. Row, shindy, rumpus, 
scandal e.g. faire du boucan, to kick 
up a row, shine, racket. Faire un 
boucan de tous les diables, To kick up a 
hell of a row, to raise a hell of a 
rumpus. Qa, fera du boucan, There'll 
be no end of a scandal. 
Probably from bouc, n.m., ' goat % a quarrel- 
some animal. 

Voyons, monsieur Courtepin, ne 

faites pas tant de boucan, je vous en 

prie ! (E. ROD, L'Incendie). 
bouehe, n.f. 1. A bouche que veux~tu, 
Plentifully, more than enough, most 
liberally, to one's heart's content 
e.g. II y en avait a bouche que veux-tu, 
There was any amount of it, There 
was enough and to spare, There was 
an abundant supply, There was plenty 
for every one. 

Originally used of people who like to be 
treated & "bouche qu& veux-tu, i.e. in the style 
of ' Mouth, what do you want ? ' in other 
words, who like good cheer and everything 
in abundance. Later it was applied to other 
things besides eating e.g. kissing and then 
generally with reference to 'abundance', 

Le capitaine Sommerive partit 

uno heure avant 1'aurore en sacrant 

a bouche que veux-tu (MAUPASSANT, 

Le Mai tf Andre). 

2. Houche close ! or Bouche cousue ! Mum's 

the word ! Not a word, mind ! 

Lit. ' Mouth closed 1 ' or ' Mouth sewn up ! * 

Cp. Motusi 

3. Eire sur sa bouche or Eire porte sur la 

bouche, To be an epicure, to study 

good living. 

Caroline 1' avait tou jours servi 
avec zele et fid61it6. De plus, fine 
cuismiere M. Matoussaint etait un 
peu sur sa bouche et ne craignant 
personnc dans 1'art de confectionner 
le souffl6 au fromage (F. COPPEE, Le 

4. Faire la bouche en co&ur, To try and 

look amiable, to put on a captivating 
look, to purse up one's lips. 
By allusion to the fact that some people, 
when they try to look captivating, simper 
and smirk and purse up their lips into the 
shape of a heart. 

II sourit, la bouche en ccsur, salua 
sa femme et sortit (V. CHEBBTTLIBZ, 
L'Aventure de Ladislas Bolslci). 

5. Faire la petite bouche, To be hard to 
please, to be fastidious, dainty (of food 
or generally)* 

This alludes to people who tighten their lips 
m order to give the impression that they have 
a small mouth or to assume a scornful or 
fastidious air. 

II me servira une plein assiette 

de tripes a la mode de Caen. Je 

me regalerai (' I shall enjoy myself '). 

Oh ! ne faites pas la petite bouche 

('don't turn your nose up') (P. 

MABGUERITTE, Gens quipassent). 

6. Oarder quelque chose pour la bonne 

bouche, To keep something for the 

last, as a tit- bit (of food or generally) 

e.g. Nous gardons cette histoire pour la 

bonne bouche, We are keeping this 

story to finish up with. 

To eat last the best and most pleasant morsel, 

the one which leaves a nice taste in the 

mouth; cp. avoir labourite bonne (or mauvaise), 

to have a pleasant (or unpleasant) taste in 

one's mouth. 

Alors, c'est mon tour, b<gayait 
Coupeau, d'une voix pateuse. Hein ! 
on me garde pour la bonne bouche 
(ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 

Sur les trois lettres, il y en avait 
une dont je n'eus pas meme besoin 
de lire 1'adresse pour savoir d'ou 
elle me venait. Je la posai devant 
moi. Je la reservais pour la bonne 
bouche (V. CHEKBTTUEZ, L'Aventure 
de Ladislas BolsJd). 

*7, Ta bouche I or Ta bouche, bebe / or Ta 
bouche, bebe, f auras une frite! Shut 
up ! Dry up ! 

L'it. ' (Close) your mouth, baby, (and for a 
reward) you' 11 have a chip-potato '. 

On ne vous servira rien. Ta 

bouche, bebe / T'as pas fini ? Nous 

verrons 9a, si on ne nous sert rien ! 

(H. BATAILLE, Poliche). 

8. Une fine bouche, An epicure. Cp. bee 

bouelie, adj. Stupid, dense, dull-witted. 

Lit. 'stopped up*. 

bouehiOii, n.m. 1. G'est plus fort que de 
jouer au bouchon ! This beats every- 
thing ! That takes the biscuit ! That's 
the limit I 

This stock popular expression refers to the 
game of bouchon, which consists in knocking 
down with a quoit or other missile a 
cork on which coins are placed. 

C'est 6patant ! ( c extraordinary *), 
c'est inoui, c'est plus fort que de 
jouer au bouchon ! (H. LAVEDAN, Le 
vieux Marcheur). 

*2. Mettre un bouchon a quelqu'un, To shut 
somebody up e.g. Mets-y un bouchon ! 
Dry up ! Put a sock in it I 

bondage I 

3. Xtamusser un bouchon, To experience 
a failure, to come a cropper. 
Tina popular metaphor is possibly derived 
from the expression tomber d bouchon, 
' to fall down flat * (ht, on the bouche ", cp. 
the old phrase tombor adant (ht. d dents, ' on 
one's toeth') with the same meaning) ; the 
form bouohon may have arisen from popular 
analogy with forms like d r&culon,s, ' back- 
wards ', d tdtons, 'gropingly' (KOBUUT, 
Phmsfologie, p. 21). 

* bondage, n.m. Imprisonment, cHnk. 
See boucler 1. 

e, n.f. *l. = bouclage. 
*2. Se serrer la boude = bonder 3. 

Lit. * to tighten the buckle ' (of one's belt). 
bonder, vb. tr. *1. To imprison, to send 
to the guard room or jail. JSe fair a 
bonder, To bo put in quod, clink, to 
get run in. 

Lit. 'to put in rings or chains'. An old 
cant and police term which has pawed 
into popular speech, especially into army 

See ban 4 (Coppeo), tourniquet 

81 2. To shut, close e.g. J3onde-la I (i.e. la 
boucJie), Dry up ! Shut up ! JBoucler 
la lourde, To shut the door. 

Alors, il avait boucU 1'usine, tout 
bonnemont (' neither more nor ICHS .', 
* no less ') (M. CORD AY, Manage de 

*3. fie la boucler, elliptical for Se bowler la 
ceintiire, To have to do without (be 
deprived of) food, to tighten one's hell 
(for want of food). 
Cp. bouele 2, ceinture 1, ventr 3. 
4. C'est une affaire bouclee / It's a settled 
matter ! ttoucUe is hero used familiar- 
ly for rtyUe. 
*boulfarde, n.f. Pipe. 

Jfrom boutffa, ' pull ' (of smoke). The word 
denotes particularly a big pipe used by the 
working classes. 

II redescendit jusqu'a la gare oil, 
fumant sa boiiffarde, il attondit en. 
paix 1 premier train (B. BENJAMIN, 

bouffer. 1. vb. intr. and tr. To feed, 
stuff e.g. On a bouff& & en crever, We 
Mowed our hide out (lit. 'enough to 
burst '). 

Lit. * to putt' out * (one's cheeks by taking bif? 
luoutMuls, and so, by extension, to eat well 
or greedily), ttouffer, derived from the 
imitative word bouf t has practically ousted 
ita synonyms b&frer and brifTer. 

Lui, on aurait boitffe touto la nuib, 
sans 6tre meommod6, et, pour 
crdner (* swank '), il s'onfoncait un 
pilon (' drumstick ', ' log of chick- 

en ') ntier dans la boucho (ZoLA, 

See gratter 2 (Benjamin). 
*2. vb. tr. (a) To hurt, knock some one's 
head off, to ' eat s a person, to make 
mincemeat of a person- e.g. N'aie $>as 
peur, il ne te bouffera pas, Don't be 
afraid, he won't eat you. 
This, like (&) is an extended use of 1. 

Bien sur que t'as pas peur ! . . . 
T'on bouffcrais dix comme Tour- 
mort, si tu to montrais (C. H. 
HIBSCH, Le Tigre et Coquelicot). 

See Me (Hirsoh), 
*(6) To spend (money), to blue. 

Des qu'on avait qaatre sous, dans 

10 menage, on los bouffait (ZOLA, 

*l30iiffi, n.m. Tu I" as dit, boitffl ! Stock 
rhyming phrase with the force of : 
Just so 1 Bight you are ! You've said 
it ! You talk like a book ! 

Enfin, je n'en pcux phis (' I'm 
dead boat '). Jo suis assoz fatigue. 
. . . Domain, a la maison, IOH 
parents vont me uno figure 
('will give mo black looks').'" 1o 
prof&ro rentrer. Tu Vas dcja dit, 
bonffi (H. LAVED AN, Nocturnes). 

u Et toute la gloire sera pour 
nous ? " Bouletabille, ricananl, 
ajouta : " Tu I 9 as dti, bouffi f " (G. 
LEEOIJX, Le Myst&re de la Ohambre 

boupotte, n.f. Avoir la bougcottc, To 
fidget, to liave the fidgets, not to bo 
able to stay in one place, to bo always 
on the move. 
Prom bo'up&r, ' to move % * stir ' 

O'ai promen6 mon corps un pen 
partout . . . pare quo, moi . . . 

11 faut que je me remue la facheuwo 
bougeotte ! (P. VEBEE, Lea Mentrcctt). 

or Jbougnat, n.m. Coal -man. 
An abbreviation of oliarbougna(3) ~~ c/wr- 
bonnitir, * coal-man*, who is xuuially a native 
of Axivergno. See Auverpin. 
Ibougon, n.m. and adj. Grumbler, grouser, 
foougonner, vb. intr. To grumble, grouno, 
Ilouffonner is still common in Berry and in 
the Orl6anfiiR with the meaning uf ; to work 
sulkily', whence the (ievelopnient of 'to 
grumble '. In origin the word is parallel 
with the dialectal synonym nwuffontwr, *to 
bellow', of horned cattle (SAiNftAN, <S*otmw# 
wdifftouw, J, p. 3ii-'i). The verb often 
implies muttering under one's breath. 

tTai envie de r6])liquor, oar jo suis 
agace'e, irritde, 6nerv6e . . mais, 
houreusoment, je me oontions. . . . 


55 bouillon 

Jo me borne & bougonner un peu 
(0. MIRBEAU, Le Journal dune 
Femme de Ghambre). 

See asticoter 2 (Zola), polsse 

*boilgre. (A) n.m. (fern, bougresse). Fel- 
low, individual, chap e.g. Un pauvre 
bougre, A. poor devil. Un bon bougre, 
A good chap, a brick. Un sale 
bougre, A rotter, a bad egg. II est 
epatant, ce bougre-la, That fellow's a 

Bougre comes from the Latin. Bulgarus> i.e. 
' Bulgarian ' ; as Bulgaria was the home of 
certain heretics, called bogomiles, the word 
bulgare or bougre became synonymous with 
'schismatic*, 'heretic',' apostate'. Accord- 
ing to a general belief, still prevalent, those 
whorepudiati'dthe dogmas of the Church were 
credited with all the vices, and so bougre 
gradually came to denote 'sodomite'. 
Whereas the corresponding English word 
' bugger', which has the same origin, belongs 
to foul, low talk, the French noun is no longer 
a vile insult, but belongs rather to very 
colloquial speech, and may convey sympathy 
as well as disfavour. See bigre. 

Kube, bon bougre,, obeissait a sa 
destinee, jouant sans murmurer son 
petit rdle d trouble-fete (* spoil- 
sport ') (G-. ACJRIOL, La Charrue avant 
les Boeufs}. 

Ta mere disait tout a 1'heure, la : 
" II aime le bonheur des autres ". 
II faut bien : je ne suis pas un 
mauvais bougre (F. DE GROISSET, 

II y a des miUiers de pauvres 
bougres qui sont dans mon cas ('in 
the same boat as I am ') (EL 
LAVEDAK, Viveurs), 

On disait de ma mere dans le 
pays : "La patronne, c'est une 
bougresse de femme ! " (F. CARGO, 
Men qu'une Femme}. 

*(B) adj. Used to intensify e.g. Bougre 
de salaud (or de cochon) ! Dirty dog ! 
Dirty rotter ! Bougre $ idiot / Bally 
fool ! 

*(C) inter j. Vulgar oath (generally written 
6 . . .) e.g. Bougre/ tfest cher ! By 
Jove, that's dear 1 

*bougrement, adv. Extremely, devilishly 
e.g. fla c'est bougrement beau (ban, 
mauvais, etc.), That's jolly fine (good, 
bad, etc.). II a bougrement travailU, 
He's worked jolly hard. 
This adverb, from bougre, expresses a high 
degree of intensity, favourably or otherwise, 
Cp. bigrement. 

II faisait radmiration de la mai- 

son, parce que, ayant enorme'ment 
vn et lu, il avait bougrement retenu ! 
(M. ZAMACOI'S, En Stupid-car). 

Vous &tes bougrement trop bon 
(BRIETTX, Le Bourgeois aux Champs). 

Se ba!ane.olre I (Brieux). 
boniboui or bonisbouis, n.m. Low cafe- 
concert or music-hall or coffee-house, 
low place of amusement of any kind. 
A reduplicated form of the old argot bouis, 
* brothel'. The word originally denoted a 
small, low-class theatre and also the marion- 
ette shows given there. In the Jura district 
bouis has the force of 'hovel', and in the 
Bresse region it signifies a small building for 
geese and ducts (SAINEAN, Langage varisien, 
pp. 37-8). 

Ne pas diner chez sa mere et 
s'attabler dans un bouisbouis quel- 
conque jusqu'a ce que Desiree fut 
libre, c'etait onereux (J. K. HTJYS- 
MANS, Les Sc&urs Vatard). 
,n.m. *1. Cobbler. 
Bouif or bouiffe is a nickname given to 
cobblers or shoemakers in Paris and in the 

II se revit employe a 1' atelier de 
cordonnerie regimentaire, simple 
bouif pendant ses quatre premieres 
annees de regiment (0. METEOTEE, 
La Croix). 

*2. Affected, conceited, priggish person. 
ffaire du bouif \ To put on side, to 
bouillon, n.m. 1. Cheap restaurant. 

Elliptical for Un dtaJbliss&ment de bouillon, i.e. 
a restaurant which specialises in ' broth'. 

M. d'Erdeval eut tout de suite la 
vision de son pere se baladant dans 
de quelconques bouillons, en com- 
pagnio de 1'homme (GYP, Miche). 

2. Water e.g. Tomber dans le bouillon, 
To get a ducking. 

Les rodeurs du bord de Feau flan- 
quent un passant dans le bouillon 
pour le repecher et toucher la prime 
(F. COPPEE, Un Drapeau de moins). 

3. Loss of money, setback, failure e.g. 
Boire (or Prendre) un bouillon. To lose 
a lot of money, to experience a failure, 
a serious loss, to swallow a bitter pill 
e.g. II a bu (oTpris) unfameux bouillon, 
He has had a nasty knock, His busi- 
ness has gone smash. 

Lit. * to have a cup of broth *. The above is 
an extension of the use of the phrase, "to 
swallow water when swimming'. 

Les vendeurs ont du boire un 
bouillon \ trancha le grand Eodier, 
qui joue quelquefois sa sold a la 


56 boulotter 

Bourse (C. FABRI&RE, Dix-sept His- 
toires de Marina). 

4. Donner (or Faire prendre) & guelqtfun 
un bouillon de (or d") onze heures, To 
administer poison to a person. 
Lit. ' to give some one a cup of brotli at eleven 
o'clock ' (at night, so that at midnight the 
patient may be sound asleep for ever). 

Et 1 on espionnait ses rapports 
avec la Cognotte, on disait qu'li eux 
deux, un beau soir, ils donneraient 
un bouillon de onze heures au p6ro 
Houdequin pour lo voler (ZoLA, La 

*boulanger, n.m. Remereier son boulanger, 
To die, to kick the bucket. 
Lit, * to sack one's baker '. One of many 
populai euphemisms for * to die '. See 
mourir 3. 

boule, n.j. *1. Head, nut, noddle e.g. 
avoir une bonne boule, to have a good- 
natured face. Perdre la boule, (a) To 
lose one's head (wits), not to know 
what one is doing ; (b) To go daft, off 
one's nut. Avoir la boule detragiuee, 
To be crazy, cracked. 
Lit. ' ball ' ; by allusion to its roundness. 

See gaga (Bernstein). 
*2. Boule de son, Army loaf of broad. 

Originally black bread, of round shape, 
containing so??,, ' bran *. 

3. Faire (la) boule de neige, To go on 
increasing, to increase gradually. 
Lit. * to grow like a snow- ball '. 
*bouleau, n.m. ~ boulot 
Boule-Miehe or Boul*Mich, le, proper name, 
Abbreviation for Boulevard Saint- 
Michel, in the Latin quarter of Paris. 
*bouler, vb. tr. *1. (Of things) To spoil, 
make a mess of. 
Lit. * to bowl over '. 

Mme Vallier jouait un role eHe 
aussi, mais nerveusement ; elle le 
" boulait '* comme on dit, en argot 
de coulisses (* stage '), des intor- 
pretes qul pre"cipitnt le d6bit et 
sautent des passages (H. DTJVER- 
NOIS, Gisele). 

*2. (Of persons) (Envoyer) bouler qudqtfun, 
To send isome ono sprawling ; to send 
some one to the right-about, to the 

boulet, n.m. 1. Tirer sur gruelgu'un a 
boulet(s) rouge(s\ To attack (pursue) a 
person mercilessly, unsparingly. 
Lit. ' to fire red-hot cannon-balls at '. 
2. Trainer le (or son) boulet, To lead a 
wearisome life, to boar one's cross. 
Lit. ' to drag the cannon-ball ' ; by allusion 

to the old practice of chaining cannon-balls 
to the feet of convicts. 

boulette, n.f. Blunder, bloomer, Fa>irc 
une bouleUe, To make a break, drop a 

Lit. ' small ball ' ; perhaps by allusion to the 
pellets thrown by schoolboys, 

Tu n'as pas fait la boulettc cTccriro 
a Zambaux uno lottrc qui . . . uno 
lottre . . . oruln uno lottro do blanc- 
bec ? (H. BERNSTEIN, La Griffe). 
*jboulonner, vb. intr. To work, toil. 

IM. * to support by means of boulons ', * bolts ', 
k pins *. A borrowing from the speech of 

boulot. (A) n.m. *1. Work, occupa- 
tion, job, business e.g. aimer son 
boulot, to be fond of one's job. II y a, 
du boulot, There's plenty of graft. *Ce 
n'ent pas ton boulot , That's not your 

The word originally belonged to the language 
of the cabinet-makers of the faubourg Saint- 
Antoine : btiefwr le bovloaw (lit. ' birch *) or 
boulot meant to attack a piece of wood 
energetically. It then, passed into popular 
speech, and was very common in tho army 
during the War (SAIN&AW, Langage partnicn r 
p. 185; L'Aryot dfts Trancfides, pp. iJ2-4). 

II y aura du boulot pour quo $a 
finisso, la guerro, et plus cncoro 
apr6s (H. BATLBTTSSE, Le Feu). 

Seo peinard (Hirsch). 

*2. Meal, food, grub e.g. wi bon boulot., a 
square meal. 
Prom boulotter. 

La bonne aidait la cuisim^ro a 
fairo cuiro le boulot (J. ROMA.INS, Le 
Yin blanc de la VillcMe)* 
(B) n. and adj. (used in feminine only). 
Little fat person, a roly-poly e.g. une 
grosfte petite boulotte, a stout little 
stumpy girl. 
3?roin boulc, * ball*. 

Madamo Follebise n'est pas si 

jolie quo a ; lie cat boulotte, proB- 

qxie grasse (P. VJSBBR, Les Mentrces). 

boulotter. 1. vb. tr. (a) To oat, stuff, 

scoff ; (b) To spend money, blue in, 

get through. 

A diminutive of the verb boutcr, to * roll * ; 
hence lit. * to roll one's life along gently ', and 
so to oat in order to bo able to do this, Tho 
meanings under (I) and 2 are extended uses. 

(a) L'p6ro gagno pas lourd (' does 
not earn much '). La mere oat 
malade avec 1' petit frero. Alors, y 
a guero a boulotter (A, LIOHTJEN- 
BEKGEK, M on petit Trott). 

(b) Et quand co serait, 1'argont 
quo je t'apporte aujourd'hui, ^a sora 




tou jours autant que je ne boulotterai 

pas (A. SALMON, C'est une belle 

Fille /). 

*2. To get on, rub along, jog along, to be in 
good health, to prosper e.g. Comment 
ca va-t-il ? Qa boulotte, How are you 
getting on ? All right. 

Est-ce qu'il avance, votre livre ? 

Qa boulotte, ca boulotte. . . . Je 

vous le lirai un de ces jours (H. 

BATAILLE, L'Enchantement). 
See chouettement (Romains), voui 


boum I inter j. Denotes the sound caused 
by sudden shock, explosion, etc. e.g. 
Un livre m'est tombe boum sur la t$te, 
A book fell down, bang on my head. 
Bourn, voila I (waiter's cry) Coming ! 
This word, which, imitates the noise of a big 
drum, has become the cry by means of which 
a waiter informs his customer that he has 
heard his order and is getting ready to serve 

bouquet, n.m. Best part (kept for the 
end), crowning-piece, wind-up e.g. 
garder (reserver) une chose pour le 
bouquet, to keep something to finish 
up with (of speech or action, in a 
favourable or ironic sense). C'est (or 
Voila) le bouquet ! (ironical) That's the 
limit ! That puts the tin hat on it ! 
That takes the biscuit ! 
By allusion to the bouquet or * finishing-piece ' 
of a fireworks display e.g. ' A 1'occasion de 
ce feu d' artifice le baron de Hautpcrtuis a 
imaging une piece qui sera le bouquet, le clou 
(' chief attraction") sensationnel de ces splen- 
dides r6jouissances ' (A. ALI.AIS, L' Affaire 

Je dis : " Enlevez-moi." Qa, par 
exemple, tfest le bouquet ! Vous 
voulez que je vous enleve ? (G-. 
COTJBTBLIHB, Les Soulingrin). 

See s'empoigner (Halevy). 
bouquin, n.m. Book. 

From the Flemish boeckin, 'little book*. 
bouquiner, vb. intr. To go book-hunting, 
to rummage the book-stalls, to handle 
books (either to consult or to buy 
them), to pore over books, to read 
e.g. II est toujours a bouquiner, He's 
fond of hunting after old books or He's 
a regular book- worm. 
bouquiniste, n.m. Dealer in second-hand 
books, keeper of second-hand book- 

bourgeois, n.m. and adj. *L Le bour- 
geois, The boss, * guv'nor '. Eh! dites 
done, bourgeois ! I say, guv'nor ! M on 
bourgeois, My husband, my old man, 

Ma (or La) bourgeoise, The wife, 

the missus, my old woman. 

Seulement Toine rigolait 
( c laughed '), tandis que sa bour- 
geoise se fachait (MAT/PASSANT, 

2. Cela sent son bourgeois, is said of one 
who betrays a lack of elegance in 
manners or tastes, * That smacks of 
vulgarity ". 

3. Se meUre (Eire) en bourgeois, (of soldiers) 

To dress in plain clothes, in mufti, in 

Je me retourne et je vois devant 
moi mon lieutenant en bourgeois, le 
tuyau de poele ('top-hat') sur la 
tete, mais toujours bel homme dans 
sa redingote boutonne"e, avec le 
petit bout de ruban rouge (F. 
COFFEE, Le bon Crime). 
bourgeon, n.m. Pimple, 

Lit. 'bud'. 

bourgeonner, vb. intr. To break out in 
pimples e.g. un nez bourgeonne, a red 
nose, (of a drunkard) a grog-blossomed 

Lit. * to put forth buds *. 
bourlinguer, vb. intr. To work hard, to 
toil, to have a hard life. 
A nautical term (of unknown origin), said 
of a vessel tossed by high seas and unable 
to advance, and so of sailors who ex- 
perience fatigue as a result of bad weather 
and the consequent long and arduous 
manoeuvres (SAIN^AN, Langage parisien, 
p. 169). 

*bourrage de erliiie> n.m. Lies, exaggera- 
tion, false and stupid statements, 
balderdash e.g. Tout $a, c'est du 
bourrage de crdne, That's all tosh, 
they're codding us. 
The action of bourrer le crdne ; see crane 1. 

*bourreur de crne, n.m. One who bourre 
le crdne (see erne 1), applied particu- 
larly to folk (journalists, politicians, 
writers, etc.) who by their writings or 
speeches try to persuade people that all 
is well when the contrary is the case. 
bourrichon, n.m. Head. Only used in 
the phrases monter le bourrichon d quel- 
qu'un, to rouse a person, to work upon 
a person e.g. On lui a monte le bour- 
richon contre moi, They have excited 
him against me and se monter le bour- 
richon, to entertain strong illusions, to 
be too sanguine, to get excited, to 
work oneseS into a state e.g. II se 
monte facilement le bourrichon, He 
easily gets excited or He * kids ' 




easily. Ne te monte pas le bourrichon ! 
Don't kid yourself ! 
By comparison with a bourricJie, 'hamper *. 
' basket '. 

Je vous jure gue je ne me mo%te 
pas le bourrichon, ay ant do I'exp6ri- 
ence, kolas ! (FLAUBEKT, Correspond- 
bourricot, n.m. 1. Donkey. 

The word comes from the vocabulary of the 
soldiers in Algeria, and is a borrowing from 
the Spanish borrico. Also spelt bournquot. 

Un de ces tout petits &nes qui sont 
si communs en Algcrie ct qu'on 
designo la-bas sous lo nom do bour- 
riguots (A. DATJDET, Tartar in de 

Sco bout 1 (Richepin). 
2. Kif-kif bourricot === kit-kit 
bourrique, n.f. 1. Old or bad horse, jade, 
nag, moke. 

Lit, * she-ass ' ; from the Provencal bourrico, 
fern, of bourric, ' ass '. 

2, Pig-headed person, silly person, jackass. 

3. Jfaire tourner quelqu^un en bourriquc, 

To drive one crazy by dint of badgering. 
Jo vous dis quo cos gaillards-la 
me feront tourner en bourrique (G. 
COTOTELINE, Le Train da 8 h. 47). 
Ces enants-li\ me font tourner en- 
bourrigue . . . Ah ! positivomont ! 
(Gyp, Oeux quis*en, . . .). 
*4. Policeman, ponce-spy, informer, nark. 
In this sense, the word'belongs to the argot 
of the apachP'S, and was introduced "by analogy 
with its old synonym roussin, which was 
wrongly connected with tho name of tho 
animal (roussin d'Arcadie, * Jerusalem pony 
'braying ass*), the real force of roussin in 
this application being 'treacherous* (like 
people, according to popular belief, whose 
hair is red) (SAlNfi-iN, Langage parisien, 
p. 213). 

B'ailleurs, pas d'incident. Los 
bourrfyues qrti folatraient dans les 
allies guettaient 1* occasion. Mais 
nous 6tions tranquilles comme 
Baptisto (see Appendix under 
Baptlste). Nous reluquions (* wero 
eyeing ') les flours dps marronniers 
(J. BOMAINS, Le Vin blanc de la 

See paumer (Carco). 
bournquot, n.m. = bourricot. 
boursicoter, vb. intr. (Disparaging) To 
speculate in a small way on 'Chang. 
From boursicot, standing for boursicaut, 
'small purse', and, by extension, 'small 
savings '. The word also contains a hint of 
la Bourse, the * Stock Exchange '. 
bousillage, n.m. Bungled, botched work. 
From bouslller. 

bausHler, vb. tr. 1. To do careless and 
clumsy work, to spoil, do badly, 
bungle, mess up, botch, jigger up. 
From bouse, ' cow's dung '. 

Elle perdait de plus en plus la 

main, cUo bousillait Touvrage (ZoLA y 


*2. To kille.g. II s'estfait bomiller, He's 
boon done in, Ho's gono west. 
This is a military war-time extended use of 
tho verb. 

Si fctais bo^l l siUi'- > olio plcurerait 

toutos los larmoa do son corps (H. 


*bonsln, ??/.m. *1. Low tavern; disorderly 
house (lit. and/r'j/. e.g. Cctfc maison eM 
un vrai bou<sin>, This hoiiao is a regular 

*2. Row, uproar, shindy e.g. faire du 
bowsin, to bo riotous, to kick tip a row. 
Faire un bon,nn do. tons les diablcs, To 
kick tip a holl of a row. 
Originally denoted a sailors' debauch and 
particulftily tholowpublic-hotiHo where thoir 
orgiew take place ; then it was also applied 
to the noiHc and disorder which accom- 
pany such orgies. Tho word penetrated 
into French hv way of the .Norman 
dialect, which in its turn had borrowed it 
from the old English cant express ion ' bows- 
ing (ken) % i.e. low tavern, frequented by 
sailors (SAiNtoAN, Langaye paHsifn, p. 108). 

1. Bicn a boiro ! s'oxclamait Sil- 
v6ro, mais c'ost scandaioux ! . . . 
Vonez ! jo vais vous eonduiro dans 
un chouctte, (*fmo') bouzin oi\ Ton 
potirra se rafratohir la boucho. Tl 
los, conduisit att Oercle ('club') 
militairo (M. HABBY, La divine 

2. .Eh bion, on voil^ un bouzin ! 
s'exclama lo chef du matonol c'ost 
inou! ! (G. COTJBTJSM'N'I^ Les Ko7ids- 

^boTJsingot, n,m. = bousin 1. 

See xxez 1 (Zola). 

boussole, n.f. Head, nut e.g. Perdre la 
bou$sol&, To lose one's head, to be 
crazy, daft, to bo all at soa. 
Lit. 'compass' (.showing direction). Op. 
perdre le nord, perdre la tramontane. 
Tbonstlfallle, n.f. ^ood, grub. 

A southern loan from the Lyonnaia or 
Bauphinois dialect. Tho word IH an adapta- 
tion of bauffaille, * copious food * (tvp. bouffer) 
(SAINIUN, XianffttffG jmrisien, p. 114). 

II nous apportait dos flours . . . 

ot de la boustifaittc ot un panior 

de boutoillos do vin (J 

Gontes sans Morale). 

Seo nez 3 (Zola). 




boustifalller, vb. tr. and intr. To eat, feed, 


toout, n.m. 1. -4 bout) At an end, spent, 
exhausted e.g. Je suis a bout, I am 
done for. Ma patience est a bout, My 
patience is exhausted. Eire a bout de 
forces (de patience), To be exhausted, 
done up (qxiite out of patience). 
Pousser quelgu'un a bout, To drive one 
to extremes, to exasperate, to provoke 
beyond endurance. 

Je n'en peux plus ( c I am done 
up '), repliqua Fhomme, et le bour- 
nquot (' donkey ') est a bout ( ex- 
hausted ') (J. BICIIEPIK, MiarJca). 

C'est que, vois-tu, je no peux plus 
supporter cette vie-la, je ne peux 
plus. Je te jure quo je suis a bout 
de forces I ( J. I/EMA! TEE, Le Depute 

Tu sais qu'un poltroii pousse a 
bout devient un heros (P. MEBIMEE, 
La Jacquerie). 

See but (Daudet), earottage (Der- 
ennes), eran 3 (Gyp). 

2. A bout portant, Point-blank (lit. and 


JTioin the expression, tirer d lout portant 

(formerly d bout touchant), i.e. to fire with the 

end of the weapon touching the object aimed 


Uno vingtaine de mille hommes 
nous fusillaient, a bout portant, il 
faisait chaud ! (L. CLADEL, Pierre 

3. A. tout bout de champ, Every time 
one has the chance, at every turn, 
on every occasion, continually. 
Originally used of place ; lit. ' at every field- 

Quo diable font fait ces pauvros 
gens d'esprit pour quo tu les mal- 
traitos a tout bout de champ ? (T. 
GAUTIER, Jean et Jeannette). 

4. Au bout du compte, After all, when all 
is said and done, in the end, iinally. 
Cp. fin 3. 

Lit. ' at the end of the account % when every- 
thing has been counted up. 

"Une croix, voyons. ... 11 y on 
a une sur presque toutes les tombes, 
et, au bout du compte, tu n'es pas 
bien sur qu'il n'y ait pas do bon 
Dieu (F. COPPEE, Un Enterrement 

5. C'est (tout) le bout du monde, That is 
the (very) utmost, It cannot be more 
than that e.g. S'il a trente ans, c y est 
tout le bout du monde or C'est tout le 

bout du monde s'il a trente ans, He is 
barely thirty, at the very outside. Si 
vous obtenez dix francs, c'est le bout du 
monde, If you get ten francs, it's the 
utmost, You will get ten francs at the 
very outside. 

Lit. ' It is the very end (of space, not time) of 
the world ', i.e. the extreme point, the utter- 
most limit. 

M'est avis que si M. de Virevieille 
laisse quinze mille francs de rente a 
sa petite niece, ce sera le bout du 
monde (V. CHEEBTJLIEZ, L'ldee de 
Jean Teterol). 

6. Du, bout des Uvres. This phrase (lit. 

' with the end of one's lips ', i.e. scarce- 
ly moving them) is used with, various 
verbs in the sense of * TmwiUingly % ' in 
a forced or constrained manner ' e.g. 
accorder (prier, parler, promettre) du 
bout des l&vres, to grant (beg, speak, 
promise) in a forced manner. Manger 
du bout des livres (or des dents), To 
nibble at one's food, to play with one's 
food, to eat without an appetite. Eire 
du bout des Uvres (or des dents), To 
laugh in a forced manner, to give a 
forced laugh, to smile a sickly smile, to 
laugh on the wrong side of one's mouth. 
Du bout des Uvres, il lui dit simple- 
ment, en sortant de table : Je vais 
chez un de mes camarades. Je 
serai rentre" pour le diner (L. 
Je vous ai r6pondu : Allons 
diner, nous ferons quelque chose le 
soir. Eh Men ! nous n'avons mange 
que du bout des Uvres et nous ne 
demandions qu'a aller nous coucher 
(H. BECQTTE, Les Corbeaux). 

7. Eire (or Se trouver) au bout de son latin 

or de son rouleau, To be at one's wits' 
end, to be at the end of one's resources, 
of one's tether, not to know what to 
do (or say) next, to be nonplussed. 
The first expression alludes to the custom 
among students in the Middle Ages of carrying 
on debates in Latin ; when an orator was at a 
loss for words he was said to be au bout de son 
latin. The second is a variant of au bout de 
son rdlet, a diminutive of rdl&, hence ' to be at 
the end of one's role or part ', ' to have said 
all one has to say '. 

Birotteau se trouvait au bout de son 
latin ; il avait us6 tous sea artifices 
pour lui d6rober la connaissance des 
symptdmes de sa g&ne (BALZAC, 
Cfoar Birotteau). 
Seulement, je te 1'ai dit avant- 




hier, je suis au bout de mon rouleau. 
Demain, si je ne suis renfloue (' set 
afloat again '), j'e*choue au port (V. 

8. Eire dconowie de bouts de chandelle(s) 

or Faire des Economies de bouts de 
chandelle(s)i To exercise cheeseparing 
economy, to bo penny-wise and 
pound-foolish, to spoil the ship for a 
ha'porth of tar. 

This expression alludes to the times when 
people had to be very sparing with candles 
and did not waste even the ends. Later, 
when other modes of lighting wore in- 
vented, une foonomie de bouts de chandelles 
became synonymous with * mean, sordid 

9. Joindre les deux bout, To make ends 

Lit. * to join the two ends '; by allusion to a 
rope or string which is just long enough to 
go round and tie up an object. 

Lo conseil do fabrique ( c vestry- 
hoard ') doit avoir assez do peine a 
joindre les deux bouts (F. COPP/DE, 
Un Accident). 
See diable 15 (Balzac). 

10. (Jusqu')au bout des doigts, To the 
very finger-tips, every inch e.g. avoir 
de V esprit (jusqu')au bout des doigts (oi 1 
des ongles), To be extremely witty, to 
be witty to the tips of one's fingers. 

Et e'etait vrai qu'il e*tait un 
gentleman irr&proehable, anglais, 
eoname je Tai dit, jwgu'au, bout des 
angles (0, FAEE^EE, Quatorze Hw~ 
toires de Soldats*). 

11. Laisser passer (or Laisser voir or 
Montrer) le bout de Voreille, To show 
one's ignorance or one's true character, 
to betray oneself, to show the cloven 

Lit, * to show the tip of one's ear ' ; an allusion 
to the ass in the fablo who dressed himself in 
a lion's skin but was betrayed by his long 

12. Mener quefyu'un par le bout du nez (or 
par le ne&), To domineer a person 
e.g. Safemme le menepar le bout du nez T 
He is henpecked. 

By allusion to an animal (e.g. a bull) which is 
led by a rope fastened to a ring in its nostril. 
Votis n'etes qu'un nigaud ( c boo- 
by '}. Vous vous laissez mener par 
votre fomme par le bout du nez 
(BB.IEUX, Le Bourgeois aux Champs). 
*13. Mettre les bouts de bois or les bois, To 
be off, to cut and run, to do a guy. 
Military slang during the War ; the logs are 
jocularly compared to * wooden stumps'. 
14. Ne savoir par gud bout prendre quel- 

qitfun e.g. On ne sait par quel bout le 
prendre, It is difficult to know how to 
deal with him. 

En vcrite, on ne salt par qud bout 
la prendre. . . . Quo pout-elle done 
avoir, dans le corps, poxir tstre tou- 
jours dans un tel etat d' irritation ? 
(0. MIRBEAXJ, Le Journal d*une 
Fenvme de Chambre). 

15. Poitsser qttelqu'un un bout (de cketnin) 
e.g. Puis-je voits pousser un bout ? 
Can I give you a lift ? or May 1 walk 
part of the way with you ? 

Tu viens avec moi, Vignerte, fra me 
pousseras un bout de chemn (P. 
BETSTOIT, Koenigsinark). 

16. S avoir quelque chose sur le bout du, 
doigt f To know something perfectly, to 
have something at one's lingers' ends. 
This phrase assumed its meaning from the 
fact that the kindred expression au bout des 
doigts (see 10) came to have the torco of a 
superlative, synonymous with ' easily % 
* without difficulty '. 

17. Tenir le haitt (or bon} bout, To have the 
whip hand, to rule the roost. 

3?rom the expression tcnir le /taut bout de la 
t,abl& * to sit at the top end (i.e. the place of 
honour) of a table *. 

See mistoufte 2 (Champsaur). 

18. Un bout de . . ., A little bit of . . ., 
a short . .-e.g. ecrire un bout de 
lettre f to writo a lino or two. Un bout 
de chemin, A little bit oi the way. 
Faire un bout de toilette* To make- a 
hurried toilette, to dresn up a bit. Un 
petit bout d'hotMMt An undersized man. 

Ello mangoait au rofoctoiro ^ la 
table dos bonnes so5urs, ot faisait 
avec olles, apres le repas, un petit 
bout de causette (* a little chat*) 
avant do remontor ti son ouvrage 
(FLAUBERT, Madame Hovary). 
bouteille, n.f. 1. Avoir de la bouteille, To 
have flavour, aroma, to bo fruity. 
Originally used of wines which have boon 
bottled for a long tiiwo, then by extension of 
things which, like old wine, are rich and full- 

Oar le colonel Bramble n'aimo 
quo los spectacles familiors ot los 
plaisantorios qui ont de la bouteille 
(A, MAVBOIS, Les Silences du Colonel 

2, C*e$t la bouteille d, Tcwcfe, It is a very 
obscure business. There is no making 
anything of it, It is a complicated case, 
a regular mystery, a confused business, 
It is as clear as mud, One cannot make 
head or tail of it. 




The phrase is said of any mysterious, incom- 
prehensible affair, impossible to see through. 
Le coeur des femmes, c'est la 
bouteille a Fencre (R. COOLUS, Les 

bonte-en-train, n.m. C'est un vrai (or 
veritable) boute~en-train, He is full of 
* go ', a very jolly fellow, the very life 
and soul of a party. 
Lit. one who puts the others in high spirits ; 
made up from boute (from the old verb 
bouter = mettre) + &n 4- train. 
boutique, n.f. 1. House, establishment, 
institution (especially in a disparaging 
sense) e.g. Quelle boutique/ What a 
' shop ' ! What a hole ! Cp. boSte 1. 
L'employe lui coupa la parole 
('interrupted him'). . . . l J'enai 
assez de ( c I'm fed up with ') votre 
boutique ' ' (MAUPASSANT, Bel-Ami}. 
2. Toute la boutique. Everything or every- 
one, the whole lot, the whole boiling, 
concern, show e.g. Envoyer sauter 
toute la boutique, To chuck up the 
whole concern. . . . et toiite la bou- 
tique, . . . and all the paraphernalia, 
. . . and the whole bag ol tricks. Cp. 

*3. Montrer toute sa boutique, To expose 
one's person, to make an indecent 
exhibition of one's person. 
boutonne', adj. G'est un homme ton jours 
boutonne or II est toujours boutonne 
jusqufav inenton, He is very close, very 
reserved, very uncommunicative. 
Lit. ' close buttoned (to the chm) ' ; i.e. 
concealing his thoughts or designs like a coat 
buttoned up to the neck hides the clothes 

*bouzin, n.m. = bousin. 
*boyautant, adj. Side-splitting, killing, 
From bqyauter. 

Vise (' Have a squint at ') les 
petits canards, repond Volpatte. 
lls sont boyautants (H. BAKBITSSE, 
Le Feu}. 

*boyauter, se. To laugh heartily, to split 
one's sides with laughter. 
Lit. 'to shake up one's boy '(tux ', * bowels*, 
with laughter. Cp. se bidonner. 
braise, n.f. *1. Bibs, oof, tin. 

A popular metaphorical appellation drawn 
from cooking : with braise. ' embers ' , ' live 
coal', one keeps the pot boiling. 

Plus de braise, pas de quoi boire 
une goutte ! (' No cash left, not even 
to have a drink ! ') (ZoLA, L'Assom- 
See flotte 2 (Hirsch). 

2. Eire sur la braise, To be on tenter- 

See also Appendix sub chat 1 and 

branche, n.f. 1. Avoir de la branche, To 
be elegant, distinguished-looking, to 
have dash. 

Lit. 'to be of noble descent', by allusion to 
one's genealogical ' branch '. Gyp uses the 
adjective branchu with the above force ; 
Maurice Donnay has branch^. 

Par exemple, il a de la branche, le 
vieux ! . . . Ah ! il n'y a pas a 
dire! ('There's no denying it!'). 
... Ilena! . . . Le Marquis est, 
a quatre-vingts ans, droit et mince 
comme un jeune homme (GYP, La 

2. Ma vieille (or Mon ancienne) branche, 
term of affection between men old 
bean, old fellow, old cock. 
Implying that an old friend is as closely 
attached as a branch to a tree. 

Bonjour, mon ancienne branche ! 
Est-ce qu'on dit encore a a Paris ? 
(F. DE CEOISSET, L'jffipervier). 
braille, n.m. 1. Mettre en branle or 
Donner le branle a, (of persons or 
things) To set a-going, to set in motion. 
Lit. 'to set swinging'. 

2. Ouvrir or Mener le branle, To set the 
ball going, to take the lead (in). 
This phrase originates in the branle or 
branle gai, an old-fashioned dance led by a 
couple whose movements are repeated by the 
following couples. 

Lo due fut stupefait a sa vue au 
point d'en perdre la parole, et c'est 
lui-meme qui dut ouwir le branle en 
disant : Monsieur le due m'a fait 
demander (A. HERMANT, Cadet de 

braque, adj. Crazy, barmy, daft. 
Lit. ' brach % * pointer *. 

Un grand et maigre garon, aux 

cheveux incultes, tout de noir vetu, 

tres rape", Fair un peu braque (F. 

CoppJiE, La petite Papetiere). 

bras, n.m. 1. A tour de bras or A bras 

raccourci, With all one's might, with 

might and main, violently, vigorously. 

These expressions are used with verbs like 

battre, f rapper ; the first indicates that the 

arm rises and falls uninterruptedly, thus 

describing a tour or * circle ' ; the second 

implies that the arm is bent and extended 

(lit. ' foreshortened *) in order to hit more 


II ouvre son, epinette et tape 
dessus a tour de bras : un vacarme a 
ne pas entendre Dieu tonner ! (V. 


CHBRBTJLIEZ, L*Avent'urc de Ladislas 

2. Avoir le bras long, (fig.) To have great 
influence, great credit. 

3. Avoir les bras rompus, To be over- 
whelmed with fatigue. 

4. Bras dessus, bras dessous, Arm-in-arm. 

Et, bras dessus, bras dessous, 
le*gers comme nos escarcelles (' wal- 
lets ', 'purses'), nous nous mimes 
en route pour le Quartier-Latin (A. 
DATJDET, Le petit Chose). 

5. Gasser (or Oouper or JRompre) bras et 
jambes a guelqu'un e.g. Ceta me casse 
(me coupe, me rompt) bras ct jambes, 
That astounds, staggers, flabbergasts 

Cette revelation lui cassa bras et 
jambes a l'6gal d'tmo vole*e de coups 
do trique (' cudgel ') (G. COURTB- 
LINE, JBoubouroche). 

6. Les bras m'cn tombent, I am. struck 
dumb with surprise, 1 am aghast, 
astounded. Similarly Los bras m'cn 
$ont tombts, 1 was astounded, amazed, 

(treat surprise Is sometimes expressed hy the 
KMturo of lotting the arms fall along tho sides, 
as if one were bereft of all strength. 

Et alors, on raoonto quo la 
premiere fois qu'ollo s'est vuo comme 
$a dans une glace . . . JB/Ue n^cn 
revenait pas (' She could not got 
over it'). Les bras lui en sont 
tomb&s (H. LA VET) AN, Nocturnes), 

7. Saisir (or Prendre) quelquhm a bras le 
corps, To seize some one round the 
waist (e.g. in a struggle). 

Alors, Eleude la prtt a bras le, corps 
et la porta dans la voiture (JT. 
BIOHEHK, Miarka). 

8. Sur les bras (fig.) e.g. Avoir sur les 

bras, (of things and persons) To have 
on one's hands, to have to support, to 
bo troubled, encumbered with. Avoir 
beaucoup d'affaires sur les bras, To bo 
very busy indeed, to have many con- 
cerns in hand. Avoir plusieurs en- 
fonts sur les bras, To bo burdened with 
several children. Se mettre' (or $'otf- 
tirer) sur les bras, To bring upon one- 

II fallait survoillor, crier, punir. 

. . . J'avais tout le college sur les 

bras. C J e"tait terrible (A. DAXTDBT, 

Le petit Chose). 

bredouille, adj. Mevenir bredouitte* (of 

62 foretonnant 

sportsmen) To return with an empty 
bag ; (generally) to return empty- 
handed, disappointed, to have mado 
an unsuccessful attempt, to come back 
as one went. Eire brcdouillc, To be 
beaten, to have failed completely. 
Se couclicr brcdouille, To go to bod 

From the verb bredoniller (lit. 'to sputter *' 
" to stammer ') in its figurative sense of * to bo 
in a predicament'. 

Es'cn retournait, ponaud (* sheep- 
ish ') commo un chasseur qui review t 
brcdouillc (E. "Ron, Ulncendie). 
teolique-breloque, adv. Without order, in 

An imitative expression, consisting of tho 
repetition ol tho same word with a slight 
modification in the ending; cp. de brie ct 
de broo, cahin-caha, etc. 

Ibreloque, ./. JBattre la brdoqne, (fig.) To 
talk at random, to ramble. 
ftreloquv denotes piimarJy a 'trinket' or 
* charm " hung at tin* end of a ribbon or 
watch-chain. By analogy with tho danslintf 
motion of such objects, tho expression btittra 
la- brdoyuG was applied to the. jerky signal 
sounded on the drums to ^ive Hoidlors the 
order to disperse, and th<-n figurutivoly with 
the above mcanini;. 

Ton imagination cst livrco a ollo- 
memc ello hat la brctoqnc^ et suit 
son propro train, qui cab naturelle- 
ment vertigineux (A. 

Mais nous baftons la 
roveuons i\ la question ( H. LAVED AN, 

n.f. Playing-card, e.g. Manicr 
bremes, To play cards. Maquillcr 
les br times, To bo a carclsharper, to 
'lake tho broads'. 
Lit. ' bream*, a Hat fish. 
bretonnant, adj. Is said of those parts of 
Brittany and of those Bretons who 
have preserved their old language and 
primitive customs e.g. un JBreton 
brctonnant, la Brctagne bretonnante. 

Pont-l'Abbe est la villc la plus 
brctoimo do touto cetto Brctagtic- 
bretonnantc, qui va do la pointo clu 
Ra% an Morbihan (MAU PASHA NT, Un 

By analogy with the phrase meuUesmeublants, 
'household furniture', there has arisen a 
construction in which we Und names of towns, 
countries and peoples coupled with an 
adjective formed front the present participle 
of a fictitious verb o.R. un Breton bretonnant* 
la EretagtiB brattimiantft, un(&) Pari8i$n(nft) 
parwiennant(e) t &TQ&l Parisian, one who knows 
the town and life of Paris; un Flamand 
flamingant, a Fleming of tho old stock, who 




acts as a true patriot. Similarly with certain 
nouns denoting condition or status, in which 
case the adjective stresses, as it were, the 
connotation of the noun e.s. un bourgeois 
bourgeoisant, i.e. a bourgeois who has all the 
qualities and delects of his class. 
brie. DC, brie et de broc, By hook or crook 
e.g. faire sa> fortune de brie et de broc, 
to make one's iortuno by hook or crook. 
This imitative expression is said of anything 
which is composed of bits and pieces picked 
up any where, here and there. Op. bnc-d-brac, 
' odds and ends for sale '. 

J'ai su, un pen de brie et de broc, 
toutes tcs anciennes histoires avec 
Costard (H. LAVED AN, Le nouveau 
*bjleli(e)toll, n.m. Bread. 

Military slang ; a diminutive of the Norman 
word brichet, a loaf of one or two pounds, 
specially made for shepherds. 
brieole, n.f. Trifle, odd job. 

II lui restait a poser un chapiteau 
de cheminee, une bricole de rien du 
tout (ZOLA, L'Assommoir), 

Tu n'es cependant pas encore sur 
la paille ? (' reduced to beggary '). 
C'est tr&s beau chez toi, sais-tu 1 
En voila des bibelots ! Peuh ! des 
petites bricoles bien ordinaires. Qa 
fait de I'effet, comme 9a, parce que 
j'ai du gout, mais on n'en retirerait 
grand'chose (H. LAVEDAN, Leur 

bricoler, vb. intr. To do odd jobs, to 
potter about, to be a Jack-of-all- 


II 6tait tantot une chose, tant6t 
uno autre, on general a peu pres 
rien : il bricolait, ce qui ne con- 
stitute pas une profession tres dcfini 
(C. FABBEBE, Quatorze Histoires de 

bride? n.f. 1. A toute bride or A bride 
abattue, At full speed (lit. &ndfig.) 

2. Mettre (or Laisser) la bride sur le cou a 
qudqu*un or Ldcher la bride a quelqu'un, 
To give some one full liberty, to lot one 
do what he likes. 

By allusion to a horse which is given the rein. 

L'id6e qu'il lui laissait trop la 

bride sur le cou ( c that he was giving 

her too much rope ') lui vint (P. 


3. Tenir la bride haute a quelqu'un or 

Tenir quelqu'un en bride, To keep one 
under restraint, to keep a tight rein on 
some one. 

By allusion to a horse on a tight rein. 
*brif(f )e, n.f. Food, grub. 
See brlf(f)er. 

Us n'echangerent plus une parole 
tant que dura la briffe (J. K. HUYS- 
MANS, Les Scaurs Vatard). 
*brif(f)er, vb. tr. and intr. To eat, feed, 

An archaism which has survived in popular 
speech. Bnfer (for bifrer; cp. Provencal 
bifra and brifa ~ bdfrer) is attested as early 
as the thirteenth century (by its derivative 
brifaud, 'glutton'). 

Julie, dites a mon man qu'il se 
patine (' to get a move on '), parce 
que j'ai une envie de briffer qui 
ferait pleurer un enfant de dix mois 
(P. VEBEE, Les Rentrees). 
*brif (f )eton, n.m. Bread. 
brigand, n.m. Sometimes used familiarly 
as a term of friendly reproach e.g. 
Vieux brigand / You old scamp. Mon 
brigand de neveu, My rascally nephew, 
brimade, n.f. Practical joke, rag. 

See brimer. 

brimbal(l)er, vb. tr. To carry about, to 
cart about. 

Lit. *to cause to oscillate', 'to ring (bells)/ 
According to the D.<?., the origin of this 
word is uncertain, although the existence of 
bringuebale by the side of brimbale might 
incline one to take brimbaler as an abbrevia- 
tion of bringuebaler, and bringuebaler as an 
arbitrarily formed compound from the Pro- 
vencal bringa, 'to leap', and the Trench 
bailer , * to dance ' . Saine" an (Sources indigenes, 
II, p. 14) sees in brimballer an adaptation of 
bim-ban ' meant to imitate the sound of bells 
in motion. As for the synonym brinyuebaUer, 
he thinks it is due to the analogical influ- 
ence of the old verb trinqueballer, ' to ring 

II brimballa peu a peu, le matin, 
son mobilier et ses hardes (' clothes ') 
( J. K. HUYSMANS, Les Sosurs Vatard). 
brimer, vb. tr. To annoy, bully, rag. 

This verb, applied especially to the practical 
and often cruel jokes played on new-comers 
m the army or in the military schools, is a 
provincialism : at Maycnne brimer is * to 
b( j at% 'to torment', 'to punish* (from 
brime, 'lash of a whip') (S And! AN, Langaye 
parisien,, p. 441). Some see in. it a dialectal 
pronunciation of brumer, 'to be misty ' (cp. 
the Americanism *to haze'). 

Comment empechor un president 
ou un expert de favoriser qui leur 
plait et brimer les autres (B. Don- 
GEL&S, Le R&veil des Marts). 
brin, n.m. 1. Un beau brin defille, A fine 
slip of a girl, a bit of all right. Un 
beau brin d'homme, A tall, well-set 

By analogy with un beau brin d'arbre, ' a tall 
straight tree'. 

II se sentait venir une petite 
amiti< pour une niece du pere Cail- 




laud qui s'appelait Madelon et qui 
6tait un beau brin de fille (G. SAND, 
La petite Fadette). 

2. "Un brin (de), A bit, a little e.g. II rfy 
a pas un brin de vent, There is not a 
breath of wind. Attendez un brin, 
Wait a bit. Cp. bout 18. 
L'lt. ' blade (of grass) '. 

Y a-t-il moyen de causer un brin ? 
( c to have a little chat ') demanda 
Stiemie (R. BAZIN, De toute son Ame). 

See sehloffer (Zola). 

brindes, n.f. pi. Eire dans les brindes, To 
be drunk, tipsy. 
jBrinde, an old word originally meaning a 

* glass for drinking a toast ', and then the toast 
itself, goes back, like the corresponding Italian 
bnndisi, to the dialectal German ich bring 
dir's, lit, ' J bring it (the glass) to you ', i.e. 

* I drink this toast to you *. 

*brindezlngues, n.f. pi. Eire dans les 
brindezingues = JStre dans les brindes. 
One also linds etre brindezingue, etre en 

Probably a combination of brinde, and otzinc 
in the sense of ' counter of public-house * , 
On s'&tait reuni pour porter une 
sant6 au conjungo (* marriage '), et 
non pour se mettre dans les brinde- (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
bringue, n.f. Une grande bringue, A tall, 
gawky girl or woman, big gawk. 
The word is the aame as the riding-school 
term bringue, * ungainly horse *, and both are 
of provincial origin : in Berry, for example, 
bringue denotes both a * jade ', * hack % and a 
'tall, xmgainly woman' (SAittiUN, L&ngage 
parisien, pp. 294-5). 

Madame Boche va leur dormer 
cong6 ('notice to quit '), & elle et & 
sa grande bringue de soeur (ZoLA, 

bringuebal(l)er or brmqueballer, vb. intr. 
To sway to and fro, to dangle, to 
bucket about the place. 
See note to brimbal(l)er. 

La malhoureuse jambe pendait, 
bring mbalait, comme un membro 
de pantin mal ajuste" (G-. DUHAMEL, 

brio, n.m. Avoir du brio, To have spirit, 
dash, a dashing style. 
Properly a musical term ; from the Italian 
Mo, 'animation*. 

See crachpir (Courteline). 
brioche, n.f. ffaire une brioche To make 
a blunder. 

Lit. a kind of cake. The story goes that the 
musicians of the Qpdra fixed a fine for each 
mistake made and the proceeds went to buy 
a brioche which was eaten in common. The 
public madef Tin of this practice, and used to 

say II fait une brioche whenever a mistake 
was made. The custom disappeared, but the 
saying remained. 

*brique, n.f. Manger (or Jttouf/er) des 
briquet!, To have nothing to eat. 

J'ai pas a meplaindre, ca va. . . , 
J'suis un homme, et e'est pas 
d' avoir bonffe des briquet tu peux 
in'croire (Jb\ CARGO, Lett Innocents). 
briquet, n.m. Battre le briquet, To knock 
one's ankles together as one walks. 
LiL ' to strike Hint and steel ' (to obtain a 

Tu cs encore belle au clair de luno, 
puisque cet iniirme qui se met deux 
paletots, Fun sur Taut re, bat le 
briquet pour te rattrapor quand tu 
eniiles (* walk down ') lo boulevard 
(J. K. HUYSMAKS, Les jS&ur# 
briscard, n.m. Old soldier, veteran. 

Lit. one with brisqms, * long-service .stripes *. 
n.f. pi. 1. jSitivre lev brisecs de 
quelqu'un, To follow in some one's 
footsteps, to follow some one's exam- 
ple, to take a leaf out of some one's 

ftrisfos (from hriser, ' to break ') are small 
branches broken from trees and dropped by 
the hunter on the ground to mark the lair or 
track of a beast. 

2. Alter (or Courir or Marcher) sur les 
bribes de quelqi^w^ To try to oust 
some one, to compete with, enter into 
rivalry with, pursue the same game as, 
poach on somo one's preserves. 
The implication is that one hunter takes 
advantage of the bnsfon left by another. 

Je croyais, je vous 1'ai dit, quo 
vous aviez des vues sur elle ; alors 
jo no voulais pas 'marcher sur vos 
brisees (M. ABLANB, Les Amcx en 

briser, vb. intr. Xtrwowt la / Let us have 
no more of that, That will clo, Lot us 
drop the subject, Let us leave off, 
Enoxigh of that. 

Elliptical for Itrisow cctentretien M, * Let us 
break off this conversation *. 

Bile fit avee son cventail un geste 
qui signifiait : assess, br'wons Id / ( V. 
CHBKBULITSZ, L'Aventure dc, LadiMas 

l^risquard or brisquart, n.w. briseard. 
brisque, n.m. or /. Un vienx (or Une, 

meille) brisque ~ briscard. 
bxochette, n./. Clever quelqu'un d la 
brochette, To bring somo one up daintily, 
tenderly, with too much care. 
Properly * to bring up a bird by hand % 



brochette denoting a Uttle stick used for push- 
ing the food into the beaks o young birds. 
oder, vb. intr. To exaggerate, to 
romance, to draw tlie long bow. 
Lit. 'to embroider*, and so to embellish, 
to amplify a story or account. The word 
is also applied to people who, when singing 
or playing, add embellishments of their own 
to the music. 
*]broqisil!e, n.f. Minute. 

This word has passed into popular speech 
from the argot of thieves, and was used by 
the soldiers during the War. 

Dans cinq broquilles, si tu ne re- 
viens pas avoc la lettre, c'est bibi qui 
mont la chercher (C. H. HIESOH, 
Le Tigre et Coquelicot). 
bross^e, n.f. Tnrashing, dressing down 
e.g recevoir une brossee, to get a lick- 
ing. See brosser 1. 

Grosser. 1. vb. tr. To thrash, give a 
licking, dressing down (to). 
Lit. 'to brush'; cp. 'to dust some one's 
jacket for him '. 

2. Be brosser (le ventre\ To go without 
food, and, by e&tension, to have to do 
without something desired e.g. II 
faudra nous brosser (le venire), We 
shall have to do without, We shall have 
to tighten our belts. Tu peux te 
brosser 1 Don't you wish you may get 

Se brosser le venire was originally said of one 
who has finished a meal and brushes the 
crumbs off his person as he gets up, so that 
Vous pouvez vous brosser le venire implies : 
Your meal IB over, you will get no more ; 
shake your serviette and be off. 

Ello avait le cceur tout gonfle, en 
ne voulant pas avouer qu'elle se bros- 
sait le venire dcpuis la veille (ZOLA, 

broiiillamini, n.m. Disorder, muddle, 

A corruption by popular etymology of the 
Latin genitive formula boli armemi, formerly 
used m medical recipes (in French bol 
d'Armdnie, a kind of reddish clayey earth 
sent from the East). Under the influence 
of brouitter, ' to mix % * to jumble % the word 
came to denote ' confusion *. 
brouillard, n.m. Eire dans les brouillards, 

To be drunk. 

ouHle, n.J. Disagreement, coohiess, tiff 
e.g. &tre en brouille avec g^uelg/u'un, to 
have fallen out with a person. II y a 
brouille entre eux, They have had a tiff. 
brouiller, se. Se brouitter (avec) or Sire 
brouille (avec), To quarrel, fall out, 
have a tiff (with). Can also be used 
with abstract nouns e.g. se brouiller 
avec la justice, to get into trouble with 
the law (i.e. to b imprisoned, fined, 


etc.). II est brouille avec la verite, He 
is a liar (lit. ' he has fallen out with, 
will have nothing to do with, the 
truth '). 

On avait invit6 tous les parents 
des deux families, on s'etait raccom- 
mode avec les amis brouilles, on avait 
ecrit a des connaissances perdues de 
vue depuis longtemps (FLAUBERT, 
Madame Bovary). 

See diafole B (Courtehne). 
forouta, n.m. Speech. 

Slang of the school of Saint Cyr ; from the 
name of a former professor there, Brouta, an 
excellent orator. See lams, 
brontasser, vb. intr. To make a speech. 

From brouta. 

bruit, n.m. II n'est bruit gue de . . ., 
People talk of nothing but . . ., The 
talk is all about . . . 
Lit. ' there is noise (i.e. rumour, report) only 
of . . .* 

II n'etait bruit dans la ville que 
des amours de la belle Irma avec 
1'officier (MAUPASSANT, Le Lit 29). 
_J, adj. Eire brule f To be done- for, 
finished, bust up, to be known, found 
out (so that one can no longer carry 
on one's activities, e.g. as a swindler, 
sharper, borrower, etc.). 
Lit. ' to be burnt '. JBnller un agent amongst 
thieves or criminals means that a policeman's 
disguise has been seen through, and the 
policeman is then said to be br&U. The use 
of the word in the above sense may have been 
borrowed from certain games of cards in 
which $tre brtiU denotes that a player is out 
of the game through having exceeded a 
certain number of points. 

Je ne puis plus emprunter, je mis 
MZ^partout (R. COOLTJS, Les JSleus). 
See balai 2 (Maupassant). 
brfile-gueule, n.m. Pipe with short stem, 

brftle-pourpoint, a, adv. Point-blank (lit. 


Properly to fire at such close quarters that the 

shot burns the pourpoint^ ' doublet ' , ' jerkin '. 

C'est une effroyable et admirable 

chose qu'un incendie vu d brule- 

pourpoint (* at close quarters ') 

(V. Htrao, Le RTiin). 

Je suis mourante, et vous me 
brutalisez de compliments a brule- 
jpourpoint sur ma fraicheur et mon 
air de saute" (T. GATJTIEB, Jean et 

forftler. 1. vb. tr. To pass through with- 
out stopping e.g. bruler une station 
(of a train,) bruler une etape, to pass 
through a halting-place. The verb 



can be used thus with the name of a 

Son mari revenait d'Espagno 
d'une seule traite : il avait brule 
Bordeaux: ou il devait se reposor 
une demi-journee (H. BOBDEAHIX, 
U$cran brise). 

Comme nous avions perdu un pen 
de temps, le capitaino resolut do 
bruler Alme*ria et de pousser tout 
d'un trait jusqu'a Carthagene (T. 
GAUTIER, Voyage en Espagne). 
2. vb. intr. To be very near finding it 
(i.e. the hidden thing or solution in 
such games as ' hunt the thimble ', 
etc.), to be * hot ' or * burning '. 

Devinez ! Je veux bien, dit 

BouletabUle, je commence : Mes- 

sieurs, il ne vous restait point de 

provisions ? Aucune ! Vousn'etes 

pas sortis de la karakoule ? Nous 

n'en soramcs pas sortis ! Ces 

provisions etaient done dans la kara- 

koule sans quo nous le sachions ? 

J7 brule/ fit La Candour (G. 

LEEOTJX, Le Ghdteau noir). 

brune, n.f. A (or Sw) la brune, Towards 

dusk. Cp. entre chien et loup under 

ehien 14. 

La drone is used in the countryside for * dusk' , 
for the time when il commence & faire brun. 
Ils s'assirent, d la brune, dans la 
salle enfumee d'uno gargote ( c low 
eating-house ') de la rue Mont- 
martro (A. FRANCE, Jocaste). 
Braxelles, proper name. Filer sur J3ru%- 
elles Filer en Belgique. 
Lit. *to make for Brussels'. 

Car vous pouvez oonfior un porte- 
feuille gonfl6 do billets do mille 
francs It tout hommo ainsi vSbu et 
coiffc" . . , sans que jamais ou, 
du moins, 1'accident ost extreine- 
ment rare Fhommo en drap gris 
bleu ait 1'idee de filer sur Bruxelles 
par lo rapide (If. COPPBB, Les 
fliancts de Noel). 
*bu, adj. Brunlc, tipsy, tight. 

Past participle of boire, * to drink *. 

See nez 4 (Brieux). 

bflehe, n.f. 1. Stupid person, fathead, 
JAt. 'log'. 

2. Kamasser une (or la) bttche, To fall 
down, to come a cropper, a mucker 

II a memo mis do 1'argent dans 
des combinaisons impossibles pour 

que j'y entre avec lui et que 30 
ramasse la buche (R. DORGELES, 

bficher. 1. vb. tr. and intr. To work 
hard, plod, swot (at), grind (for an 
examination) e.g. II bticfie son latin 
(or son cxamen), He is swotting at his 
Latin- (or for his examination). Ce 
qne fai buche pendant Ics vacances 1 
How I swotted during the holidays ! 
School slang ; to woik like a bttckc.ron, * wood- 

En bonnes cloves, vous avez 
buche vos manuels (G. REVAL, Les 

*2. vb. tr. To strike, beat, baste. Se 
bucher, To corne to blows, to slip 
into one another. 
Lit. * to rough-hew a lop; of wood ". 
bficheur, n.m. and adj. Studious or hard- 
working person, a plodder, * swot ' . 
rom btlcher 1. 

buffet, n.m. *1. Stomach e.g. Je rtai 
rien a me mettre dans le buffet* I've 
nothing to put into my gullet, locker. 
J*ai le buffet vide, My bread-box is 

Lit. 'sideboard', where the food is kept. 
Military slang. 

2. Danser devant le b u//et f To have nothing 
to eat. 

Et Ics pauvres metayers, quand 
viendra lo moment do payer leur 
forme, ce sera la grand' diablerie 
pour eux ! Ite danseront dcvant le 
buffet, confirma Honor6 (JE. BAU- 
MANN, La Posse anx Lions). 
buisson, Faire (or Troiwer) buisson 
creux, To draw a blank, to find the 
bird flown. 

Lit. ' to ilnd the bush empty *. Properly a 
hunting term. 

Mile en fut pour scs pdntw (* She 
had her trouble for nothing ') ot fit 
buisson creux (V. CHBRBXTLrBfi;, Mws 
Mov el). 
*burllilgue, n.m. Office. 

Popular deformation of bureau. 
but,, n.m. De but en blanc y Point-blank, 
abruptly, bluntly. 

Prom the artillery phrase tirer de but PII blanc, 
" to fire point-blank * (lit. to fire from the 
JUring-plaee at the target, tho blanc being the 
\vhite mark in the centre of tho target). 

On jour, pousse a bout, j'allai 
trouver Roger, le mattro d'armes, 
ot, de but en blanc, jo lui de"clarai ma 
resolution de me mosuror aveo le 
marquis (A. DAI/BET, Lepetit Chose). 
buverie, n.f. = beuverie. 



, -. Familiar contraction of cela. 

1. Neuter cela, especially in the con- 

tracted lorm ga, and also ce, are often 
applied, mostly in familiar speech, 
to persons already mentioned. With 
reference to grown-up persons, such a 
use generally has disparaging or con- 
temptuous force ' that fellow ', * that 
person ', * such people ' but applied 
to children, it has not this implication 
and may even indicate sympathy, 
affection e.g. a mother may say of 
her child Vous voyez comme on est 
attachee a ca. 

Mais elle ! oh ! la I la I ga n'a 1'air 
de rien, c'est petit, c'est maigre ; eh 
Men ! c'est plus malfaisant qu'une 
fouine (' pole-cat ') (MAUPASSANT, 
Le Trou). 

Mais ces gens-la, je m'en moque, 
ga n'existe pas (H. BERNSTEIN, 

2. The neuter ga or cela is often added in 
familiar speech to intcrrogatives like 
qui f quand, comment, pourquoi, ou, and 
to exclamations like bow,, bien, in 
order, as it were, to give a little more 
body ' to the reply. Its force is to 
represent the content of the statement 
to which the reply refers. 

On Fa tu6. Ou ca ? Dans la 
haie. Quand ga ? II y a trois 
jours. Qui ca ? Je no sais pas 
(V. HUGO, Quatre-vingt-treize). 

Etes-vous bon ? Oui. Par ex- 

emple ? Une preuve ? J'ai cinq 

chiens. Beaux ? Aff reux. Dont 

trois ramasscs dans la rue. Bien, 

ga \ (H. LAVEDAN, Leurs Sosurs). 

N.B. This appositive ga is so customary 

with the above-mentioned interroga- 

tives that it is often added even when 

there is really BO need for such support. 

Oh ! quel bonheur ! Vous m'en- 

leverez ? Quand $0, m'enl&verez- 

vous ? (MATJPASSAHT, Bel- Ami}. 

*3. Avoir de ga, like en avoir (see^ avoir 2), 

may vary in meaning according to the 

context, but its most frequent use is in 

the sense of Ho have money', 'to 

be well off '. Cp. avoir de guoi ; see 

quoi 3 (b). 

4. O'est ca (cela), expresses approval, 
agreement : That's it, That's right 
e.g. Je preparerai ce qu'il faut. C'est 

cela. I'll make the necessary prepara- 
tions. That's right. The emphatic 
form is C'est bien ga (cela). 

5. II n'y a que ga (cela) J There's nothing 

like it ! 

Ah ! mes enfants, qu'il fait bon 
chez vous ! declara Therould assis 
par terre, le dos au poele. La 
famille, il n'y a que ga \ (P, ET V. 
MARGUERITTE, Les Trongons du 

6. C'est toujours ga, elliptical for C'est 

toujours ga de gagne. See gagner 1 and 
autant 3. 

*7. Comme ga (lit. ' Like that ') is often 
added in popular speech as a kind of 
reservation e.g. II m'a dit comme ga 
qu'il allait venir. 

8. Faire ga = Faire I' amour. See amour 2. 
a ! inter j. Ah/g&/is used to arrest atten- 
tion or has the force of a protest. Its 
English equivalents are variable and 
will depend on the context: Well, 
why, what, I say, oh ho ! etc. 
This $ is an adverb of place, as in $d et Id, 

Ah! ga ! Mademoiselle . . . que 
croyez-vous done ? . . . pour qui 
me prenez-vous done ? (0. MIR- 
BEATJ, Le Journal d'une Femme de 

See lapin 4 (Hermant). 
'eabane, n.f. Attiger la cabane : see 

attiger 2. 
cabinet, n.m. W.C. e.g. Aller au cabinet. 

Elliptical for cabinet d'aisances* 
caTboclie, n.f Noddle, pate, nob e.g. 
avoir la cobocke dure t to be obstinate or 

A derivative from Lat. caput ; caboche is a 
Picard form of cabosse, ' cocoa-nut '. 
eafeosser, vb. tr. To dent, batter e.g. 
Son chapeau est cabosse, His hat is 

From bosse, ' hump *, ' dent * ; a borrowing 
from the Lyonnais vocabulary, in which it 
has the same meaning. 

Bidons cabosses, gamelles meur- 
tries, bouillottes sans anses (J. K. 
HTJYSMAN-S, Marthe). 
calbot, n.m. 1. Dog, tyke, cur. 

Properly a small-sized dog, the meaning of 
the word in the Yonne district. In the 
Anjou and Lyons regions it denotes a mis- 
chievous little dog. 

Son chien s'elanca avec des aboie- 
ments furieux dans les jambes de 
quelqu'un. Une voix sonore vitu- 
p4 ra , ^As-tu fbai, espece de sale 



cabotl infect kleb (' dog * ; = cleb) 

de bicot I (M. HARKY, La divine 


*2. Corporal, lance- jack. 

Military slang; cp. chien 12. Also called 
ctibji, a form due to the African troops who 
borrowed the suffix ji (or dgi s gi] from the 

C'est moi le cabot. Venez, on est 
cantonn6 au bout du patelin (' vil- 
lage ') (B. DOBGEK&S, Les Groix de 

3. = eabotin. 

eabotin, n.m. Strolling-player, third-rate 
actor, mummer. 
This contemptuous expression for actors came 
into being in the early nineteenth century and 
is probably an allusion to cabot 1. Some 
think it may come from the verb caboter, ' to 
ply in the coasting trade', by a comparison 
between the actors who travel from town to 
town and the ships which ply from port to 
port. The noun is also applied, by extension, 
to public men who * play to the gallery * in 
order to attract attention e.g. les cabotins 
de la pohtique. 

cabotinage,w.m. I. Life or style of acting 
of a cakotln. 

2. Affectation, lack of sincerity, playing 
to the gallery. 

II releva sur moi un coil pitoyable. 
Sa main avait derange ses cheveux. 
Pas d'appr&b, certes, en cette mim- 
ique. Je le savais incapable d'aucun 
cabotinage (H. BOYLESVE, Souvenirs 
du Jar din detruit). 

caboulot, n.m. Little, low public-house or 

A provincial borrowing, meaning 'little 
hovel ', * poor abode % in the Bresse district, 

caea, n.m. (Child's word) 1. Excre- 
ment e.g. Fair e caca, To do one's jobs. 

2. C'est (du) caca, It's dirty, nasty, dan- 
gerous (do not touch it) e.g. Jetez 
cela 9 c'est (du) caca> Throw that away, 
it's dirty. 

cachet, n.m. 1. Avoir du cachet, (of things 
or persons) To have style, to be stylish. 
Equivalent to avoir un cachet de distinction, 
' to have the stamp of distinction *. 

2. Courir le cachet, To give private lessons 
at the pupils' residence. 
This expression, which generally has disparag- 
ing force, implying that a person has to eke 
out his living by these means, arises from the 
custom according to which the father of a 
pupil handed to the teacher, at the end of 
each lesson, a little card bearing a cachet or 
stamp. After a certain number of lessons, 
the teacher would receive his fees in exchange 
for the cards. Thus the word cachet came 
to denote the card itself e.g. donner dee 
ns au cachet. 
Je saurai me tirer tfajfaire. Je 

trouverai, je courrai le cachet, s'il le 
faut (BBIEUX, La Femme senle). 
cacique, n.m. 1. Candidate at the top of 
the list at the iftcole Normals Super- 
2. Head-master. 

This humorous appellation is an allusion to 
the caciques, the old Mexican native chiefs. 
*cadavre, n.m. *1. Body e.g. promener 

son cadavre, to lounge about. 
*2. Empty wine-bottle. 
cadet, n.m. C'est le cadet de mes soucis, 
That is the least of my troubles (cares), 
That is the last thing I worry about. 
ML ' It is the youngest (hence the least) of my 
cares '. 

Qu'on le croie ou non, c'es le cadet 
de mes soucis (AUGIER ET SANDEATT, 
Le Gendre de M. JPoirier). 
See asslette 2 (Copp6e). 
eafard, n.m. 1. Low spirits, blues, hump 
e.g. Avoir le cafard or un sale ca/ard, 
To have (To got) the hump, to be down 
in the damps, to have (to be in) the 

Lit. ' black-beetle ' or ' cock-roadi '. The 
expression originated in military slang, in 
which it denotes the spleen engendered by 
barrack life. Cp. in Uafcworthy's short story 
entitled " Cafard"' : * JIo had " cafard" 
the little black beetle in the brain, which 
gnaws and eats and destroys all hope and 
heaven in a man *. 

Touto sa joio est en surface ; s'il 
chante, c'est pour no pas succomber 
& ce redoutable cafard, qui les range 
tous, plus ou moins, dans ces regions 
isole"es (M. HAKKY, La dioine 

See clefos (Vautel), louftingue 

2. One who peaches, a sneak, toll-tale. 
Lit. * hypocrite ' ; a familiar, extended 

cafarder, vb. intr. To peach, to (be a) 
sneak, tell talcs, to *tcll'. 
Prom cafard 2. 

Maman parlait de ca/arder au 
pere. . . . Moi, je lui ai fait la le&on. 
. . . Et, mon Dieu! olio t'on a dit 
moins qu'elle n'avait le droit, cetto 
brave mere ! (C. H. HTUSCH, Nini 

caf~eonce or eaf cone*, n.m. Concert- 
hall where drinks are sold. 
Abbreviation of c&fd-concert. 
cafe", n.m. I. C*est (un peu) fort de cafe, 
(cela), That is hard to believe or That's 
coming it (too) strong. Mle est fort de 
caf& f celle-la t That's a bit too thick 



(Mle here stands for a fern, noun like 
affaire, chose, histoire, plaisanterie). 
This expression probably arises from the fact 
that people who drink coffee with milk or 
cream say that it is trop fort or trap charge 
de caf6 when there is insufficient milk or 
cream in it. 

All bien, ils sont gentils, vos 
parents ! Comment I voila vingt 
jours, oui, ce matin, il y a vingt 
jours que vous etes a la mort, et 3s 
ne sont pas encore vemis savoir de 
vos nouvelles \ C'est un $>eu fort de 
cafe, cela /(BALZAC, Le Cousin Pons). 
Ah I ca, par exemple ! s'ecria le 
brave Quetaud, il vous a racont6 
ca ? C'est un peu fort de cafe (P. 
BOTJRGET, Nos Actes nous suivent). 
2. Donner un mauvais cafe a quelqtfun, To 

administer poison to a person. 
*eafoniller, vb. intr. = bafouiller. 
*eagna, n.f. *1. Dug-out (in the 

Sain6an (Langage parisien, p. 535) says that 
the word comes from the Savoy and Swiss 
cagna,, ' hiding-place ' (really a hole in which 
dogs take shelter). The word was carried to 
the colonies by the Zouaves, who mostly hail 
from the provinces, and was thus propagated 
in military slang. 

Dans une etroite cagna a ras 
de terre, tine bougie s'alluma (R. 
DORGEL&S, Les Croix de Bois). 
*2. Home. 

A modern extended use of 1. 

Oui, oui. Tu vas circuler dans la 
journ^e, mais tu rentres a la cagna 
tons los soirs. Ah ! tu es bien tenu ! 
(CoL-ETTE, La Fin dc Cheri). 
cahin-caha, adv. Alter caJiin-caha, To 
rub along quietly, to jog along, (of 
health) to be only so-so e.g. Sa sante 
va cahin-caka, He is only so-so in 

According to the !>.$., this phrase seems to 
be a corruption of the Latin qua, hinc> qua hac, 
and means lit. 'xinequally', 'imperfectly', 
*limpingly*. Saine*an (Sources inaig&nes, 
II, p. 17) sees in it an imitative term repre- 
senting a jerky motion and denoting 'with 
difficulty % ' very slowly ' (fifteenth century, 
cahu-caha) , alongside cahot, jolting of a vehicle. 
*caille, n.f* Avoir quelgu'un a la caille, To 
dislike a person e.g. Je les ai a la 
caille, They get on my nerves, they get 
my back up. 
Lit. ' a quail *. 

J'm'e^ fais pas pour les embusquls 
(* I don't worry about the sliirkers } ) 
. . . mais oil f les ai d la caille, c'est 
quand i'crdnent ( c they put on side ") 
(H. BAEBTJSSE, Le Feu). 

*caillou, n.m. *1. Head, skull, block 
e.g. Un caillou deplume 9 A bald head, 
a bladder of lard. See mousse. 
Lit. "stone 1 , 'pebble*. 

*2. Gasser des cailloux, To be in a penal 

Military slang ; lit. ' to break stones *. See 
note to biribi. 

caiman, n.m. Usher at the EcoU Normale 

A humorous appellation; lit. 'cayman* or 
^ ' alligator *. 

Caiphe, proper name. Renvoyer quelqu'un 
(or Etre r envoy e) de GalpJie a Pilate, To 
drive (send) a person (or To be driven) 
from pillar to post. 

By allusion to the hesitation of Caiaphas 
during the Passion of Christ (see St. John 
xviii.). The active form is said of persons 
who, having at their disposal a favour or 
service, send the applicant from one to 
another, while the passive form is applied to 
a person xeterred to some one who will give 
him the same reply as he received from the 
one who sent him. There are two variants 
of the expression : (a) renwyer guelgu'un de 
Ponced, Pilate, which is erroneous, since Ponce 
and Pilate are one and the same person; 
(6) renvoyer quetyu'un d'&frode d Pilate, a 
version referring to St. Luke xxiii. 
caisse, n.f. *1. Guard-xoonx, clink. La 
grosse caisse, Military prison. Faire 
de la grosse (caisse). To be put in clink. 
Lit. ' box *, ' chest * ; cp. bolte 2. 
*2. Stomach e.g. n'avoir rien aufond de la 
caisse, not to have eaten anything. 
Cp. English ' bread-box *. 
3. Sattre la grosse caisse, To advertise 
loudly and lavishly. 
Lit. ' to beat the big drum * ; by allusion to 
mountebanks and quacks at village fairs, 
caisson, n.m. Se faire sauter le caisson, 
To blow one's brains out. 
A military phrase which has passed into 
familiar speech ; caisson means lit. * ammuni- 
tion-waggon', which saute (i.e. 'explodes') 
when the powder catches fire. A variant is 
se faire sauter le plafond (plafond, ' ceiling ', 
being used familiarly for * head ', ' skull'). 

Vous vous tueriez ? Aimerais- 
tu mieux, me xepondit-il, me voir 
arrete, condamne, ray 6 des cadres 
do la Legion d'honneur ? . . . 
Sacho que jo n'ai plus qu'a me faire 
sauter le caisson (If. COPPBE, Le bon 

cale, n.j. Mre a fond de cale ; see fond 3. 
eal6, adj. 1. Clever, pioficient e.g. II 
est ires caU en matHmatigues, He is 
well up in mathematics. 

Je suis tres cole en anglais (H. 
BBRNSTBIK, Le Detour). 

See couper 2 (c) (Gyp). 
2. Well off, well to do, with plenty of the 




needful e.g. C'est un Jiomme cale, Oe 
sont des gens coles, He is a man (They 
are people) of substance. 

Et vous avez beaucoup d' argent ? 
. . . Pent-tee quinze mille francs 
. . . peut-etre plus . . . Mazettef 
(* My eye !')... vous e*tes caU, 
vous ! (0. MIRBEATT, Le Journal 
d'une Femme de Ghambre). 

See paille 3 (Lavedan). 
IFrom the verb cater, ' to prop up by means 
of a cale', 'wedge'; hence the notion of 
'material well- being*. The word has passed 
into school slang (1) with the force of * strong ', 
'sound', 'clever', as has also the compound 
reealer (<?..) 

*calembour, n.m. Insult, abuse e.g. en- 
wyer des calembours & quelgu'un, to 
slang a person, to call a person names. 
Lit. 'pun*. 

calendes, n.f. pi. Renvoyer quelgu'un (or 
quelque chose) aux calendes grecques, To 
put some one (or something) off in- 
definitely, till doomsday, 
.From the Latin ad calendas grwcas, a 
favourite expression of the Emperor Augustus, 
in the sense of 'never'. The calends 
were the first days of the month in the 
Roman calendar, and those days were 
fixed for the payment of debts. The Greek 
months had no calends, and thus arose the 
saying ad calendas qrcaccts solvere, to pay on 
the Greek calends, i.e. never. 
caier. *1. vb. tr. Se caler les joues or Se 
les caler (les standing for joues) or /Se 
la caler (la standing for bouche), To eat 
See note to ca!6. 

Lo resto du temps il se calait 
paisiblement les joues ( e he stuffed 
himself) avec des tartines de pain 
(G. COTJRTELINE, Les Gaietes de 

2. vb. intr. To funk, give in, not to be 
game e.g. Ne cole pas / Keep your 
beak (pecker) up ! Don't say die ! 
Cp. caner. 

From the nautical term caler, which means, 
as a tr. ?;?;., 'to lower* (a sail), and as an 
intr. vb. * to sink in the water * (of a boat). 

Depuis six mois je me disais 
chaque soir en me couchant : " f)a 
sera pour la semaine prochaine, sans 
faute." Et puis la semaine pro- 
chaine arrivait que j'e"tais toujours 
la. Tu calais (H. LAVEDAH, Noc- 

*caleter or calter, vb. intr. To run (go) 
away, decamp, hook it e.g. Je suis 
pressd, je caUte (pronounced calte), I'm 
in a hurry, I'm hopping it. Oaletez ! 
et en vitesse ! or Oaletez 1 et plus vite 

que ca / Hop it and double quick about 

See note to caler 2, from which the verb Is 

calfeutrer, se. To shut oneself up at 

Elliptical for se calfeutrer dans sa chambre, to 
stay in a room well calfeiitre*e,i.e, a room with 
all its chinks stopped up. Calfeutrer is a 
deformation of calfater (* to caulk'), which 
became calfeter, calfetrer, and then, under the 
influence of the word feutre, ' felt ', calfeutrer. 
callcot, n.m. Draper's assistant, counter- 

Lit. ' calico '. This disparaging nickname for 
employees in drapers' stores dates from the 
beginning of the nineteenth century. After 
the fall of Napoleon, the ex-soldiers of his 
armies enjoyed such consideration in civil life 
that people who had never smelt powder gave 
themselves martial airs in the hope of par- 
ticipating in this public esteem. It seems 
that shop-assistants were the worst culprits 
in this respect, and they soon became the 
butt of writeis of vaudevilles. Sciibc and 
Dupin ridiculed them in Le Combat des 
Montagnes, a kind of revue, in which one of 
the characters was M. Calicot, a draper. 
The indignant victims succeeded in having 
the play withdrawn, but it soon reappeared 
with an epilogue, Le Ca}4 des Varies, in 
which the authors endeavoured to placate 
their critics by some propitiatory verses. 
The affair was known as ta> guerre des Calicots. 
*calot, n.m. *1. .Eye, optic e.g. ribouler 
des calots, to roll one's eyes (with 
astonishment), to stare. Avoir les 
calots pocheSy To have black eyes (as 
the result of a blow), ltdugu&r des 
calots, To gaze, stare. 
By allusion to calot or callot, 'big stone 

Qu'est-ce que t'as a ribouler des 
calots commo un meulard (slang for 
* calf ') qu'on va saigner ? (C. H. 
HIRSOH, Le Tigre ct Coquelicot). 
*2. Forage cap. 

Military slang ; from calotte, 'skull-cap \ 
The word is also now used at the $col6 
Poll/technique for Mret, a kind of tam-o'- 
shanter cap. 

calotin, n.m. (Disparaging) Priest, par- 
son, sky-pilot. 

From calotte, the * skull-cap * worn by 
priests. By extension the word is also used 
of supporters or frequenters of priests. 
calotte, n.f. 1. Priests, clergy. A baa la 
calotte ! Down with the priests ! Down 
with clericalism ! Donner dans la ca- 
lotte, To side with the priests. 
See note to calotin. 

Mais le m^canicien, dans les 
dernier s temps (' of late *), 6tait de- 
venu un fidele habitu6 de ces 
"mfawgues" ('meetings') ou tous 
les discours sont ponctues du cri de : 




" A bas la calotte ! " II etait anti- 
clerical, parbleu, comme les amis 
(F. COPPEE, Un Enterrement civil). 
2. Box on the ear, slap in the face. 
calotter, vb. tr. To box on the ear. 
From calotte 2. 

See cnisse 1 (Lavedan). 
*calter, vb. intr, = caleter. 
*camaro, n.m. Eriend. Les camaros, 
One's pals, chums, mates. 
Corruption of camarade. 

*eamlbouis, n.m. Royal cambouis, Army 
Service Corps or a soldier of this corps. 
Military nickname for the train des Equipages; 
cambouis = lit. ' cart-grease '. 
camMoler, vb. tr. To break into a house, 
to burgle. 
See eambrioleur. 

See eomfole (A) 1 (Mirbeau), dos 1 

camMoleur, n.m. House-breaker, burg- 

From the slang word cambriole, 'house', 
' crib '. 

Camtoronne, proper name. Le mot de Oam- 
bronne, the coarse word (i.e. Merde/) 
supposed to have been uttered by 
General Cambronne at Waterloo when 
called upon to surrender with the last 
remnants of the Old Guard. (See V. 
HUGO, Les Miserables, Bk. 1, ch. XIV.) 
The heroic version of the story is that 
what he really said was "La garde 
meurt et ne se rend pas." The phrase le 
motde Oambronne or the name Cam- 
bronne alone is now used as a euphem- 
ism for the coarse word itself, which 
denotes * excrement ', and is used as 
an interjection to express anger, dis- 
appointment, contempt, strong re- 
fusal, admiration, etc. This is prob- 
ably the third word referred to, but 
not actually mentioned, by Sterne in 
his Sentimental Journey when he quotes 
diable / and peste / as two of the three 
terms of exclamation in the French 
language " which serve for every un- 
expected throw of the dice in life ". 
Some other euphemisms used for 
avoiding the word which the Romans 
called stercus are les cingf lettres, mince, 
mer . . . ci, miel (and emmieller and 
emmener a la campagne to avoid em- 

Le fran9ais de Oambronne sera 
acad6mique aupres du mien ( c com- 
pared to mine ') (MATTPASSANT, Bel- 

Le train s'arretait a toutes les 
gares, et frequentes fois entre deux 
gares. Partout Jean Gouin descen- 
dait. " Ou c'est-il done alors qu'on 
est, comme 9a ? " Les employes 
citaient Oambronne. Jean Gouin, 
satisfait de la r6ponse, remontait en 
wagon : " C'est des droles de noms 
qu'ils donnent a leurs patelins 
(' towns ') ici, ces sauvages ! " (C* 
FABEEEE, Quatorze Histoires de 

*eam!>rouse, n.f. Country, provinces ; 

An old argot word, originally used by fair-folk 
to denote a ' showman's booth * and then the 
spot on which it stood. Later it came to 
signify * countryside', 'provinces', and has 
survived in popular speech with the restricted 
meaning of banheue (SAIN^AN, Les Sources de 
I' Argot ancien, II, pp. 224, 303). 

La campagne ! La pure cam- 
brousel quelque part bien loin de 
toutes les sales usines ! (G. DTTHAMEL, 

*cambrousard or cambrousier, n.m. Peas- 
ant, rustic, clodhopper. 
See cambrouse. 
*cambuse, n.f. House (usually in a pejora- 
tive sense) e.g. C*e$t une cambme! 
It's a beastly hole I 

From the Dutch Jcdbuys (cp. English 
'caboose', cook's galley on a ship). The 
word originally denoted a store-room for food 
on board ship, and was then applied by 
extension to a low tavern. 

Qa ne nuit point, pour raconter 
une histoire comme Thistotre de la 
Luisa, que les murs de la cambuse 
n'aient pas d'oreilles (C. EARK&RE, 
Dix-sept Histoires de Marins). 

See bazar (Zola). 

camelot, n.m. 1. Hawker, cheap-jack. 
2. Les camelots du roi, Hawkers who sell 
newspapers which serve for royalist 
See note to camelote. 

camelote, n.f. 1. Cheap goods, worthless 
stuff, rubbish, shoddy (stuff) e.g. 
O'est de la camelote, It's regular trash. 
*2. Stuff in general (of good or bad quality) 
e.g. Fais voir ta camelote 1 Show us 
your stuff 1 

Camelot was formerly the name of a coarse, 
inferior stuff, which was also known as 
camelote. The latter form is now used to 
denote goods of any kind of cheap and 
mediocre quality, while camelot, after having 
been applied to the merchant who sold 
camelot, now designates the hawker who, 
especially on the boulevards of Paris, sells all 
kinds of articles at low prices. 




camouflage, n.m. Disguise, make-up. 
This word owes its extension to the War. 
It is derived from the verb camoufler, which 
belongs, or rather belonged, to the slang oi 
thieves and of the police, and denoted ' to 
dress oneself so as to avoid recognition *, ' to 
disguise oneself. 

*eamoufle, n.f. Candle, lamp, light e.g. 
Souffle la camoufle / Dowse the glim ! 
An old argot word which has passed into 
popular speech ma military slang. 

La camoufle, restee, eelair- 

ait sa defroque (ZOLA, L'Assommoir). 

camoufler, se. To disguise oneself, to 

make up one's face. 

camp, n.m. Ficher (or fiche, foulre, foitte) 
le camp, To decamp, make off, make 
tracks e.g. Fiche le camp / Hop it ! 
See ficher 1 (c). 

Modelled on lever l& camp, "to break up 
camp '. 

Ben (== bien), fictions Vcamp, puis- 
qu'y a plus rien. Mettons-les (' Let 
us be off '), mon pauv' vieux (H. 

See Tborne (Lavedan). 
campagne, n.f. 1. Battre la campagne, 
(fig.) (d) To wander about ; (b) (of in- 
valids) To rave, wander, bo delirious ; 
(c) To talk nonsense, ramble. 
Lit. * to scour the country * (of hunters or 

(a) Tons les jours, quelque temps 
qu'il fasse, pluie ou soleil, il bat la 
campagne (L. HALEVY, Les petites 

(b) Cinq jours de delire ! Je ne 
t'ai pas quitte d'une minute. . . . 
Tu battais la campagne tout lo temps 
(A. DAUDET, Le petit Chose). 

2. Mettre des gens en campagne f To get 
people to look out for a post for one. 
Se mettre en campagne, To canvass or 
look out for a post, to set to work, 
to get going. 

Lit. 'to take the field* (of an army), 'to 
start a campaign'. 

Travailler ! . . . Un horame du 
monde, bon a rien ! . . . Qui voud- 
rait F employer ? On met ses amis 
en campagne (3T. DE CTTREL, La 

Courage ! me disait Jacques, tu 
seras plus hettreux demain. Et, le 
lendemain, je me remettais en cam- 
pagne, arm.6 de mon manuscrit (A. 
DATJDET, Le petit Chose). 
*3. ISmmener quelqu'un a la campagne, Not 
to be afraid of a person or of what he 
may say, to despise, not to care for 

e.g. Je Vernmene a la campagne / He 
can go to the deuce for all I care ! 
campo or campos, n.m. Holiday, rest, 
relaxation, leave to go out e.g. don- 
ner campos aux ecoliers, to give the 
scholars a holiday. J'ai campos au- 
jourd'hui, I'm free to-day, It's my day 

From the sixteenth-century students' Latin 
phrase habere (ad) cameos, i.e. * to have per- 
mission to go to play in the fields *. See 
clef 1. 

Je crains que la legon n'ait <te 
trop courte, que le professeur no 
vous ait donne trop vit campos (V. 

CHERBTTtlEZ, M iss Rovel). 

Ma femme de chambr mo de- 
mandeun conge d'une semaine. . . . 
Je lui donnerai campos des demain 
(A. THEUEIET, Marie- Ange). 
canard, n.m. 1. False news, (newspaper) 
rumour, hoax. Lancer un canard. To 
start a rumour. 

This use of the word may come from the 
old phrase v&ndre d quelqu'un un canard d 
1no^t^ y i.e. * to half sell a duck to a person ' ; 
m other words, not to sell it at all , * to cheat ' , 
' hoax *. With tho suppression of d moitid the 
word canard came to denote a * trick * , a 
' sell', a ' preposterous story ' at the expense 
of credulous folk. 

J'avais bien compris que la per- 
sonne qui lancait ce canard etait 
mal renseigne (H. BATAILLB, Poli- 
*2. Horse. 

II a donne dans (* ran into *) une 
haie, et nous nous sommes plaques 
( c came a sprawler ') tous les deux, 
mon canard et moi (H. BERNSTEIN", 
Le Detour). 

3. Prendre un canard. To have a lump of 
sugar dipped in coffee, brandy, etc. 
Probably by allusion to a duck m water. 
Cp. the comparisons nager (plonger) comme 
un canard, to swim (dive) like a duck ; $t,re 
mouilU (or trempd) comme un canard, to be 
as wet as a drowned cat. 

Ce cafe est dolicioux. Vous n'on 
buvez pas. Je vous demando par- 
don, ma bonne amie. J'ai pris un 
canard, de quoi deguster la savour 
de ce breuvage, sans en subir les 
inconvenients (F. DB CBOISSET, 

eanarder, vb. tr. To shoot at, fire at, pelt 
with missiles. 

Lit. ' to fire at from under cover ' (as in 
hunting wild duck). 

Les Boches se delendaient tou- 
jours, nous canardant par un sou- 




pirail (B. DORGELES, L& Eeveil des 
*eanasson, n.m. Horse, nag, jade. 

Military slang, which has passed into popular 

La petite courait apres. Et fal- 
lait yoir (' you should have seen ') 
comme elle eourait ! si Men qu'elle 
a fini par rattraper ce sale canasson, 
qui ralentissait a la montee (GYP, 
La Ginguette). 

cancan, n.m. Tittle-tattle, scandal, gos- 
sip e.g. Faire des cancans (sur quel- 
qu'uri), To tittle-tattle, gossip, talk 
scandal (about a person). 
Originally guanguan, a term used formerly in 
colleges and schools to denote a harangue in 
Latin; from the Latin quamquam, 'al- 
though', with which such harangues often 

Que vous importent les cancans 
de ces gens-la ! (H. BERNSTEIN, Le 

eancaner, vb. intr. = falre des cancans, 
cancanier, n.m. and adj. Gossip, lover 

of tittle-tattle, scandal-monger (ing). 
cancre, n.m. 1. Duffer, dunce e.g. 
C'etait un cancre au lycee, He was a 
duffer at school, 

Lit. ' crab * ; probably by allusion to the 
crab's slow rate o f progress. Implies laziness 
as well as stupidity. 

Exile dans un pays de langue 
e"trangcre, le plus obtus, le plus 
cancre des eleves comprend et se 
fait comprendre au bout de quelques 
mois (M. PBEVOST, I? Art d'appren- 
2. Miser, skinflint. 

Probably by allusion to the crab's claws. 
cane, n.f. Faire la cane = caner 1. 

Cane is the fern, of canard^ ' duck ' ; hence 
the phrase means lit. 'to bob down', like a 
duck, to avoid being shot. 
caner or canner. 1. vb. intr. = caler 2. 
See note to cane. 

Chaque fois que je vous ai parle 
d'agir, vous avez canne (0. VAUTEL, 
M on Cure chez les Pauvres). 

See me'tdque (Salmon). 
2. vb. tr. To stay away from, to e cut '. 
Deux eleves ont cani 1'ecole (tra- 
duction : its ont fait Vecole buisson- 
niere) ( 4 played truant *) (L. FKAPIE, 
La Maternelle). 

canne, n.f. 1. Avaler sa canne, To be 
stiff and starched. Op. foiircnette 5. 
Lit. 'to swallow one's walking-stick'. 

Habitu6 a rire et a ponser tout 
haut a Paris et en Lorraine pendant 
dix mois de Tanned, le jeune homme 

avait une peine terrible a se trans- 
former, a Saint-Blaise, en monsieur 
qui a avale sa canne (GYP, Miche). 
*2. Casser sa canne, To die, kick the bucket. 

Lit. 'to break one's walking-stick*. 
canon, n.m. Glass of red wine (drunk at 
the bar of a wineshop). 
Lit. a wine-measure, an eighth of a litre. 

See beeqneter (Zola). 

eanniant, adj. (Of things and persons) 
Boring, tedious, tiresome. 
From canuler. 
cannier, vb. tr. To bore, importune. 

From canule, * little tube at end of a 
syringe '. 

cap, n.m. 1. Doubler le cap de . . . e.g. 
II a double le cap de la gruarantaine, He 
has turned forty, He is in the forties. 
Doubler un cap is a nautical term, * to double 
or weather a cape '. 

2. Doubler le cap du terme, To be able to 
pay one's rent when it falls due. 
Terme here means ' quarter ' or * quarter's 

3. Doubler un cap, (fig.) (a) To avoid pass- 

ing before a creditor's door ; (b) To be 
able to settle a debt or pay a bill when 
it falls due. See note to 1. 

cape, n.f. 1. Mire sous cape, To laugh in 
one's sleeve. 

A cape was a * cloak', worn by men and 
women, which covered the entire dress and 
the capuchon (' hood ') of which, when raised, 
revealed the face. Thus rire sous le capuchon 
or sous cape means * to laugh secretly*, ' on 
the sly*. 

Mais on la laissait ronckonner 
( c grumble ') dans son coin ; on riait 
meme sous cape de ses coleres (J. 
RiCHEPiK, Miarka). 

2. De cape et d'epee e.g. un roman (un 
drame) de cape et d'epee, a romantic 
novel, a melodramatic play (one full of 
fighting and adventures). 
Such stories generally have for their hero a 
nobleman who has many adventures, duels, 
etc., and the expression arose from the fact 
that many nobles who were cadets, i.e. younger 
sons, had no other wealth but their cape and 
6p6e> their dress and weapons, and were 
forced to seek their fortune by help of these. 
Hence the phrase n'avoir gue la cape et 
I'epee (lit. 'to have nothing but cloak and 
sword'), 'to be titled but penniless* (now 
generally applied to young officers entirely 
dependent on their pay). 

eapliarnaiim, n.m. Lumber-room. 

From Capernaum, a town in Judeea, in which 
Jesus entered a house which was soon filled 
by the crowd of people anxious to hear him. 
See St. Mark ii. The word has thus come to 
denote a place where things are heaped up 
hi confusion. 

capiiotade, n.f. Mettre en capilotade, To 




smash, to atoms, pieces e.g. L'auto a 
ete mis en capilotade, The car was 
smashed into smithereens. J*ai le dos 
en, My back is sore all over, 
is black and blue. 
Lit . ' a hash of minced meat '. The expression 
is also sometimes used with the force of * to 
pummel mercilessly ' and also * to run down 
a person ', ' to tear a person to pieces '. 
*capiston, n.m. Captain. Le capiston, 
The old man. 
Military slang ; a corruption of capitaine under 
the influence of flston, q.v. 
capon, n.m. and adj. Coward, poltroon, 
funk, funky. 
The word has passed into popular speech, 
with change of meaning, from old cant, in 
which it denoted a class of beggars composed 
of pickpockets and thieves (ht. cJiapon, 
' capon *) (SAiNl&AN, Sources indigenes, T, 
pp. 352, 364). It is also used of a school- 
boy who, for fear of being punished, ' splits 
on'* his comrades a 'sneak*, 'tell-tale'. 

Caponne ! lui reprocha-t-il tendre- 
ment. Elle a peur de tout, mon- 
sieur : de la mor, des souris, du 
tonnerre, des serpents (R. 

caponEer, vb. mtr. To have cold feet, to 

See capon ; the verb, like the noun, is also 
used ot schoolboys in the sense of * to sneak ', 
' to tell tales ' . 

caporal, n.m. 1. Le petit Caporal, The 
little Corporal, an affectionate nick- 
name given to Napoleon by his soldiers. 
2. Tobacco of French manufacture, shag. 
Elliptical for tabac de caporal, probably 
so-called because it was considered superior 
to the tabac do soldat or tabac de cantine 
capot, adj. inv. Eire (or Eester) capot, To 
be nonplussed, to look foolish, to stand 
there looking a fool. 
From the expression used at cards, $tre capot, 
'to be capot % i.e. not to take a trick, which 
may be connected with the nautical phrase 
faire capot, *to capsize* (of a boat). 
"'"capoilt, adj. Faire capout, To kill. 

A borrowing from the Oerman soldiers of 
the eighteenth century; German kaput 
machen, 'to spoil', 'ruin'. 
caque, n.f. La caque sent toujours le 
hareng, What is bred in the bone will 
never out of the flesh. 
Lit. ' The keg always smells of the herring '. 
On n'improvise pas une noblesse, 
monsieur Despreaux ! La caque 
sent toujours le Jiareng, et Mme la 
duchesse de Dantzig est toujours la 
blanohisseuse de la rue Sainte-Anne 

eaquet, n.m, I. Rabattre le caquet de (or 
a) quefyu >> un, To snub a person, take a 

person down a peg, clip his comb, make 
him sing small, cut his cackle. 
2. Caquet bon bee, An indiscreet chatter- 

The familiar name for a ' magpie '. 
carafoln, n.m. 1. (Disparaging) Medical 
student, medico, sawbones. 
Tn the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
the suigeon's assistant in hospitals was 
jocularly nicknamed carabin de Sa^nt-C6me, 
' carbineer of St. C6me ' (the patron saint of 

DCS carabins, quelques apprentis 
artistes et poetes, c'6tait la clientele 
du pere Bradin (J. RICJHEPIN, Gontes 
sans Morale). 
*2, Carabin de la compete, Ca,rd sharper. 

Comdte was the old name of the game of 
cards now called manille, 'manilla', one of 
the cards formerly bearing the picture of a 

adj. Violent, intense, exces- 
sive e.g. Un mal de tete carabine^ A 
splitting headache. Une plaisanterie 
carabince, A spicy joke. Un toupet 
carabine. No end of a cheek. Une 
bombe (or noce) carabin&e, A ' blind *, 
a c binge '. 

Properly a nautical term, applied to a wind 
which is sudden and violent, like a shot 
from a 'carbine*. Cp, "Par cette brise 
carabmde et dans le tumulte des vagues 
soudam furiouscs, la rcntre"e an port de ces 
barques fut trds dureet m6me dangereuso" 
(F. COPPftE, Le bon Dwu d JBord). 

M. Hubert do Chaville oxorc,ait, 
vers la fin de V Empire, une noce 
assoz carabinee en compagriie de son 
excellent camarado do Hautpertuis, 
nomme" (A. ALLAIS, & Affaire 

caractere, n.m. 1. Avoir le caract&re bien 
fait, To be always good-tempered. 
Avoir le caractere mal fait, Not to be 
able to take a joke. 

2. Faire sortir quelqu'un de son caractere, 
To put a person out of temper, to upset 

Et tu ne peux pas dire, elle avait 
rudement raison ( c she was jolly well 
right '). La preuve : ca m'a fait 
sortir de mon caractere. Je me suis 
fichue en colere (' I flew into a rage *), 
d'autant qu'elle m'expliquait quo 
cetto statue ne valait pas un clou (C. 
FAER^BE, Quatorze Histoires de 

carafe, n.f. 1. Rester (or Etre) en camfe* 
(a) To be put on one side, to be for- 
gotten, to remain idle while others are 
working or amusing themselves ; (6) 


To be unable to go on, to stop short, 
to be stumped (e.g. in the middle oi a 
speech), to have a breakdown (e.g. of 
a motor car) e.g. 11 est reste en carafe 
an, beau milieu de son sermon, He 
stopped short in the very middle of his 

Lit. * to remain in the decanter '. The full 
phrase is rester &n carafe bouchde, originally 
applied to a singer on the stage who stops 
short in his song. 

Qa ne les rejouit pas, eux, de 
rester en carafe an milieu de la route, 
avec tres peu de chose dans 1'estomac 
(T. BERNARD, Les Phares Soubigou). 

2. Laisser en carafe , To leave in the lurch. 

Si vous me laissez en carafe, e'est 

que vous me desapprouvez (C. 

VAUTEL, Mon Cure cJiez les Pauvres). 

*carapater, se. To decamp, make tracks, 

* slope '. 

A fusion of crapaud, "toad% and pattes, 
'legs', hence literally 'to drag one's legs 
along like a toad", 'to crawl along on all 
fours gropingly' (SAJN^AN, Langage pari- 
sien, p. 115). 

Alexandra se carapate avec elle 
jusqu'en Bretagne (A. DAUDET, La 
petite Paroisse). 

earean,w.m. 1. Worthless old horse, nag, 

A provincial use of the word, with the 
implication of ' carrion * ; cp. carne 3. 
*2. Tall, thin, gawky, ill-tempered woman. 
By allusion to 1. Op. carne 2. 

3. Collar (especially high and tight), 

' choker *. 
Lit. 'iron collar'. 
*earme, n.m. Bibs, rhino, oof. 

An old cant term surviving in popular 
speech. Lit. ' something with which to buy 
carme \ which meant 'white bread', by 
allusion to the white robes of a carme or 
carmelite friar (SAiNfiAN, Les Sources de 
I 1 Argot ancien, II, pp. 225, 306). 

Du moment que je mavance, 
c'est que je viens a toi avec du 
carme ... oh ! je n'ai pas des 
millo et des cent, mais j'ai econo- 
mis6 quatre-vingt-cinq francs (H, 
LAVED AH, Nocturnes). 
*earmer, vb. intr. To pay, * dub up '. 
From carme. 

C'est la mtime ('kid') qui va 
carmer en bas d'une tfwne ('five 
franc piece ') (C. H. HIBSOH, Le 
Tigre et Coguelicot). 
earne, n.f. 1. Tough meat. 
From Italian carne, 'meat'. 
2. Nasty, ill-tempered person, rotter. 
This opprobrious epithet, applied to a man 
or woman, is a figurative application of 1 

75 earpe 

and is equivalent to charogne, 'carrion*, 
used also of a nasty, ill-tempered woman. 

Une vieille carne ('An old hag'). 
. . . Son fils avait de qui tenir (* had 
somebody to take after ') (B. DOB- 
GELES, Le Reveil des Moris). 
3. = carean 1. 

Another figurative application of 1. 
carottage, n.m. The action of carotter. 

Bepuis six mois environ, il avait 
vecu d'emprants, de carottages . a 
present, il etait a bout <f expedients, 
il n'avait plus de pain, plus de gite 
(0. DERENNES, La Guenille). 
earotte, n.f. Tirer une carotte a quelqu'un, 
To get (coax, wheedle) money out of a 
person by telling a he, (generally) to 
humbug, hoax, bamboozle e.g. LI m'a 
encore tire une carotte. He's done 
(tricked) me again. 

This expression may have arisen because 
carrots areoften difficult to tear up on account 
of the weeds which grow around them. The 
metaphor goes back to the eighteenth cen- 
tury, when it originally had the force of tirer 
Us vers du nez d quetyu'un (see ver 2). Like 
the corresponding verb and noun (carotter 
and carotte w or carottier) it is nowparticularly 
common in the slang of barracks with 
reference to ' malingering ' and * malingerers " 
(cp. frieoter and fricoteur) (SAnnta, Langage 
parisien, p. 384). At card games, 'jouer la 
carotte or carotter signifies ' to stake very 
little', *to play close'. 

On causa ; on fit quelques pas 
ensemble, le soir. Cela tinit par 
deux ou trois entretiens plus in- 
times et par une carotte de cinq cents 
louis que ladite manucure souleva, 
a titre de comrnandite (H. DUVEB- 
NOIS, Crapotte). 

carotter, vb. tr. and intr. To do or humbug 
a person, to get by fraud, to shirk, 
wangle e.g. carotter de Vargent a guel- 
gu'un, to diddle (wheedle) money out 
of a person. II m'a carotte trois francs, 
He * had ' me for three francs. II nous a 
'joliment carottes, He has faMy diddled 
us. Carotter une permission. To wangle 
a leave. 

See carotte. *, 

II avait en Maximilien une con- 
fiance absolue, depuis qu'il 1'avait 
vu carotter au due deux louis de trop 
(A. HEEMANT, Cadet de Ooutras). 

See bolte 4 (Colette). 

carotteur or carottier, n.m. and adj. 
Humbug, diddler, wheedler, shirker, 

See earotte. / . 

carpe, n.f. Faire la carpepamee or Zaire 




des yeux de carpe pdm&e, (a) To turn up 
the whites of one's eyes ; (b) To pre- 
tend to be ill, to sham a fainting fit ; 
(c) To look like a dying duck in a 
thunderstorm. Cp, yeux 7. 
Lit . * to look like a fainting carp * . For other 
unfavourable comparisons alluding to the 
' carp', see Appendix sub carpe. 
carreau, n.m. I. Laisser quelgu'un sur le 
carreau, To kill a person or To leave 
one for dead on the ground. Hester (or 
Demeurer) sur le carreau, To be killed 
on. the spot, to be left for dead on the 

Can-saw, properly a * square tile or brick ', 
formerly used for paving the floors of rooms, 
here denotes by extension the ground itself . 

Son regiment resta tout entier sur 
le carreau, colonel et capitaines en 
tete (C. TAKK&RE, Quatorze His- 

2. Se garder a carreau^ To be ready for any 
emergency e.g. C'est un gaillard qui se 
garde tou jours a carreau, He is a fellow 
who is never caught napping. 
Avoir une garde d carreau, d tr&fle , etc. , at cards , 
is to have a low diamond, club, etc., which 
' guards ' or protects a high card of the same 
suit. Thus se garder d carreau or etre gard4 
or avoir garde d carreau denotes ' to have a 
diamond in reserve ' and fig. * to be ready to 
defend oneself, * to take precautions in view 
of possible accidents or mishaps *. The use 
of carreau, rather than any other of the suits, 
in this expression is probably due to the 
proverbial saying Qui garde carreau n'est 
jamais capot (lit. ' He who keeps diamonds is 
never capot '), in which the rhyme is the 
deciding factor. 

Aussi Men, et meme non averti, 
il se fut, de son propre mouvement, 
garde solidement a carreau avec un 
homme comme M. de Mierindel, qu'il 
connaissait de reputation (J. KIOHE- 
MK Flamboche), 

Son pere est un vieux singe ; il vou- 
dra se garder a carreau et palper les 
6cus d'avance (A. THEURIET, Plavie). 
earriere, n.f. Donner carriere a, To give 
free scope (rein, play) to. Se donner 
carri&re, To give oneself tip whole- 
heartedly, to let oneself go. 
Carriere here has the meaning of * course ', 
space to be traversed in a race. 

Quelques-uns s'interessent a la 
musiquc ou a Tarch^ologie ; on parle 
des fouilles re*centes, et Fimagina- 
tion, les affirmations se donnent car- 
rier e (TAIHE, Voyage en Italie). 
earrosse, n.m. Houler carrosse, To be 
rich, to have one's carriage and pair. 
Lit. t to ride in one's own carriage *. 

Bien des fois, en songeant que 
Pascal roulait carrosse, a present, je 
m'etais dit qu'il avait ou une crdne 
(* excellent ') idee, apres tout, de 
Idcher (' chuck up ') le metier mili- 
taire et de rendre son epaulette 
(IP. COPP&E, Le bon Crime). 
carnire, n.f, II est d'une belle (or forte) 
carrure, He is a splendidly built fellow. 
Lit. ' breadth of shoulders '. 
carte, n.f. 1. Donner carte blanclie a quel- 
qu?un, To give a person full permis- 
sion, full powers, a free hand, full 
liberty to act according to his judge- 

This expression alludes to the times when 
carte blanche denoted the paper on which 
nothing was written, and on which, conse- 
quently, one could put what one liked. 

2. Broidller les cartes, To make mischief, 
sow discord, embroil matters, set people 
by the ears e.g. Je vais brouiller vos 
cartes, I'll upset your apple-cart. 

Lit. *to shuffle the cards* after there has 
been a misdeal. 

3. Perdre la carte, To lose one's wits, to 
get confused, flurried. 11 ne perd pas 
la carte, He keeps his wits about him, 
He knows what he's about, Ho has an 
eye to the main chance. 

Carte here denotes the "chart", showing 

4. Tirer (or J?aire) les cartes (a $udgu*'un) 9 
To tell fortunes by cards. 

Elle savait tirer les cartes et jouor 
do la mandoline (P. MfeiM&E, La 
CJironique du lUf/ne de Charles IX). 

Maman, qui m?a fait les cartes ce 
matin, pr6tendait que vous no vien- 
drioz pas (0. M&TifaKR, Le beau 

s# n.m. 1. C'est le cas de le dire, 
C'est le cas de dire . . ., One may 
indeed (or well) say so, One may well 
say ... 

C*est le cas de dire qu^o, ce festin il 
no manquera rien, car j'aper^ois du 
champagne (L. FKAPii, La Bo%te aux 

See noce 4 (Bataille). 
2. Le cas eckeant, Should it so happen, if 
such should bo the case, in such a case, 
if such a thing happened to occur. 
ffichdant is the pres. part of the old verb 
tehoir, 'to fall to the lot of, 'to happen", 
which is now only used as a law term, or of 
debts falling due. 

*3. Montr er son cas, To show one's pos- 
This is an extended application of a very fatal- 




liar use of cas in faire son cos, * to do one's 
jobs '. 

casanier, n.m. and adj. II est casanier or 
C'est un casanier, He is a stay-at- 
home, a home-keeping person. 
From the old Italian casaniere, from casana, 
for casa, 'house*. 

easaque, n.f, Tourner casaque, (a) To 
flee, turn one's back ; (b) To turn 
sides, to be a turn-coat. 
Gasaque was a kind of 'cloak*, in use till 
the seventeenth century, At a time when 
the different parties wore the colours of their 
leaders, the deserters from one party to 
another had only to turn their casaque to hide 
their origin and^their opinions. 

Je ne me trompais pas, un homme 
e"tait 1& qrii montait le sentier, et qui 
a ma we tourna brusquement 
casaque (V. CHEKBTTLIEZ, UAventure 
de Ladislas BolsH). 

*casaqulB, n.m. Tomber sur le casaguin a 
quelqu'un, To giro a person a drub- 
bing, to tan e.g. On lui est tombe sur 
le casaquin, They dusted his jacket for 

Lit. ' a little jacket % a diminutive of casaque. 

Sa bte brute de Coupeau . . . ne 

pouvait plus rentrer sans lui tomber 

sur le casaquin (ZOLA, ZSAssommoir). 

*casba(h), n.f. House. 

Military slang, introduced by the colonial 
troops, from the Algerian Arabic gasbah or 
qa$aba, 'castle*. 

cascade, n.f. Faire des cascades, (theatri- 
cal slang) is said of an actor who intro- 
duces into his part jokes or by-play of 
his own invention, to c gag } . 
eascader, vb. inlr. To lead a fast Life. 
Hence cascadeur (~ewse), fast man or 
woman, ' rip '. 

*case, n.f. Prison e.g. Bouffer de la case, 
To bo in prison, to do time. 
Lit. 'hut', 'cabin*, and, by extension, 
' house '. The word belongs to the language 
of the apaches. 

caser, vb. tr, Oaser quelqu^un, To find a 
situation, place, berth, for a person. 
Se caser, To find a job. Enfin, le 
voila case, Well, he is settled at last. 

Ah ! cette fois-ci, monsieur Ser- 
viet, mes malhcurs sont finis. Je suis 
case (A. CAPXIS, Monsieur veutrire). 
II paralt qu'ello va entrer au 
theatre . . . aux Varietes. Encore 
ime de casee ! (BRIETTX, La petite 
casoar, n.m. Plume of shako. 

Slang of the students of the Saint-Cyr 
Military School, the French Sandhurst. 
Lit. 'cassowary'. 

n.m. I. Casque a mfahe, ISTight- 

Lit. ' helmet with a tassel '. 
*2. Avoir le casque, To have a headache 
caused by potations, to have a head *, 
to feel * chippy '. 
*3. Avoir (or Prendre) son casque, To be (To 

get) drunk, to be completely tipsy. 
easqiier, vb. tr. and intr. To pay up (re- 
luctantly), fork (shell) out, stump 
(cough) up. 

An old cant word which lias passed into 
popular speech. 

II m'a f allu casquer trois iouis a son 
chauffeur pour qu'il me donne tous 
ces renseignements (H. BATAILLE, 

casquette, n.f. 1. Money lost at gam- 

From casques 

*2. Prendre une casquette or Eire casquette, 
To be intoxicated. 

Cp. casque 3 ; this diminutive form of the 
word implies a milder form of intoxication. 
eassant, adj. Abrupt, curt and haughty 
e.g. unepersonne cassante, an abrupt 
person. Parler $un ton cassant, To 
speak in a curt tone. 

Quant au chevalier, il etait de si 
mauvaise humeur, si aigre, si cas- 
sant, q[u'il se fit, dans les coulisses 
(* wings ') de 1* Opera, une querelie 
avec Versac (T. GAUTIEE, Jean et 

casse, n.f. 1. Disturbance, trouble, loss 
e g. 11 va y avoir (or II y aura] de la 
casse, will vary in meaning according 
to the context : There will be much 
damage, bother, punishment, a row, 
dismissals, losses, deaths, etc. II faut 
toujours quelqu'un pour payer la casse, 
Some one has always got to foot the 
bill. Je te demande bien pardon, tu 
sais. T a pas de casse. I'm awfully 
sorry, you know. No harm done. 
2. Passez-moi la casse (or la rhubarbe), je 
vous passerai le sene, Tit for tat, you 
know ; Help me and I'll help you ; 
You let me have my way and I will let 
you have yours; Scratch my back, 
I'll scratch yours. 

Lit. ' You let me give (the patient) quassia 
(or rhubarb) and I'll let you give him senna.' 
This proverbial expression owes its origin to 
Moliere's L' Amour mddecin, in which one doc- 
tor prescribes an emetic for a patient and 
another blood-letting. They finally come to a 
compromise and one says : " Qu > ilmepa,sse(l.e 
Let him allow me to give) mon <me"tiqii pou 
la malade doat il s'agit, et je lui passerai (i.e. 




and T will allow him to give) tout ce qu'i 
voiidra pour le premier nialade dont il sera 
question." Later sn6 was substituted for 
suignde and casse (or rhubarbe) for tfintftiqiie 
a change which made the formula less apt 
and less original since it resulted in substitut- 
ing two purgatives for the two originally 
dissimilar remedies (EGBERT. Phrastologie 
p. 352). 

casse-cou, n.m. 1. Dangerous place 
e.g. Get escalier est un veritable casse- 
cou, That staircase is a regular death- 

2. Imprudent, reckless person, dare-devil. 

Ton per est un casse-cou. I] 
fourre(' shoves') jusqu'a trente pour 
cent de fecule dans nos chocolats 
bas prix. II nous fera passer en 
correctionnelle (E. EABRE, J7 Ar- 

3. Casse-cou ! inter j. Danger 1 Look out ! 
Properly a warning cry used in the game of 
blind-man's buff. 

easse-erotite n.m. Snack. See create 1. 
casser, vb. tr. 1. Gasser quelqu'un, (a] To 
dismiss (from a post) ; (military) to re- 
duce to the ranks, to cashier. 

Quel typo ! Tu sais, on Pa casse 

depuis, c'est dommage, il tait bon 

ftcu ( e a good fellow ') (A. SALMON, 

CPest une belle Fille '). 

(b) To tell a person off e.g. Ge que je le 

casserai quand U rentrera ! What a 

telling off I'll givo him when he conies 

back ! 

Zut ! (' Dash it ! ') J'ai flanqut 
( fi spilt ') de la "bisque (' crawfish 
soup ') sur le corsage. Elle va mo 
casser quelque chose, Leontine ! (H. 
DUVEBNOIS, Gisele). 

2. Qu'y a-t-il (encore) de casse? What's 
gone wrong (now) ? 

Decourageant ! Quoi de casse ? 
( c What's wrong ? ') J'ai encore 
empoignt la culotte ('I've had 
another knock at cards ') (H. 
LAVEDAN, Nocturnes). 

Et la-dessus j'ai monte me 
coucher. Jusqu'a prdsent rien de 
casse ( c So far so good ') (ibid.). 

3. ... a tout casser, Tremendous, awful 
e.g. Une noce a tout casser 9 A rare 
old jollification, beano. Un diner a 
tout casser, A slap-up dinner. Faire 
une noce a tout casser, To paint tho 
town red. Un potin a tout casser, A 
hell of a row, a shindy. 

C'est quo nous avons fait hier soir 
une noce a tout casser ! (G-YP, MicTie). 

^casserole, n.f. Informer, police spy, nark. 
Lit. ' saucepan '. This appellation is due to a 
play on an old jargon meaning of casser, * to 
confess', 'denounce'. 

Le chef supreme de la Police ne 
doit faire fi <#'aucun ( e must not 
despise any ') renseignement. II 
doit avoir partout des . . . obser- 
vateurs, ce qu'en argot policier on 
appelle des " casseroles " (WILLY, 
Jeux de Princes). 

catholique, adj. Is used, with pas, when 
speaking familiarly of anything which 
is not quite as it should be e.g. Get 
Jiomme n*a pas Pair catholique, That 
man does not look very trustworthy. 
cause, n.f. El pour cause, And for a very 
good reason, and not without reason 
e.g. II n 9 est pas venu, etpour cause, H 
did not come, and for a very good 

Je me souviens esactement de la 
date, et pour cause (0. "FARB-ERE, 
Dix-s&pt Histoires de Mar inn). 
causer, vb. intr. Causer d, To talk to, is 
frequently used for causer avec in 
familiar speech. 

JSTyrop writes in his $tudes, III, p. 4 : ** La 
construction causer d est ende"miquo en Suissc 
ot figure sur Ics tables de proscription den 
profmeurs de francais. II en est de me"me 
en Belgique. Littr6 adroet a contro-cceur Je, 
lid ai 'causf, mais il proteste 6nergiquement 
contre J'ai cau$6 d mon avoGttt." He also 
quotes this communication from E. Philipot : 
" Pou d'ann<5es avant la guerre , . . un 
rWcret-circulaire clu ministere des P. T. T. a 
formclleinent interdit aux demoiselles do 
telephones de r<5pondro, en donnant la corn- 
munication, par la formule jusquo-la tradi- 
tionnello : On wus cause. J'ignore si cotte 
circulaire a produit 1'effet vouiu (j'en douto), 
et si ces demoiselles so sont re'signe'es a 
employer la nouvelle formule: On vous 

Tiens ! Tu vois c bracelet ? Le 
comt me 1'a donne* pare qu, 
pendant un semaine, j n'avais pas 
dit un seule fois : j lui ai cause. 
II n'aime pas c mpt-la> il croit qu'il 
n'est pas franais (CBOISSET ET 
FLERS, Les nouveaux Messieurs). 

II savait encore un peu do grec, 
pas mal de latin, n disait ni " Je 
m'en rappelle " ni " Je vous cause ", 
et n f aisait jamais dfautes d' ortho- 
graph (A. HEBMANT, Le joyeux 

cansette, n.f. Little chat e.g. Nous 
avons fait la causette, We have been 
chatting together. See bout 18. 
See saint-frusquin (Benjamin). 




caution, n.f. Etre sujet a caution, (of 
persons and things) Not to be trusted, 
relied (depended) upon, not to be 
beyond suspicion. 
Lit. "bail*, 'surety*. 

*cavaler, vb. intr. y or se eavaler. To make 
off, make tracks, do a guy -e.g. Je 
suis en retard, je me cavale, I'm late, I 
must be off. 

Lit. ' to set off at a gallop like a cavale ' or 
* mare ' ; the verb originally belonged to 
jargon and to the slang of mounted troops, 
but has become generalised. 
ce, adj. (cet, cette, ces). The demonstra- 
tive adjective ce is used : 

1. With words like messieurs, dames, de- 

moiselles, jeunes gens to denote the 
real or supposed presence, or in any 
case the proximity, of the persons in 
question. It is even used when speak- 
ing to the persons directly in a kind of 
deferential address, especially by ser- 
vants e.g. Ces messieurs et ces dames 
sont servis. Madame prie ces mes- 
sieurs de Vattendre. This use of ce has 
no equivalent in English. 

Monsieur, avant que ces dames ne 
viennent, nous pouvons traiter les 
affaires serieuses. . . . Ma chere, ces 
messieurs doivent tre fatigue's. Si 
vous les conduisiez au salon ! 
(BALZAC, Mercadet). 

(A servant is speaking.) Madame 
la comtesse demande ces demoiselles 
pour le the, dans le salon violet (H. 
LAVED AN, Leurs Sceurs). 

2. Similarly the demonstrative adjective is 

coupled with cher, bon, pauvre, vietix, 
followed by a proper name, particular- 
ly when one accosts a friend in order 
to greet him e.g. Ce bon Chiffonet / 
Que je suis done content de 'vous 
revoir / It is as if the speaker says to 
himself : It is that dear friend X 
I see ' and expresses the thought 
elliptically. Here again it will be 
noticed that there is no corresponding 
English usage. 

Quand ce bon Jules sera la, notre 

situation changera (MAUPASSANT, 

Man Oncle Jules). 

Tiens, ce vieux Mantard / Tiens, 

ce vieux Castel / Par quel hasard 

es-tu la ce soir ? (H. LAVEDAN, Le 

nouveau Jeu). 

3. Ce also occurs in familiar speech in in- 
terrogations when one inquires about 
the health of a person who has been ill 

recently or who, as far as one knows, is 
not yet quite recovered e.g. Et cette 
sante ? Are you better now ? 

Bonsoir, mon cher Foucher ! 
Comment va cette petite sante, ? (H. 
BERNSTEIN, Le Bercail). 
4. The demonstrative adjective is also 
used in exclamations, which some- 
times express admiration but more fre- 
quently disparagement, with words 
like b&ise, farce, idee, question e.g. 
Cette betise/ Cette farce! Cette idee/ 
Cette question ! The implication is 
* This silliness is phenomenal ! This 
joke is the limit ! This idea is prepos- 
terous ! This question is unseemly ', 
etc. Compare the use of the definite 
article in exclamations to convey irony 
or admiration e.g. La belle question I 
La, bonne betise ! Uexquise installa- 
tion ! Very often, in this use of the 
demonstrative adjective, cette is writ- 
ten as c'te or cY, its usual popular 

Tu me crois intelligent ? Cette 
question ! F. DE CROISSET, L'lUper- 

Je ne les connais pas. Cette 
betise/ tu les connais autant que 
moi ! (H. LAVEDAN, Leurs Sceurs). 

Je ne vous trouve pas bien du 
tout, mon enfant. <7f idee! (H. 
MALOT, Micheline). 

eeinture, n.f. 1. JSe serrer (or Se boucler, 
Se mettre) la eeinture, To go without 
food, to tighten one's belt ; (by exten- 
sion) To have to go without anything 
e.g. Pour diner, tu peux te serrer 
(boucler, mettre) la ceinture, You can 
sing for your dinner. See bonder 3. 
*2. S*en donner plein la ceinture, To get 

drunk, to have a skinful. 
cela, pron. See Qa. 

eelle-la, pron. Sometimes used to refer 
to a feminine noun understood e.g. 
chose, affaire, plaisanterie, histoire. 
See bon (A) 5, connaitre 2. 

Ah 1 ah ! ah I je ne m'attendais 
pas a celle-la, par exemple ! ('I 
didn't expect that one, by Jove I 
didn't ! '). Alors, c'est moi qu'on 
roule ( c I'm the one who's being taken 
in '), et je ne suis qu'un nigaud ? 
(J. LEMA!TRE, Le Depute Leveau). 
*cens&nent, adv. Ostensibly, supposedly ; 
practically, virtually. 
JFrom censd, e supposed '. 




Surtout, pas un mot ; censement 
il n'y a que la directrice qui sait le 
true (* the dodge ') (L. FBAPIE, La 

Le riche est un mort-vivant, i] 
manque do destination, il a cense- 
fini son role (L. FEAPI^I, La 

cent, n.m. and acfy*. Je vous le donne en 

cent : see doimer 7. 
ce que. Oe gfite, 'how', is used collo- 
quially for combien, comme, que, in 
Cp. the German was used in the same way. 

Ge que vous etes rigolo (' funny ') 
dans ce costume-la ! (C. VAUTEL, 
Mon Cure chez les Riches}. 

" Vous ne pouvez savoir, M. Car- 

bolle, ce que vous m'avez fait plai- 

sir," prononca-t-elle (C. H. HIRSOJI, 

Le Co3ur de PoupeUe). 

eercle, n.m. Society, club. 

See bousin 1 (Harry), claquer 

(Maupassant), eollet-montS (About). 

*eerise, n.f. Bad luck e.g. Avoir la 

cerise, To be unlucky, down on one's 


J'ai remarqu6, les maisons neuves 
. . . cafche ( e brings *) la cerise (M. 
DONNAY, Education de Prince). 

Elle a la cerise, cette pauvre 
Blanche! (C. H. HIRSCH, Nini 

eerveau, n.m. 1. Un cerveau br&U, A 
hare-brained, crazy fellow. 

2. Un cerveau creux, A dreamer, visionary. 

3. Se creuser le cerveau, To rack (or 

cudgel) one's brains. Op. tte 22. 
Lit. 'to hollow out one's "brains*. 

eervelle, n.f. Se bruler (or Se faire sauler] 
la cervelle, To blow one's brains out. 
Cp. caisson. 

C.G.T. La C.O.T. or La cegete^La 
Confederation Generale du Travail, the 
French Trades Unions. Hence un 
cegetiste or un cegeteisle, a trade- 

*ehaTbanais, n.m. Noise, row e.g. En 
wild un chabanais / What a shindy ! 
3?rom the name of a notorious hrothel which 
used to Tbe situated in the rue de Chabanais, 
in Paris ; hence the word came to mean 
"nocturnal racket % and then * row ' generally 
(SAlNHiAUT, Langage parisien, p. 120). 

ehahut, n.m. 1. Eccentric indecent 
dance, characterised by much high- 
kicking, the successor of the cancan. 

2. Row, uproar, shindy, rumpus e.g. 
faire du, chaJiut, to be noisy, to kick up 
a row, shindy. 

3. Bagging, horse-play, 'rag'. 

Chahutis originally a provincialism (Orle"anais) 
denoting a 'wild, noisy dance*, from the 
provincial verb chakutor, ht. * to cry like a 
chat-huant ' , ' screech-owl * . 
chahuter. 1. vb. intr. (a) To dance the 

(b) To be riotous. 

Vraiment, depuis quelques jours, 
je suis content, heureux ! J e ne 
chahute plus, je ne joue plus, jo ne 
bois plus (M. HABEY, La divine 

2. vb. tr. To indulge in horse-play with, 
to ( bally )rag. 
See ehahut 3. 

*Clia!lIot, proper name. *1. A Ghaillot ! 
interj. An energetic invitation to a 
person to make himself scarce Go to 
the deuce ! 

*2. Envoy cr quelqu'un d, GJiailiot, To got 
rid of a person, to send one to the 

S'il msficheun abatage, je Venvoie 
a Chaillot (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
*3. Un abruti (or ahuri) de Chaillot ; see 

Lorsqu'ello ne parlait plus, elte 

prenait tout de suite la tcte d'un 

ahuri de Chaillot, les ycux grands 

ouverts (ZoLA, L'Assommoir}. 

Chaillot, formerly a village in the immediate 

vicinity of Pans, now a part of the sixteenth 

arrond/issement, has, for some unexplained 

reason, repeatedly been made the butt for 

various uncomplimentary hits by the 


chair, n.f. La chair de poule e.g. 
Donner (or Faire venir) la chair de 
poule (a quelqu'uri), To make one's 
flesh creep. J'ai la chair de poule, My 
flesh is creeping, I shudder at the 

Lit. 4 hen-flesh ' ; cp. the English * goose- 

Ces amoncellements do pierrcs so 
dressant dans la nuit donnaient la 
chair de poule a Desiree (J. K. 
HITYSMANS, Les Sosurs Vatard). 
chamade, n.f. Battrela chamade, (fy.) To 
admit defeat, to yield to an attack, not 
to know what answer to make next 
in a discussion. This fig. use of the 
phrase is, however, rare, and the ex- 
pression is mostly found with the noun 
coBur, in the sense of ' to beat wildly ". 
Lit. ' to beat the signal for parley or capitula 

ehamailler 81 


tion', from Italian cMamada or cMamata, 
' call ". 

II s'arretait court, son coBur battait 
la chamade, il etait subitement con- 
vaincu qu'elle lui ferait encore faux 
bond (J. K. HTJYSMANS, Les Sceurs 

Le clampin ( c lazy fellow '), fou de 
joie et le cceur battant la chamade, 
mit le chapeau a la main et se 
trouva d'un saut dans la chaise de 
poste (M. BOULENGER, Le Pave, du 

ehamatller, se. To quarrel (noisily), to 
squabble, to wrangle. 
From the Norman camailler, derived from 
camail, piece of armour which covered the 
neck and shoulders (twelfth to fifteenth 
centuries). The primitive force of the verb 
was ' to fight covered with the camail', then 
'to fight', 'to quarrel noisily* (SArjsrfiAisr, 
Sources ^nd^g&nes, I, p. 378). 

Depuis trente ans qu'ils etaient 
maries, ils se chamaillai&nt tous les 
jours (MAUPASSANT, Toine). 
ehamailierie, n.f., or chamaillis, n.m. 
From se chamailler. 

chambard, n.m. = chahut 2 and 3 e.g. 
Faire du chambard, To kick up a row, 
a shindy. II en a fait un chambard, 
He made a fine to-do about it. 
See ehambarder. 

Louisette se refugie d'ordinaire 
sous la direction de Janot, pendant 
le chambard fr6n6tique des recrea- 
tions (L. FRAPIE, Nouveaux Contes 
de la Maternelle). 

Oh ! le chambard que n'a point 
fait, ce bon Dieu de jour-la, la 
patronne ! (F. CARGO, Rien qu'une 

ehamfoardement, n.m. Overthrow (lit. 
and fig.), destruction, great change, 
revolution, upheaval, * earthquake '. 
See ehambarder. 

JL'employe du metro augmente 
1'impression de chambardement par 
sa fa9on formidable de mugir le 
nom de la station (L. FRAPIE, La 
JSoUe aux Oosses). 

Alors, tu y crois, a ce que tu 
appeUes " le chambardement social" ? 
(GYP, Les Froussards). 
*ehambarder, vb. tr. To upset, overthrow 

(Ut. andj^.)- 

A provincial borrowing from the Provencal 
chambarda, 'to overthrow*. 

EUe en feuilletait paisiblement, a 
croire que rien ne se fut pass<, les 

pages, qu'avait chambardees le coup 
de vent de la porte ouverte (G. 
COURTELIKE, Bouboufoche). 

La venue de Doudou a ckambarde 
tous ses projets d'avenir (Grp, 

*eham1bouler. *1. vb. intr. To be shaky 
of gait, to be unsteady (shaky) on one's 
legs (pins). 

A provincial borrowing ; chamboler, in Cham- 
pagne and Lorraine, is 'to totter like a 
drunken man '. 
*2. vb. tr. To upset (fig.). 

De la voir rigoler ( c making 

merry ') si tot apres la mort de son 

mari, $a m'a chamboule (' it gave me 

quite a turn') (H. BARBTJSSE, Le Feu). 

ehamfore, n.f. 1. Avoir une chambre (or 

des chambres) a louer, (fig.) To be 

eccentric, even to insanity, ' to have 

apartments to let '. 

Elliptical for the proverbial saying II y a Men 

des chambres d louer dans sa tete (Ut. ' There 

are many rooms to let in his head *), He is an 

empty-headed fellow. 

2. Garder la chambre. To be confined to 

one's room through illness. 
*Ghameau, n.m. *1. Coarse term of abuse 
applied to a person : blighter, rotter, 
dirty dog. Un vieux chameau, An 
old, ugly, peevish woman or man, a 
dirty old rotter. Sometimes the word 
may be used jocularly e.g. Ah/ le 
chameau / il en a une veine ! What a 
lucky blighter he is 1 
Lit. 'camel*. 

Les chameanx, voila qu'ils bais- 
sent le gaz a present pour nous 
fiche a la porte ! ( c chuck us out ') 
(H. LAVED AK, Viveurs). 
*2. Ce chameau de . . ., a coarse insulting 
expression applied to either sex. 

Coupeau apprit de la patronne 

que Nana etait debauchee par une 

autre ouvriere, ce petit chameau 

de Lcionie, qui venait de Idcher les 

flours ( e given up the flower trade ') 

pour faire la noce ('to go on the 

loose ') (ZOLA, L'Assommoir). 

champ, n.m. 1. Eire aux champs, (a) To 

be bewildered; (b) to be put out, 

to be angry. Mettre quelgu'un aux 

champs, (a) To bewilder a person; 

(6) to rouse a person's temper e.g. 

Un rien le met aux champs, A trifle 

bewilders him or throws him into a 


Of the two meanings the one under (b) is 



the commoner ; the phrase alludes to the 
expression etre fou d courir Us champs (Ht. 
* to be raacl enough to run about the fields '), 
to be as inad as a March hare. Cp. battre la 
cam-payne under eampagne 1. 

Elle comprit qu'il avait bu un 
peu, qu'il s'etait dispute, et quo sa 
mauvaise tete do Breton etait aux 
champs (R>. BAZUBT, De toute. son 

L'idee qu'en ce moment la con- 
duite de Jacques de/rayait la conver- 
sation des gens de Juvigny, la met- 
tait aux champs (A. THEUBIET, JSois- 
2. Mourir au champ d'honneur, To die on 

the field of battle. 

champoreau, n.m. Mixture of coffee and 
brandy or rum. 

From the Spanish champorro, * mixture ' ; 
the word has passed into popular speech 
from military slang, into which it was intro- 
duced by the troops in Algeria. 
e!ian$ard, n.m. Lucky fellow (beggar). 

From chance. 

chance, n.f. Good luck e.g. Avoir de la 
chance, To be lucky. Quelle chance/ 
What luck ! How lucky ! Pas de 
chance ! No luck. Souhaiter (la) bonne 
chance a qnelqijfun, To wisli a person 
good luck. Bonne chance / Good luck 
to you ! 

r rhe derivatives chan^ard- and chanc&ux are 
equivalent to veinard. 

chaneeiix, adj. 1. (Of persons) Lucky. 
2. (Of things) Hazardous, doubtful, un- 

chandelle, n.f. 1. Bruler la chandelle par 
les deux bouts 9 (a) To be a spendthrift ; 
(b) To burn the candle at both ends, 
to ruin one's health by fast living. 
2. Devoir une chandelle a g/uelqu'un, To 
owe a debt of gratitude to somebody 
e.g. Je voits dois une belle (or famvuse 
oxfidre or rude) chandelle / I am awfully 
obliged to you ! I have reason to be 
grateful to you 1 

This phrase originates in expressions like 
brttler une chandelle en I'honneur d'un saint 
or devoir une belle chandelh d Dieu or d la 
Vierge, and refers to the practice in Catholic 
churches of burning candles before the altars 
of saints as a mark of gratitude for a favour 
considered due to them. 

Blaireau vous dewaunejifre chand- 
elle, quand il sera depute (A. ALLAIR, 
L* Affaire Blaireau). 

N'empeche quo je vous dois une 
fameuse chandelle ! Vous savez, mer- 
ci, merci bien., de tout mon c<Teur 
(ZOLA, La Terre). 

3. Montor en cJiandelle, is said familiarly 
of perpendicular movement, to shoot 
up like a sky rocket e.g. un aviateur 
qui monte en chandelle, 

Leurs cris, leurs chants, des im- 
precations rauques, montaient en 
chandelle jusqu'au deuxieme etage 
du Florence (P. MAO ORLAN, Sous la 
Lumiere froide). 

4. Tenir la chandelle) (a) To favour, know- 
ingly or unknowingly, a love-affair ; 
(b) To be a mere spectator, a looker- 

Lit. * to hold the candle ' (in order to give 
light to others). 

"5. Une chandelle lui pend au nez 9 is said of 
one who needs to wipe his nose. 
Lit, ' a candle is hanging from his nose *. 
Chandelle is used in popular speech in the 
sense of *snot', 'dew-drop*, 'candle'. 

6. Voir des chandelles or trente-six chand- 
elles or trente-six mille chandelles, To 
see stars (as the result of a violent 
blow on the head or in the eyo). 
Faire voir trente-six (mille) chandelles 
a quelqu'un y To make a person see 
stars, to knock fireworks out of (spots 
off) a person. 

For the use of trente-six, see under trente-six. 
II lui administra trois coups do 
poing qui lui firent voir trente-six 
chandelles (A. HEBMANT, Cadet de 
See Ibeigne (Zola). 

chand de vin or chand d'vin n.m. Popu- 
lar abbrevation for marchand de wn t 

change, n.m. 1. Donner (or Faire 
prendre) le change d> quelqii'un, To put 
one oil the scent, on the wrong scent, 
to impose upon, deceive, take one in, 

In hunting parlance" 'change denotes the ruse 
by means of which the animal which is being 
pursued succeeds in throwing the dogs on to 
the track of another beast; the animal is 
thus said to ' give ' the change and the dogH 
to ' take ' it. 

Cette explication idiote no donna 
pas le change a Hubert (A. HEBMANT, 
Coutras, Soldat). 

2. Rendre le change a quelgtfun. To pay 
some one back in his own coin. 
Change here has the old meaning of 'that 
which is given in exchange *. 

changer, vb. tr. To be a good change 
for a person e.g. La campagne vous 
changera, The country air will be a 
good change for you. 

chanson, n.f. Ghansons que tout cela / 


(That's all) Stuff and nonsense ! 
That's mere idlo talk ! Tell that to the 
marines ! 

chantage, n.m. Blackmail. Faire du 
chantage, To be a blackmailer. 
See chanter 2(a). 

II pouvait, s'il n'etait pas mort, 
venir un jour ou 1'autre la relan- 
cer (* hunt her up '), faire du 
tapage ( c create a scandal '), ou 
essay er d'un chantage quelconque 
(GYP, Miche). 

chanter. 1. vb. tr. To say, talk (imply- 
ing nonsense, rot) e.g. Qu*e$t-ce gue 
vous me chantez la ? or Que me chantez- 
vous la ? What on earth (or What non- 
sense) are you telling me ? 
See note to 2(a). 

Qu*est~ce gue vous me chantez la, 
Demetre ? La princesso Maritza 
est au-dessus du soupgon ! (WiLLY, 
Jeux de Princes). 

2. vb. intr. (a) JFaire chanter quelqu'un, 
To obtain money from a person by 
blackmail, to blackmail, to extort hush 

Chanter in old jargon was equivalent to parler 
or dire. 

Tu seras le premier qui aura ja r it 

chanter le pere Lcchat. . . . y& n'est 

pas rien (' That's no mean feat '). 

. . . Ton prix ? (0. MXRBEAU, Les 

Affaires sont les Affaires). 

(b) C'est comme si voms chantiez (or je 

chantais or Von chantait) ! It is like 

talking to the wind (or air), One might 

as well talk to the wind (or air), It is 

like preaching in the desert, It is no go 

(no use). 

(c) Si cela (or go) vous (etc.) chante, If you 

are in the mood for it e.g. Je le ferai 

si ca me chante, I'll do it if I choose, 

if it suits me, if it suits my book, if I 

led like it, if I feel in the mood for it. 

Je vois que go, ne vous ckante pas, 

cette besogne, hein ? (P. BOURGET, 

Tragiques Memous). 

See poisser 2 (Garco). 
chanterelle, n.f. Appuyer sur la chanter- 
elle, (fig.) To harp on tho one string. 
Lit. ' to press on the treble-string ' (e.g. of a 
violin), i.e. to bring out the most interesting 
part of a piece of music. Hence fig. to call 
attention, when the opportunity presents 
itself, to the important or essential part of 
an affair. 

Le prince croit entrevoir une lueur 
d'esperance ; vivement int&ress6, il 
appuie sur la chanterelle : Quoi 

83 charlbon 

done, Maritza, vous auriez vraiment 
souffert de mes . . . gamineries V 
(WiLLY, Jeux de Princes). 
chapardage, n.m. Pinching, scrounging, 
See chaparder. 
ehaparder, vb. tr. To rob, pinch, scrounge, 


This word has passed into popular speech 

from the slang of the soldiers in Africa and 

means primarily to go marauding or prowl - 

in? in search of prey, like the chat-pard or 

* African tiger-cat ' (SAINJ&AN. Langage yar- 


J'avais la certitude quecefidele et 
devoue serviteur, cette perle unique, 
chapardait tout ce qu'il pouvait 
dans la maison (0. MIEBEATJ, Le 
Journal d'une Femme de Ghambre). 
chapeau, n.m. Ghapeaux bas ! Hats off ! 
ehapelle, n.f. 1. Set, clique e.g. former 
une petite chapelle, to form a little 

By allusion to people attached to the service 
of a ehapelle. 

2. Faire ehapelle, is said of a woman who 
lifts her dress to warm her limbs by the 

By allusion to the nautical phrase faire 
cfavpeUe, 'to broach to'. 
ehapitrer, vb. tr. To lecture, rate, scold. 
Lit. to censure an ecclesiastic in the presence 
of the whole cftupitre, * chapter '. See voix an 

Sa femme 1'avait tellement cha- 
pitre qu'il commenait a admettre 
la possibilite d'une trahison de la 
part de son ami Clerambourg (R. 
BOYLESVE, 1} 'Enfant a la Balustrade). 
charalbia, n.m. Gibberish, jargon e.g. 
Ce n'est pas du francais, c'est du chara- 
bia, It is not French, it is gibberish 
(double Dutch). 

The word is applied to any unintelligible or 
barbarous speech or style, and was originally 
used contemptuously of the patois of the 
Auvergnats, who brought the word to Paris 
in the early nineteenth century. Same*an 
(Langage parisien, pp. 80-1) rejects what he 
considers to be the fanciful derivation of the 
word from the Spanish algarabia, meaning 
'the Arabic language', and connects the 
term with the Lyonnais charabarat, ' horse- 
market', * horse- dealing % which, like the 
word charivari with which it is connected, 
contains an allusion to * confused noise ', 
and so naturally led to the notion of 
1 linguistic confusion % ' unintelligible jargon ' 
or * jabber " 

eharbon, n.m. Eire sur les charbons or 
sur des charbons ardents, To be con- 
sumed with impatience or anxiety, to 
be on thorns, on tenterhooks. 
Lit. ' to be on (glowing) embers* ; cp. 6tre sur 




le gril with the same meanings. Another 
variant ttre sur les dpines, is the exact 
equivalent of the English 'to be on thorns'. 
charbonnier, n.m. Gharbonnier est maUre 
chez lui (or chez soi), Every one is 
master in Ms own house, A man's house 
is his castle. 
This is a variant of an old saying Par droit 
et par raison chaoun est maitre dans sa 
maison. said to have been used by a some- 
what boorish charbonni&r one day when 
Ifrancois I, having lost his way while hunting, 
had taken refuge in his hut. The king, it 
seems, had seated himself on the one com- 
fortaTble chair, but was turned out of it 
when the charbonnier came home, the 
latter, unconscious of his guest's identity, 
justifying his action by quoting the old 
saying, which the king on his return re- 
peated to his conrtiers. 

*diarbougna(s), n.m. = bougna(t). 
charcuter, vb. tr. To operate upon, per- 
form a surgical operation (implying 
clumsily) e.g. On Va charcute deux 
Jois, He's been ' cut open ' twice. 
Lit. ' to cut up raw meat * , * to hack and hew, ' 
like a charcutier or pork- butcher. 
Cfaarenton, proper name. Un echappe or 
pensionnaire de Charenton, Un homme 
digne d'aller a Charenton, Envoy er quel- 
qu'un a Charenion, expressions used 
with reference to a person who is mad, 
crazy, of one who ought to be in an 

JBy allusion to the famous asylum, situated 
near Charenton, to the east of Paris. Cp. tin 
4chapp6 de Bia&tr&, used in the same way, the 
village of BicStre also possessing a well-known 

charge, n.f. 1. A la charge d'autant or A 
charge de revanche, I will do as much 
(or the same) for you (another time), 
One good turn deserves another. 
Lit. " On condition that you let me do as 
much or that you let me have my * revenge * 
(in the sense of ' return match ' at games). 

En m'ouvrant les yeux, vous 
rn'avez rendu un grand service. A 
charge de revanche (BRIEUX, Les 

2. En avoir sa charge, (a) To have all one 
can carry ; (b) is said, familiarly, of a 
drunken or stout person. 

3. Jfltre a charge a quelqu'un, (a) To be a 
burden to e.g. La vie lui est a charge, 
Life is a burden to him ; (6) to cause 
a person expense. 

ge'h&iQ, as in 2, has the force of ( burden '. 
II n'etait pas absolurnent a charge 
& sa famille, et, plein de bonne 
volonte", il cherchait sans cesse, et 
trouvait par-ci, par-la, une besogne 
mal pay^e, un portrait, ijuelques 

logons (IT. COPPEE, Les Fiances de 

4. Etre a la charge de quelqu'iin, (a) To be 

paid, kept by a person ; (b) To be en- 
trusted to a person's care, to bo upon 
a person's hands. 
Here cJmrge implies * onerous obligation '. 

5. Jftevemr a la charge, To make the 

attempt again, to try it again, to ask 
over and over again. 
Really a military phrase, to return to the 
charge '. 

6. Joke e.g. Quelle bonne charge ! That's 

a good 'un ! What a capital joke ! 
Implies an extravagant joke (in words or 
action) with the object of hoaxing a person, 
such as is played, for example, by art 
students on each other. This meaning of 
the word is due to analogy with the ex- 
tended use of charge in the sense of * carica- 

charivari, n.m. 1. Discordant, tin-kettle 

2, Row, uproar, hubbub, clatter. 

The word denote? primarily a mock serenade 
(in 'honour' of some unpopular person) 
played upon saucepans, cauldrons, etc., and 
accompanied by catcalls and other dis- 
cordant noises. 

Charlemagne, proper n,ame. Fa ire Charle- 
magne, (at cards) To leave the game 
when winning, without giving one's 
opponents a chance of revenge. 
This is said to be an abbreviation of faire, 
comma Charl&m&gne and to allude to the fact 
that the Emperor died or left the game of 
life without losing any of the conquests ho 
had made. The name of Charlemagne was 
probably suggested because one of the kings 
in the pack of cards formerly bore this name. 

eharlemagner, vb. inlr. = faire Charle- 

II filait sur (' made for ') Ham- 
bourg, y faisait sauter la banquo 
('broke the bank there'), reiterait 
a Spa, se constituait un capital, 
puis charlemagnait avec une sagcsse 
otonnante chez un tel hustubcrlu 
(* giddy pate ') (J. RIGIIEPI.N, fllam- 

*Charles, proper name. T% paries, Charles i 
A stock rhyming phrase, expressing 
approval or agreement : Now you're 
talldng ! You bet, old chap ! I should 
jolly well think so ! You may well say 
so ! Not 'arf, Arthur ! 
*Charlot, proper name. The public execu- 
tioner. See also maltre des hautes 
oeuvres, Monsieur de Paris, raccour- 

Larousse states that this appellation is derived 
from the name of the headsman who executed 
Damiens (who had made a murderous attack 




on Louis XV) In 1757. Saine'an (Sources 
indigenes, I, p. 357) remarks that Chariot was 
frequently used in this sense in the eighteenth 
century, and that the name was adopted by 
the malefactors of the nineteenth century and 
has survived in popular speech. 
It may be noted here that the famous film- 
comedian Charlie Chaplin is known in France 
as Chariot. 

eharme, n.m. CP est ce qui en fait le eharme, 

That's the beauty of it. 
*eharrier. *1. vb. tr. To humbug, fool, 
stuff e.g. Ne me charrie pas, Don't 
you kid (cod) me. 

*2. vb. intr. (a) To joke e.g. Sans char- 
rier, Without joking, Honest injun ! 

(b) To exaggerate, come it strong e.g. 
Ne charrie pas / Come off it ! 

Dix-huit poches ! Tu charries, 

nez d'rat, fait le gros Lamuse (BL 


An old cant word, meaning to rob a person 

by means of a trick (lit. ' to lead in a chariot ' ; 

cp. mener quelqu'un en bateau), which has 

been adopted by popular speech with the 

generalised force of * to make fun of ', ' to 

joke ' (SAiNfiAN, Les Sources de I' Argot ancien. 

il, pp. 220, 309). 

cliarrue, n.f. Mettre la charrue (or la 
charrette) devant les bceufs, To put the 
cart before the horse. 

Charytode, proper name. Tomber de Oha- 
fybde en Scylla> f To fall out of the 
frying-pan into the fire. 
This expression originates in a line of the 
AUxandr6ide, a poem in Latin verse by 
Philippe Gaultier de Chatillon, written in 1277 
and printed in 1513. In Book V, 11. 297-301, 
the poet thus addresses Darius fleeing before 
Alexander : 

. . . Nescis, heu ! perdite , nescis 
Quern fugias : hostes incums, dum fugis 

hostem ; 

Imidis in Scyllam cupiens mtare Charyb- 
dim. SAIN^AN, La Langue de Rabelais, I, 
p. 495. 

Variants : Tomber de fi&vre en chaud mal ; 
Tomber de la poMe dans la braise. 
*chass d'Af, n.m. Soldier belonging to 
a light cavalry regiment serving in 
Africa ; short for chasseur d'Afrique. 

chasseur, n.m. A groom or messenger 
dressed in livery and attached to cafes 
and hotels, whose duty it is to open and 
shut carriage doors, summon taxis, run 
errands, etc., * buttons'. 
Originally a servant in hunting livery who 
used to ride behind his master's carnage. 

chat, n.m. 1. Term of endearment e.g. 
Mon (petit) chat, Ma chatte, Ducky, 
darling. The masculine form is often 
applied to women. 

Mon pauvre chou ! mon pauvre 
chat I Ah ! oui, va, tu peux me 

plaindre. Je suis assez malheur- 
euse (G. COUKTELINE, Gros Chagrins). 
See beautS 2 (Reval). 

2. A bon chat bon rat, Tit for tat ; A 

Roland for an Oliver ; Diamond cut 
diamond ; Set a thief to catch a thief. 
Lit. ' it takes a good cat to catch a good rat '. 

3. Acheter chat en poche, To buy a pig in a 


fin poche here has the meaning of dans un sac, 
' in a bag ' , and formerly en sac was used in 
this phrase instead of en poche. The expres- 
sion alludes to the fact that, owing to the cat's 
great attachment to the place where it was 
brought up, it has to be carried away in a bag 
when transported to some other locality. The 
phrase is generally used in a negative con- 

II a eu tout le temps de la con- 
iiaitre, d'etudier son caractere, et 
n'achete pas, comme on dit (' as the 
saying goes '), chat en poche (T. 
GAITTIEK, Voyage en Espagne}. 

4. Appeler un chat un chat, To call a 

spade a spade. 

A reminiscence of a line in Boileau's first 
Satire : 'J'appelle unchat un chat, et Rolet un 
fnpon.' Charles Holet was a procureur of the 
Parlement of Paris in the reign of Louis XIV, 
and was notorious for his roguery. 

5. Avoir d'autrcs chats (or chiens) afouetter 
(or a peigner), To have something 
more important to do, to have other 
fish to fry. 

Lit. "to have other cats (dogs) to whip '. 

Puis le temps emporta ce reve 
absurde. A cette heure il avait, 
comme on dit (* as the saying goes '), 
d'autres chats a fouetter (E. BOD, 

6. Avoir un chat dans la gorge, To be 
hoarse, to have phlegm (or a frog or a 
donkey) in one's throat. 

An allusion to the raucous miaowings of the 

7. C'est le chat ! c The cat did it ! ' This is 
the stock reply made by persons (par- 
ticularly children and servants). who 
blame the cat for something they are 
accused of. Non, c'est le chat ! c No, 
it was Mr. Nobody ! ' It is said 
ironically to one who denies his respon- 
sibility for a misdeed of which he is 
obviously guilty. 

Qu'est-ce que je t'ai donn.6 hier ? 
Deux francs. Tu es sur ? Mais 
oui, mignonne. Eh bien, il me 
manque trente-huit sous. Ce n'est 
pas moi qui les ai pris. Non . . . 
c'est le chat (0. MIBBEAU, Le Journal 
d'une Femme de Chambre). 



8. Chat echaude craint Vcau froidc, A 
"burnt child dreads the fire ; Once bit, 
twice shy. 

Lit. "A scalded cat fears cold water', i.e. 
even cold water. 

9. ifiveitter (or JMvciller) U chat qui dort 

e.g. II ne faut pas (r)eveiUer le chat qui 
dort, Lot sleeping dogs lie ; Do not 
rake up tlio past. 

[Formerly le chien was used instead of le cJmt, 
and the expression was then more apt, smce 
It is the dog which guards the entrance to the 
house, so that if a person wishes to enter 
without being molested he must take care not 
to awaken the dog if it happens to be asleep, 

10. II n'est (or II n*y a) si petit chat qui 
n* egratigne, Even, a worm will turn. 
Lit. * There is no eat, however small, which 
does not scratch/ 

11. II rty a pas (Id) de quoi fouclter un 
chat (or un chien), It is a very trifling 
offence, It is not worth while mention- 
ing (or spending breath about). It is 
not -worth getting angry about, There 
is no occasion to make such a fuss. 
Cp. chien 18. 

Sache que, dans toute cette his- 
toire, il n'y a pas de quoi fouctter un 
chat (0. II. HIRSOH, " Petit " Louis, 

12. II n'y a, pas un chat, There is not a 
(living) soul. 

Cp. ame 1. 

13. La nuit, tons les chats sont gris. At 
night one may easily be mistaken ; At 
night beauty is of no account ; When 
candles are away, all cats are grey. 

Cp. the G erman jBci Nacht sind alleKatzen grau, 

14. Les chats ont la vie dure, Cats have 
nine lives. 

15. Quand le chat n'y est pas, les souris 
dansent, or Le chat parti (or Absent le 
chat), les souris dansent, When the 
cat's away, the mice will play. 

See also Appendix sub chat, chatte. 
ch&teau, n.m. Faire (or JBdtir or Con- 
struire) des chdteauos en Espagne, To 
build castles in the air. 
The correct explanation of this expression 
is that given by A. Morel-Patio (Etudes sur 
I'Hspagne, Quatrieme Serie, 1925, pp. 119 ft 1 .), 
who traces it back to certain chansons de geste 
ia which Charlemagne is represented as oiler- 
ing to his knights castles in Spam, the land of 
the Infidels, which, being in the possession of 
the enemy, are really not in his gift, since the 
knights can only win them by force of arms. 
The phrase in its present form and meaning 
occurs as early as the Roman de la Hose. 

Moi, je construis des chdteaux en 
Sspagne et j'attrape de ces desillu- 
sions !(H. BERNSTEIN, La Griff e). 

chSteaubriand, n.m. Fillet-steak grilled 
in a special way and generally served 
with pommes de terre 

Ch&teau-Lapompe, n.m. Water, Adam's 

A humorous appellation, vintage wines being 
often designated by such names as Chdteau- 
Lagrangc, ilhdteau-Lafite, etc., from the name 
of the estate where they are grown. 

Chanel, adj. and n.m. *1. Too dear e.g. 
Les primeiws sont chaudes pour les 
petites bourses, Early vegetables are 
too dear for small purses. Oela cotite 
chaud, That's a stiff price. 
*2. Ghaud ! chaud I Hurry up ! Put some 
vim into it ! Ghaud la, man garcon ! 
Buck up, my lad ! 

3. Gcla (or Qa) ne, lui (me, vous, etc.) fait 
ni chaud ni froid, Ho does not care a 
bit about that, It's all the same to him, 
It is of no consequence to him. 

J'ai hate de lui apprendre que j 
suis riche. Bile sait que cela ne lui 
fcra ni froid ni chaud, car je Fai 
dressee ne jamais compter sur moi 
(A. HEBMANT, Coutras, Soldat). 

4. II fern chaud quand . . ., (ironical) it 
will be a long time before . . . Cp. 
beau 2. 

11 fera chaud, mon ami, quand 
jo feral gagner uno Assurance (R. 
BENJAMIN, Les Justices de Paix). 
chauflardy n.m. Reckless motor-driver, 
road-hog. Pejorative form of chauf- 

chauffer. I. (a) To go briskly about 
a thing e.g. chauffer une affaire, to 
push on with a matter. 
(b) To coach, cram a pupil for an examin- 
*(c) To steal, scrounge, pinch. 

La grosse Sophie dont 1'homme 

avait chaiiffi la bague d'un type 

( fellow ') (F. CAEOO, Les Innocents). 

*-(d) To arrest, catch e.g. Se faire 

chauffer, To get nailed, nabbed. 

2. vb. intr. Qa (or Cela) chauffe ! is said 

of any lively event, of something in 

full swing : Things are humming ! 

fla va chauffer / We're in for a hot 

time ! There will bo a hot light ! 

Things are going to hum ! 1 1 faut que 

ca chauffe / Things have got to hum ! 

Quel grabuge ! (* ructions '). Tel6- 

phone, t61Sgramme. . . . Avortir le 

concierge. . . . Ce que $a cJiauffe I 

' (H. BATAILLB, Poliche). 




efaausser, vb. tr. Cela (or fa) me chausse = 
Cda (or Qa) me botte ; see better. 
Lit. 'that fits my feet*. This expression is 
not as common as Qa me botte. 

cfaaussettes, n.f. pi. Porter des chaussettes 
russes, Not to wear any socks at all. 
Lit. 'to wear Russian socks'. Chaussettes 
russes are wrappers for the feet made of pieces 
of cloth or linen and were sometimes used by 
soldiers to bind their feet with when regu- 
lation socks were not provided. 

chain/in, n.m. and adj. One with, a blind 
admiration for his country, fanatical 
patriot, jingo(ist). 

Nicolas Chauvin was a veteran in the armies 
of the Revolution and Napoleon I. We first 
find him repiesented in the drawings of the 
time of the Restauration, particularly in the 
lithographs of Charlet, to whom, perhaps, 
the creation of the type is due. Chauvin as 
the representative of bellicose patriotism soon 
became very popular and figured in various 
songs and plays e.g. La Cocarde tricolore 
(1831) by the brothers Theodore and Hippo- 
lyte Cogniard. 

chauvinlsme, n.m. Exaggerated patriot- 
ism, especially from the military point 
of view, jingoism. 

chauviniste, adj. Pertaining to chauvin- 
Isme, jingoistic. 

chaux, n*f. JEitre bdti & chaux et a sable, 
(ol persons) To be of a strong constitu- 
tion, to be as strong as a horse. 
jBdtir d chaux et d sable (or d ciment) (lit. ' to 
build with lime and sand or cement * ) is said 
primarily of a house which is built with a 
solid foundation, 

Le marquis n'avait que soixante- 
cinq ans et il etait bdti a chaux et a 
sable, c'est vrai. Mais il 6tait gros, 
on ne savait pas ce qui pouvait 
arriver (GYP, Miche). 

chef, n.m. Faire quelque chose de son 
(propre) chef, To do something on one's 
own responsibility, of one's own ac- 
cord (authority, initiative). 
Chef, originally 'head 1 (Lat. caput), lias 
here the fig. force of * personal authority 
or right'. 

Voila qu'elle avait des dsirs per- 
sonnels, voil^t que, de son propre chej, 
elle parlait de sortie, de deplace- 
ment (L. PBAPI^, La Boite aux 

cliemin, n.m. 1. Faire son chemin, (fiff-) 
To make one's way in the world, to get 

See algle (Lavedan), eoude 2 

2. Faire voir (bien) du chemin & quelqu'un 
e.g. Je lui ferai voir (bien) du chemin, 
I'll lead him a pretty dance, I'll send 
Mm on a wild-goose chase. Cp. pays 3. 

LU. * to^make some one see (or cover) a lot of 
ground ". 

3, Ne pas (y) alter par quatre chemins 

e.g. II n'y (or ne) va pas par quatre 
chemins, He does not beat about the 
bush, He goes straight to the point, 
He does not mince matters, He does 
not shilly-shally. 

Monsieur,, je viens causer affaires 
avec vous. Je n'irai pas d'ailleurs 
par quatre chemins pour m'expliquer 
(MAUPASSANT, Mont-Oriol). 

Ma chere madame, je n'irai pas 
par quatre chemins. Voici le but de 
notre visite (BuiEUX, Les trois Filles 
de M. Dupont). 
See collier 1 (Brieux). 

4. Prendre le chemin des ecoliers (or de 

Cecole), To go (take) the longest way, 

a roundabout way. 

Like the schoolboy 'creeping like snail 

unwillingly to school '. 
eheminot, n.m. Railwayman. 

i.e. one who works on the chemin de fer. 

See vadrouiller 2 (Remains). 
ehtenillon, n.m. Ugly girl. 

From chenille, ' caterpillar * ; cp. laid comme 

une cli&nille, ' as ugly as sin '. 

"chenique, n.m. == scliBick. . 
*chenu, adj. Of superior quality, topping, 
nobby e.g. du vin chenu, good old 
wine. C'est du chenu, (of anything) 
It's tip-top. 

Lit. 'whitened by age', 'hoary'; hence 
applied in popular speech to good wine and 
then to good things in general. 
ch&quard, n.m. Bribed person (especially 
a politician). 

A nickname given originally to those poli- 
ticians or journalists who were bribed by 
means of cheques in order to gain their sup- 
port for the Panama Canal undertaking in 

Nos chequards du Parlement liv- 

rent la France a une puissance 

etrangere, la Finance (A. FRANCE, 

Le Mannequin d 9 Osier). 

Cher, adv. 1. II fait cher vivre id, Living 

is dear here. 

2. Ne pas valoir cher y (of persons) Not to 
be up to much; (of things) To be 
devoid of merit. 

^cli&rot, adj. Somewhat dear, rather ex- 
*eiierrer, vb. intr. = charrier 2. 

Cfierrer is the Auvergnat pronunciation of 
serrer, and originally penetrated into Parisian 
argot with the meaning of serrer la gorge, ' to 
strangle'. Among pork-butchers (of whom 
many are Auvergnats) serrer la viande, le sang, 
etc., in making black-pudding, is to put 
too much in, whence the other meaning of 




cherrer ( = charrier, 'to exaggerate'), which 
lias prevailed (SAIN^AN, Langage vanswn, 
p. 319). 

eheval, n.m. 1. A cheval, (fig.} e.g. 
Jllcrire une lettre & cheval a quelqu'un, 
To write a severe, very sharp letter to 
a person. Eire a cheval sur . . ., To 
be a stickler (for the observance 
of . . .) e.g. II est a, cheval sur 
^etiquette (les convenances, les regie- 
ments), He is a stickler for etiquette 
(the proprieties, the regulations). 
Probably by allusion to the feeling of superior- 
ity that a horseman has when towering above 
the crowd of pedestrians. In the phrase dtre 
d cheval sur . . . there is also the notion 
of being firm in the saddle. 

La colere & la fin s'est emparee de 
M. Cardinal. II a pris la plume et 
il a ecrit au depute une de ces lettres 
d cheval que lui seul sait ccrire (L. 
HALEVY, Les petites Cardinal). 

II faut de 1'ordre . . . beaucoup 
d'ordre. Je suis a cheval sur Fordro 
. . . sur la proprete . . . et surtout 
sur la probite (0. MIRBEAXJ, Le 
Journal d'une Femme de Chambre). 

2. Cheval a Vouvrage (or au travail or d la 
besogne) e.g. G'est un (vrai) cheval d 
I'ouvrage, etc., He is a demon for 
work, a regular glutton for work. Cp. 
travailler comme un cheval, to work 
like a horse. 

3. Cheval de bataille e.g. C'est (or Get 

argument est) son cheval de bataille, 
That is his great (or main) argument, 
That is his hobby-horse. 
See note to 7. 

4. Cheval de retour, (a) An old convict, an 

old offender, a returned or escaped con- 
vict sent back to the convict-settle- 
ment ; (6) said of a woman who is past 
her prime, a good old * has-been '. 

Alors, vous aimez les debutantes ? 
J'aime mieux une debutante qu'un 
cheval de retour . . . oui . . . cer- 
tainement (Gyp, Les Amour cux). 

5. Diner avec les chevaux de bois, To go 
without a dinner, to dine with Duke 

Lit. * to dine with the hobby-horses' (of a 
merry-go-round. Cp. diner par caeur; see 
eoBUr 5. 

Elle se trouvait done sur le pave 
(* homeless ') ; et il s'en fallait 
exactement do dix-neuf sous pour 
qu'en poche elle en eut vingt. Si 
bien conclut-elle que, ce soir, je 
vais diner comme du temps que 

j'etais arpctte : avec les chevaux de 
bois/ (C. EARK&RE, Dix-Sept His- 
toires de Marins). 

6. Etre bon cheval de trompette, Not to 
be easily dismayed or frightened (by 
threats or noise or bluster). 

By allusion to a horse which does not shy 
when a trumpet is blown at close quar- 

Je suis bon cheval de trompette ! 
. . . Les basses attaqucs auxquelles 
jo suis en butte glissent sur moi 
sans m'atteindre . . . j'ai dornii 
dix heures tout d'unc traite ! (GYP, 
Le Baron Sinai). 

7. Monter (or Etre monte) sur ses grands 

chevaux, To ride (mount, be on) the 
high horse. 

The knights ot the Middle Ages, when going 
to war, took at least two horses with them 
a smaller one on which they journeyed, and 
a bigger one on which they mounted when 
preparing for battle. The latter was the 
cheval de balaille, 'warhorse', 'charger'. 
Hence the fig. use of the above expression, 
which is said of one who gets ready to argue 
in a haughty manner and takes seriously the 
harmless words uttered by another; hence 
too the fig. meaning of ch&val de bataille ; 
see 3. 

II pousse sa pointe pres de la 
princesse ; il la serre do si pres 
qu'ello so revolte, et la voila qui 
monte sur ses grands chevaux, qui le 
traite de haut en has (F. SAECEY, 
Quarante Ans de Theatre). 
clievalier, n.m. C'est un chevalier d? Indus- 
trie, He is an adventurer, sharper, 
swindler, crook. 

Industrie here has the meaning of ' skill', so 
that the expression denotes a person who 
lives by his wits. 

cheveu, n.m. 1. Difficulty, trouble, 
worry, hindrance, hitch e.g. Voila le 
cheveu I There's the rub I J'ai un 
cheveu, I have some trouble on my 
mind, some reason for uneasiness. 11 
y a un cheveu, There's a hitch some- 

An allusion to cheveux Hancs, 'grey hairs', 
the result of worry. 

II a epate ( c astounded ') tous les 
gens de la maison ou grand-p6re 
a achete" son auto, il parait ! . . . 
et quand grand-pere a cssaye la 
machine, ily a eu une panne (' break- 
down ') . . . et c'est Anatolo qui a 
trouv6 le cheveu, alors quo lo mecani- 
cien donnait sa langue aux chiens 
(' gave it up ') (GYP, Miche), 
2. Avoir mal aux cheveux, To feel out of 
sorts after a spree, to have a (fat) 




head (i.e. a headache caused by over- 
night potations) e.g. J'ai un peu mal 
aux cheveux, I've a bit of a head, I feel 

* chippy '. 

Les lendemains de culotte (' drink- 
ing bout '), le zingueur avait mal aux 
cheveux (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
*3. Avoir un cheveu pour une femme, To be 
gone (sweet) on a woman. 

4. Gouper (or Fendre) un cheveu en quatre, 
To split hairs. 

See fegte (A) 3 (Boylesve). 

5. JSn cheveux, (of a woman) Without a 

hat e.g. Elle sort en cheveux, She goes 

out bareheaded. 

Elliptical for coiffee en cheveux. 

Le contraire de la fernme qui 
porte chapeau, c'est la femme en 
cheveux (A. HEKMANT, Cadet de 

6. Faire dresser les cheveux sur la tile, 
e.g. C'est a faire dresser les cheveux sur 
la ttite, It is enough to make one's hair 
stand on end. 

7. S 'e faire des cheveux, To worry, fret. 
Elliptical for se faire d&s cheveux blancs ; cp. 1 . 

Burette sefaisait des cheveux : "II 
va rater (* miss *) son train " (R. 
BENJAMIN", Gaspard). 

8. Se prendre aux cheveux, To have a 
furious quarrel, to come to blows. 

Cp. chignon. 

See peI6 (France). 

9. Tire par les cheveux e.g. un argument 
(un raisonnement, une comparaison) 
iire(e) par les cheveux, a far -fetched 
argument (reasoning, comparison). 
Said of an argument, etc., which is 'forced *, 

* painfully deduced * ; possibly by allusion to 
the violent method of pulling a recalcitrant 
person by the hair to force him to obey. 

cheville, n.f. Ne pas oiler (arriver) a la 
cheville de quelqu\m f To be very in- 
ferior to a person e.g. Vous ne lui 
allez pas a la cheville,, You are a pigmy 
compared to him, You are no match 
for him at all, You are unworthy to tie 
his shoestrings. 
Lit. ' not to come up to a person's ankle *. 

Pourquoi, se demandait-il, suis-je 
seul ici a comprendre son grand 
caractere ? Aucune des personnes 
pr6sentes ne lui va seulement a la 
cheville (R. BOBDEATJX, Les Moyue- 

ehevre, n.f. 1. Avoir la cMvre, To be 
angry. Prendre la chevre, To get into 
a rage, to fly into a passion. 
By allusion to the goat's capricious tempera- 

ment, vivacity and irregular movements; 
cp. note to Wsquer. 

2. Menager la chevre et le chou 9 To run 
with the hare and hunt with the hounds. 
Lit. *to spare the goat and the cabbage*. 
The expression alludes to a problem story 
told to children : On the bank of a river 
stands a man in charge of a wolf, a goat and 
a cabbage, but the ferry-boat is so small that 
he can only take one of his charges with him 
at a time. How can he get them all across 
without giving the wolf a chance to eat the 
goat or the goat a chance to eat the cabbage ? 
The solution of course is that he first ferries 
the goat over and then returns for the wolf. 
When he has carried the wolf across , he brings 
back the goat and leaves it on the bank while 
he takes the cabbage across. Finally he 
returns alone to fetch the goat. 

Dans ton Ode a la Bastille tu as 

cherche a menager la chevre et le chou 

et tu n'as contente personne (A. 

THETJBIET, La Chanoinesse). 
cliez, prep. 1. Un chez soi, A home 
e.g. J'aime mon chez moi, I love my 
home. 11 n^y a pas de petit chez soi, 
There is no place like home ; East, 
west, home is best ; * Home is home, 
though it be ever so homely '. 
The pronoun changes, of course, according to 
the context ; thus we find un (mon) chez moi, 
un (ton) chez toi, son chez lui, un (son) chez soi, 
un (notre) chez nous, un (wire) chez vous, etc. 
Plus tard, quand je suis sorti, j'ai 

pris mon chez moi en horreur (P. 

VEBEB, Les Rentrees). 
J'ai hate que notre chez nous soit 

installe (F. DE CROISSET, Le Eonheur, 

]: 2. Chez qui? inter j. Stock popular for- 
mula denoting denial, contemptu- 
ous refusal e.g. Te prlter dix francs ? 
Non, mais chez qui? Lend you ten 
francs ? Who do you take me for ? or 
Go on ! or I don't think ! or Not if I 
know it ! 
*ehial(l)er, vb. intr. To weep, blub. 

A variant chiailler seems to point to a 

deformation of piaiUer, 'to squall', * bawl'. 

II chiallait comme un gosse, prome- 

nant son petit tire- jus (* snot-rag') 

de soie rose sur sa pauvre figure 

(C. H. HIRSH, "Petit" Louis, 

Chiale pas ! Tu dois savoir que 
j'aime pas ga (J. H. ROSNY, Dans les 

*ehiasse, n.f. *1. Rubbish, trash, muck. 
*2. Avoir la chiasse, (lit.) To suffer from 
diarrhoea, to have the colic : ( fig.) to be 
in a funk. 
Lit. * excrement* of fly or insect. 




cMc. (A) n.m. 1. Knack, skill, origin- 
ality e.g. Avoir le chic pour (or de] 
faire quelque chose, To have the knack 
(hang) of a thing. 

2. Finish, elegance, dash, spirit, style, 

smartness e.g. Avoir du chic, To be 
stylish. Faire du chic, To swank. 
Qa> manque de chic, It lacks dash, It is 
commonplace. II a un chic tout par- 
ticulier, He has a style quite his own. 
II a le chic militaire, He has a smart, 
soldier-like appearance. 

II faut convenir que ces Parisiens 

ont un chic de tons !es diables (V. 

OHEEBULIEZ, ISAventure de Ladislas 

See bal(l)ader 2 (Willy). 

3. Faire quelque chose de chic, To do 
something with elegance, bold ease, 
with imaginative power, but without 
much regard for accuracy ; especially 
applied to painting and writing e.g. 
un tableau fait de chic is a picture done 
out of one's own head, without a model, 

La foire au pain d'epice est de- 
venue un theme de chic sur loquel 
tout le monde peut broder des varia- 
tions (J. RIOHEPIN, Le Pave). 

Du roman elle dut en retrancher 
une partie toute cntiere qu'elle avait 
composee " de chic ", a seule fin de 
ne pas demeurer inactive (IT. CARGO, 
Les Innocents). 

(B) ad 1 }. 1. Smart, stylish e.g. Un type 
chic, A fashionably dressed, smart 
fellow, a * knut ' . Des gens chic, Stylish, 
distinguished people. Un chic v&te- 
ment, A fashionable dress. 
2. Fine, first-rate, nobby, posh, stunning, 
swell, topping, etc. e.g. Un chic type, 
A good fellow (pal), a brick. Un chic 
diner, A tip -top dinner. C'etait chic ! 
It was a swagger affair ! Tr&s chic I 
That's the style ! 

J'ai refuse des hommes plus 
riches, plus chic et plus celebrcs que 
toi (G. DE PonTO-RiOFE, Amour- 

3. Decent, nice e.g. II a ete tres chic avec 
moi, He was very decent with me. fJa 
n'est pas chic de sa part, It's mean of 
him, it's not playing the game. 

Ah ! c'est pas chic, allez, ce que 
vous f aites la ! ... ah ! non ! 
(GYP, Les Froussards). 
See souffler (Veber). 
Chic was originally a studio term used among 

artists to indicate a certain skill of hand In th< 
arts, whence the idea of 'elegance*, ' dis 
tmction', etc. This modern meaning goes 
back to another and more general significa- 
tion, that of 'subtlety 1 , 'skill' (still ir 
force ; cp. A) , already found in the sixteentl 
century. The origin of the word is obscure 
some see in it an abbreviation of chicane 
The adjectival use has given rise to many tan 
ciful derivatives with the same meanings e g 
cMcandard, chicard, cMcocandard (SAIN^AN 
Langage parisien, pp. 458-9). 
chiche ! inter j. Expresses defiance e.g. 
Je le lui dirai! GTiiche/ I'll tell him ! 
You dare ! (Just try it on 1 I bet yoii 
don't! Rats!) 

Tenez, a la fin des fins, vous me 
degoutez et j'ai en vie de vous flan- 
quer ( c chuck ') tout $a a la figure. 
Chiche/ riposta la bonne qui taif 
familiere (H. DTTVERTSOIS, Le Chi&n 
qui parle). 

chichi, n.m. 1. Affected looks and man- 
ners, mincing, finicking airs e.g, 
Faire des chichis, To bo snobbish, to 
give oneself airs. Ge sont des gens a 
chichis, They are affected, formal, 

Encore un type a chichis ! ron- 
chonne (* grumbles ') V . . . (M. 
NADATLD, Un Bapteme). 

2. Fuss (often with the idea of 1) o.g, 

Faire des chichis or du chichi f To make 

a fuss. 

Non, la, vrai ! . . , Ellos en ont 
du toupet (* cheek J ), et ellos en foni 
du chichi, pour peu de chose (O. 
MIBBBATJ, Le Journal d'une Fem,mt 
de Ohambre). 

Oh! madame, moi, la fleur d'or- 
anger, 9a ne m'emballe pas (* does 
not rouse my enthusiasm '). Je 
trouve qu'cm fait beaucoup de chichi 
pour cette fleur-la (H. BATAILLE, 
Maman Golibri). 

3. Difficulty, complications e.g. II y a en 

toutes sortes de chicMs, There were all 
sorts of difficulties. 

4. Short curls of false hair. 

The. first meaning of chichi is 'noise*, "up 
roar'. The word is borrowed from the 
speech of children, in which it is intended tc 
imitate the noise of little birds or Insects 
(SATNloAisr, Langage parisien, p. 351). 
cMeor6e, n.f. 1. C'est fort de chicoree = 
O'est fort de cafe ; see eaf6 1. 

5i '2. Faire sa chicoree, To put on affected, 
high-falutin airs e.g. Nefais doncpa& 
ta chicoree f Don't give yourself such 
airs ! Come off it ! 

Jl cMcoter, vb. intr. To quarrel over trifles, 




to squabble. A variant for chipoter 2. 
From chicot (liL * stump of tree or tooth ' ) 
in the sense of ' small thing '. 
chien. (A) n.m. 1. Term of endear- 
ment (to man or woman) e.g. Mon 
Men or Mon chien-chien, Ducky, 
Probably ^by allusion to petted lap-dogs. 

II etait surtout ecoeure de 1'en- 
tondre dire ; Mon rat, Mon chien, 
Mon chat, Mon bijou, Mon oiseau 
bleu, Mon tresor (MAUPASSANT, Bel- 

*2. Brandy. Also called (sacre) chien tout 
pur e.g. un verre de chien tout pur, 
a glass of neat brandy. 

Une rnineapoivre (" A pub ') de la 
barriere Saint-Denis oii Ton buvait 
du chien tout pur (ZoLA, ISAssom- 

3. Autant vaut (or II vaut autant) tire 
tnordu d'un chien que d'une chienne, 
(One may) as well be hanged for a 
sheep as for a lamb. 

A variant is Mordu de chien ou de chat, o'est 
toufours Mte d guatre pattas. Of a person 
who is * asking for " more trouble one says 
II a 6t& mordu d'un chien, il v&ut l'Mr& d'une 

4. Avoir d'autres chiens a fouetter, To 
have better (more important) things to 
do, to have other fish to fry. 

Cp. ehat 5. 

Farnese, qui sans doute avait 
d'autres chiens a fouetter, et n'e"cout- 
ait plus, crut la re*plique finie et 
approuva de confiance (C. FABREEE, 
Quatorze Histoires de Soldats). 

5. Avoir du chien, (a) To have a certain 
originality or elegance. 

The expression is akin to avoir du chic or avoir 
du cachet, and came into being about 1880. 
Je fus par hasard a cette bouffon- 
nerie qui ne manque pas d'un cer- 
tain . . . ah ! ah ! d'un certain . . . 
comment dit-on ce vilain mot ? 
Eh mon Dieu, d'un certain . . . 
chien 1 ah ! ah ! ah ! la pauvre langue 
frangaise, prions pour elle ! (Gr. 
DBOZ, Entre nous), 

(b) (Of a woman) To have winning, allur- 
ing ways, to be fascinating. 

Mile a du chien tout de meme, 
disaient ceux qui la trouvaient & 
leur gout, telle quelle ('just as she 
was ') (J. RICHEPIN, Mamboche). 

(c) To be plucky, to possess dash (go, 
gameness) e.g. II a du chien (dans e 
venire), He's plucky ! He's got guts ! 

Allons, mes enfants, un peu de 
chien ! (* put some go into it | ') (J. 
E.IOHEPIN, La Miseloque). 

6. Avoir un chien pour un homme, To b 

in love with (infatuated with, gone on) 
a man. 

7. Bon chien chasse de race, Like father, 

like son; Breeding tells ; It runs in the 
blood ; He is a chip of the old block. 
Generally used in a favourable sense, though 
it can also be applied ironically, this phrase 
implies that a good dog does not need to 
be trained, but hunts naturally as a result of 
its breed 

Le fils de la mere Paumelle vient 
encore de faire une betise (* has just 
done another silly thing ') ; il 
finira mal (' he'll come to a bad 
end ? ), ce gargon-la. II est bien 
vrai que bon chien chasse de race 
(MAUPASSANT, Histoire vraie). 

8. Gela n'est pas fait pour les chiens f That 
is not made for nothing, That is made to 
be used. 

9. Chien de + noun (or noun + de chien), 
Wretched, rotten, beastly . . . e.g. 
Un chien de temps (or Un temps de 
chien), Wretched weather. Un chien 
de metier, A rotten job. Faire un 
metier de chien, To work at a wretched 
business, to live a dog's life. Chienne 
de vie ! What a rotten life ! 

Cp. II fait (or C'est) un temps a ne pas mettre 
un ehien dehors, The weather is not fit for a 
dog to be out. 

II fait un temps de chien : prends 
de quoi (* the wherewithal ', ' the 
money ', c enough ') payer 1' omni- 
bus (G. SAND, Pierre qui roule). 

Naturellement, le soir, je quittais 
la maison, et je me trouvais, une 
fois de plus, sur le pave ! ( 4 home- 
less'). . . . Chien de metier/ . . . 
Chienne de vie ! (0. MIEEEATJ, Le 
Journal d'une Femme de Chambre). 
*10. Chien de guartier, Regimental ser- 

This nickname for the adjudant alludes to the 
fact that he is in sole charge of the barracks, 
like a dog on guard. 

11. Chien du commissaire, Secretary to 
the police superintendent (commissaire 
de police). 

This uncomplimentary epjthet implies that 
the secretary is the superintendent's faithful 
and inseparable attendant. 

Une table couverte d'un tapis 
vert ou 6crivait le cMen du commis- 
saire (A. DATTDET, Fromont jeune et 




*12. Chien du rigiment, Corporal. Cp. 
cabot 2. 

13. Goucher (or Dormir) en chien de fusil, 
To curl up in bed. 

Lit. * to lie in such a way as to suggest the 
shape of the cock of a gun ' . 

14. Entre chien et loup, At dusk, in the 
twilight, between the lights. 

This expression (cp. & la bnme) may have 
arisen from the fact that at dusk, when 
objects are difficult to distinguish, one might 
easily mistake a wolf for a dog. Anothei 
explanation is that it dates from the time 
when forests were infested with wolves and 
the flocks were guarded by dogs. The dog 
and wolf represented implacable enemies ; 
the dog exercised his vigilance during the day, 
but as soon as night fell, the wolf came out 
of the forest to prowl round the fold, and 
disappeared with the dawn. Thus among the 
countryfolk the dog stood for the day and 
the wolf for the night, and entre chien et loup 
was synonymous with ' between day and 
night' (BoBERT,P/*ras<>%?,0,p.431). Saine*au 
(Sources indigenes, I, pp. 45-6) conjectures 
that the expression symbolises the twilight, 
the time of day when one can still distinguish 
a dog from a wolf. The phrase is attested as 
early as the thirteenth century, in the Bataille 
des sept arts : 

" En un carrefour fist un feu 

Lez un cerne entre chien et leu." 
Similarly in old Provencal entre ca et lop 
(modern entre chin etloup). 

Aussi eurent-ils ensemble une con- 
versation assez longue, et lorsque 
la femme de chambre vint retrou- 
ver Mme de Champrose dans la 
chambre de Jeannette, le jour 
etait-il entre chien et loup (GATTTIER, 
Jean et Jeannette). 

15. Faire le chien couchant (aupres de 
quelqu'un), To fawn and cringe (to a 

See coup 10 (Zola). 
16. Oarder un (petit) chien de sa chienne a 
quelqu'un, To avenge oneself sooner 
or later upon a person, to bear malice 
(or a grudge) against some one, to have 
a rod in pickle for a person. 
The phrase probably implies that when the 
dog belonging to the speaker has pups, one will 
be brought up to bite the speaker's enemy , 
or the expression may really be ironical, 
because if one keeps the pup of a thorough- 
bred dog in order to give it away as a present, 
one usually gives it to a friend ; cp. the Breton 
saying II n'aura pas de chiens de ma chienn& t 
i.e. * He is not a friend of mine '. 

Ce n'est rien . . . qn'un petit 
chien de ma cMenne ( e merely a rod 
I've got in pickle for her '). Mais 
je le lui devais bien, a celle-la ! 
Pourquoi ? Qu'est-ce qu'elle t'a 
fait, cette pauvre fille ? (H. BAT- 
, Poliche). 

17. 11 n*y a pas de quoi fouetter un chien 
(or un chat), It is not worth while men- 
tioning (or spending breath about), 
There is no occasion to make such a 

See chat 11. 

Ce n'est pas un evenement d'aimer, 
et il rfyapas, comme on dit, de quoi 
fouetter un chien (A. HERMANT, 
Cadet de Goutras). 

18. Ne pas attacher ses chiefs avec des 
saucisses e.g. II n? attache pott ses 
chiens avec des saucisses, He is a 
regular miser. 

A variant is II ne jette pas son, lard auv 
chiens (ht. "he does not throw away his 
bacon to dogs '). 

Elle aurait bien voulu divorcer, 
mais le pere Salomon, banquier et 
comte Remain, rtattacha'it pas 
comme il disait volontiers ses 
chiens avec des saucisses, et n'en- 
tendait pas avoir paye fort chor un 
baron authentique pour quo, par 
decision judiciaire, il ccssat de lui 
appartenir (GYP, S&urette). 

19. Plquer un chien f To take a nap (dur- 
ing the day). 

The expression is usually explained as being 
an allusion to blind beggars who sit with 
their dogs in front of them and take care to 
keep the end of their stick pointed at the 
animal, so that if they happen to fall asleep 
and lean forward, the end of the stick will jab 
the dog, which will then move or bark and so 
awaken the sleeper. E. Martin (Locutions et 
Proverbes, p. 43) says that the expression 
passed into popular speech irom the theatre 
as a result of the play L'Awugle de Mont- 
inor&ncy (1823), m which the blind man, 
anxious not to fall asleep, arms the end o 
his stick with an iron point, which pricks his 
vigilant guardian, the dog, placed between 
his legs, every time slumber overcomes 
Mm and makes him move. According to 
SainSan (Langage parisien, p. 439) the 
phrase came into popular speech from the 
slang of the Ecole Poly technique, and is the 
modern equivalent of dormir en chwn, which 
.Rabelais used and explained as follows : 
" C'est dormir a jeusn (' on an empty 
stomach*) en hault soleil, cornrno font les 
chiens." The polyteclimciem give the nick- 
name of pique-chien to the school caretaker, 
probably because he has Httle to do and 
spends much of his time sleeping. 

Puis, sa tete se pencha sur la table. 

Vaincu, il se fit un coussin de son 

bras repli6, comme jadis quand il 

" piquait un chien " a 1'etude, ct 

s'endormit (H. DUVEENOIS, La 

Guitar e et le Jazz-Band). 

*20. Porter des chiens> To wear one's hair 

cut straight across the forehead in the 




form of a fringe, to wear a straight 
fringe. Hence une coiffure a la Men, 
lire coiffe a la chien, to wear one's hair 
in this style. 

21. Hompre les chiens, To change the 
subject of conversation. 

A hunting term ; to call off the dogs when 
they have been put on the wrong scent 
(cp. change 1). 

A cette question non pre" vue, Fem- 

barras du gargon redoubla. . . . 

Pour rompre les chiens, il la ques- 

tionna a son tour (A. THETJRIET, 


Des que j'entrais, ils baissaient la 

voix ou rompaient les chiens (V. 

CHERBULIEZ, L'Aventurede Ladislas 


22. 8e regarder en (or comme des or comma 
deux) chiens de faience, To look (stare) 
at one another without uttering a word, 
with goggle eyes, like stuck pigs. 
Lit. ' like pot dogs ' ; by allusion to such 
ornaments, placed symmetrically at the 
entrance to a house, 

On se regardait, lui et inoi, comme 
des chiens de faience, et on se rencon- 
trait tout le temps (H. BATAILLE, La 
Femme nue). 

23. Un chien regarde bien un evdque, A cat 
may look at a king. 

24. Un chien mort ne mord plus, Dead 
dogs cannot bite, Dead men tell no 

Variant: Morte la Mte, mart le venin (lit. 
' when the beast is dead, the venom is dead '). 
(B) Adj. (fern, chienne). 1. Mean, parsi- 
monious, stingy. 

II etait riche, riche . . au moins 

a cent mille francs ! Mais il etait 

chien comme tout ( c as mean as you 

make 'em * ; see Appendix sub tout) 

(J. AIGARD, Maurin des Maures). 

2. Disagreeable e.g. II a Fair encore plus 

chien que de mon temps, He seems more 

disagreeable than he was in my time. 

Un officer chien, A martinet. Oela 

n'est pas tant chien / It's not so bad ! 

(used as a reply to an exclamation like 

Quel chien de metier / etc. See (A) 9). 

See also Appendix sub chien. 
chiendent, n.m. Difficulty, impediment, 
obstacle e.g. Voila (or G*est la) le 
chiendent/ That's the trouble! There's 
the rub ! 

Lit. ' dog-grass ', by allusion to the difficulty 
of clearing cultivated ground of this thick- 
growing plant, whose roots are very long 
and strike deep into the soil. 

II a un defaut, voila le chiendent, 
un gros defaut. II est joueur (* a 
gambler ') (J. RJCHEPIN, Flam- 

cMffe, n.f. Flabby person with no char- 
acter e.g. C'est une chiffe, He's a 
Lit. 'rag*. See Appendix sub chiffe. 

Ces hommes qui Fentouraient 
etaient faibles ; il les admirait pour 
leur savoir, mais, cela a part, quelles 
chiffes \ (L. FABKE, Eabevel). 
cMflonner, vb. tr. 1. To worry, vex, 
annoy, offend, upset. 
Lit. ' to rumple ' , ' crumple '. 

Est-ce que a te chiffonnerait beau- 
coup que sur la tombe de notre 
Joseph on mette une croix ? (F. 
COPPEE, Un Snterrement civil). 

Si vous vouliez faire semblant 
d'etre serieux pendant cinq min- 
utes, je vous dlrais deux ou trois 
choses qui me chiffonnent (H. LAVE- 
DAK, Nocturnes). 

2. Elle a un minois (or une petite mine) 
chiffonne(e), She has irregular but pleas- 
ing features. 

*chlgner, vb. intr. To weep, blubber, 
A provincial (Berry) borrowing. 

Aliens, je 1'entends qui pleure. 
pa lui fera du bien de chigner 
(BALZAC, Le Pere Goriot). 
chignon, n.m. Sc creper le chignon, To 
fight (between women), to have a set-to, 
a scrap, to make the fur fly. 
Lit. "to frizzle one another's chignon or 
"bun" of hair*; an allusion to women 
seizing one another by the hair and freely 
using their nails. Cp. eheveu 8. 

La fille et la bonne amie de 
Ohaudrut s* etaient crepe le chignon 
et il avait fallu que les hommes s*en 
melassent pour les separer (J. K. 
*Chine, n.f. . . . de chine, cadged e.g. 
Du tabac de chine, Cadged tobacco. 
See ehiner 2. 

chiner, vb. tr. 1. (Of persons or things) 
To make fun of, to run down. 

Et si tu savais ce qu'ow chine 
les absents 1 (A. LICHTENBEKGER, 

*2. To cadge e.g. chiner une cibiche, to 
cadge a c fag '. 

Military slang. An abbreviation of fohiner 
(lit. ' to break some one's back * ; dchine = 
* spine ') Chiner comes from the slang of the 
ccmelots, in which it meant ' to carry one's 
wares about on one's back * and so * to work 



oneself to death '. It passed into popular 
speech with various applications (e.g. ' to run 
about the streets selling rags or buying old 
clothes', 'to work (hard)', 'to toil'), of 
which the above are the commonest (SAix&iN, 
Langage parisien, pp 240-1). 
*eMnois, n.m. Civilian. 

JCerm of contempt applied by soldiers to 
civilians ; cp. pekin. 

ehlnoiserle, n.f. Complicated, grotesque 
or absurd procedure (regulation, rule, 
notion, contrivance, etc.). 
Lit. Chinese knick-knack or one in the Chinese 

Certes, f avais entendu parler des 
cMnoiseries administratives, mais 
celle-ci ! . . . (G. COURTELINE, Une 
Lettre chargee). 

cMper, vb. tr. 1. To pilfer, crib, prig, 
sneak, pinch. 

The word has penetrated into popular speech 
from school slang, in which it denotes to steal 
a thing of little value, to commit, by way of a 
joke, a more or less excusable theft e.g. 
chiper uno plume d qnalqu'un. It may be 
connected with the old synonymous verb 
acciper : in Languedoc the two forms ac(h)ipa 
and c(h)ipa arc found, in the sense of 'to catch 
hold of % 'to take away ' (SAlKTflAN, Langage 
parisien, p. 438). 

Mathilde, la premiere feinnie de 
chambre, chipa un de ces livres (0. 
MIRBEATT, Le Journal d'une Femme 
de Ohambre). 

Depechez-vous, pour qu'on no 
vous chipe pas vos places (M. 
DONNA Y, La Douloureuse). 
'2. To catch (an illness). Cp. piger 1 (c). 
Mon tenor, un Russe, chipe une 
grippe et claque ( c pegs out ') en 
deux jours (E. DORGELES, Partir). 
*3. $!tre chipe pour, (of man or woman) To 
be in love with, to b gone on. 

Un homme qu'est cJiipe pour une 

poule . . . c'est foutu ('it's all up 

with him ' ) (F. CAEOO, Les Innocents). 

*chipette, n.f. Ne pas valoir chipette e.g. 

(}a ne vaut pas chipette, That is worth 

nothing, That is worthless, It's not 

worth a * cuss *. 

A provincial (Maine) borrowing ; lit. "rag *. 
cMpie, n.f. 1. Peevish, disagreeable, 
spiteful woman, shrew e.g. Une vieille 
chipie, An old cat. 

Si ellc vous ressemble, g& doit 
etre une jolie cJiipie \ (P. GAVATJLT, 
La petite Gkocolatidre). 
, 2. Prudish woman, prude e.g. Faire sa 
chipie, To put on an air of supreme 
disdain or disgust. 

Tu disais : " Je ne me marierai 
jamais, je prendrai un amant, et 

puis je le 1'erai marcher, je ne vous 
dis gue, $0,9 & ^ a cravache, mes 
petites ! " Et ca mettait Eugenie 
hors d'elle ! Elle etait deja un peu 
cMpie (P. MABauBuiTTE, L'Embus- 

The primitive sense of this word, which dates 
from the early nineteenth century, is * snarling 
and thievish like a magpie*,' since the word 
= cMpe-pie, i.e. a 'pie' which 'cfnpe' (see 
chiper 1) (SAIN^A-N, LangcKje parisien, p. 115). 
ehipotage, n.m. The action of ehipoter 1 
or 2. 

Oh ! fit sechement Chugnard, pas 
de chipotage (' haggling '), n'est-ce- 
pas ! Oui ou non, 9a vous va-t-il ? 
Voici le billet. Depechez-vous. Si 
vous n'en voulez pas, bonsoir ! (J. 
BIOHEPIN, Flamboche). 
ehipoter. 1. vb. intr. To eat in a finical 
way, to pick, nibble. 
Lit. ' to eat in little bits * ; from the Old 
French cMpe, ' scrap ". 

2. vb. tr. and intr. (a) To haggle (over a 
trifling difference in price). 

Elle cMpotait la cuisiniere pour 

deux sous do salade (0. MIBBEAU, 

Le Journal ffune ffemme de Chambre) 

(b) To dispute about trifles. Cp. cMcoter. 

Tout semblait raccommode et 

voila Madeline et Jacques qui recom- 

mcncont a se chipoter, a cause do 

cette maudite Turque (A. SALMON, 

C'est une belle Fille /). 

Both (a) and (b) are specialised meanings of 

the figurative use of the verb in the sense of 

'to quibble'. 

: eMqtie, n.f. *1. Poser (or Avaler) sa 
chique, (a) To keep quiet, keep mum, 
hold one's tongue ; (6) (by extension) 
To die, to kick the bucket. 
These metaphors, like the following one, are 
of nautical origin, cMque denoting a ' quid 
of tobacco*. 

2. Oouper la chiqueagruelc[u't(,n, To inter- 
rupt a person abruptly or to silence a 
person with astonishment e.g. Qa m'a 
coupe, la cMque / That struck me dumb, 
flabbergasted me, fair took my breath 
away. See coilper 2 (c) and sifflet. 

Je ne sais plus ou fen etais 
( c where I had got to '), moi. On 
* me coupe la cMque avec des his- 
toires pareilles (G. CO - D"RTE'LINE, Un 
Glient serieux). 

n.m. Pretence, make-believe, 
swank e.g. G'est du chique / It's a 
sham, a fake, it's put on. Faire du 
chiqite (or Le faire au chique), To pre- 
tend, to be affected, to swank e.g. 




II fait trop de chique, He's too affected, 
snobbish, He swanks too much. 
Lit. ' that which is done de chic ' ; see eMe 
(A) 3 and note at end, where the * skill of 
hand in the arts * referred to must be inter- 
preted here, as it often is, in the unfavourable 
sense of ' commonplace facility ', whence the 
notion of 'artificial', 'sham*. 

Mettez-vous bien $a dans la fiole 
('head')! C'est pas du chique/ 
(J. H. R-OSNY, Dans lea Rues). 

II vous disait ga, ? Et c'etait 
vrai, c'etait pas du chique (R. BEN- 
JAMIN, Gaspard). 
eMqtiement, adv. In a chic manner ; see 

cMc (B). 

eMquer. *1. vb. intr. To pretend, make 
believe, sham. 
See ehiquS. 
2. vb. tr. *(a) To eat, grub. 

Of nautical origin ; lit. ' to chew (tobacco) '. 
Cp. note to cMque. Among sailors a chiqueur 
is a ' big eater*. 

(b) To do artistic work quickly, without 
previously studying nature, with more 
skill than talent, more brilliancy than 
Cp. chic (A) 3 and note at end. 

Le portrait du patron, gros sac & 
vin (' drunken sot '), . . . coudoyait 
une nature morte (' a study of still 
life ') la douzaine d'huitres avec 
le citron et le couteau assez bien 
" chiquee" (F, COHERE, Un Mot 

*e3inie, n.m. = sclmlck. 
clioenosoff, adj. = chic (B) 2. 

This fanciful form from cMc enjoyed a certain 
popularity in Balzac's time. See koxnoff. 
chocoiat, adj. inv. Deceived, taken in 
e.g. Je suis chocolatf I have been 
duped, taken in, fooled. Cp. the 
English e done brown '. 

Alors, vous vous imagines que, 
dans ce truc-lh, tout le monde afiait 
faire son beurre, et que moi seul je 
serais chocolatl (H. 

Pour 1'accouchement. Quel ac- 
couchement ? Celui de madame la 
Tbaronne ! JSacre farceur / me re- 
pond 1'autre : Madame a quatre- 
vingt-deux ans ! Vous etiez choco- 
lat i (P. VEBEB, Les Rentrees). 
cliope or choppe, n.f. Glass of beer. 
*choper or chopper, ^6. tr. *l. = chiper 1. 
*2. To arrest, nab, cop e.g. Se faire ckoper, 
To get caught, nabbed. 

Je parie qu'il croit qu'il s'agit 
de choper un espion, et que vous 

comptez sur lui pour avoir des 
tuyaux (' tips ') (GYP, La Oinguette). 
*chop!n, n.m. *1. (Of things) Profit, good 
business, windfall, bit of luck. 

Je donnerai des lecons. J'ai mon 
brevet superieur. Un beau chopin I 
(* A lot of good that will do you ! } ) 
(BEIETJX, La Femme seule). 
*2. (Of persons) Person from whom one 
can extract money, a * pigeon ' ; a 
love-conquest, a * catch *. Faire un 
(beau) chopin, To strike lucky, to find 
a mug. 

Son idee, c'est que le neveu de 
M. de Mierindel Itait un chopin 
a soigner tout particulierement (J. 
RICHEPIN, Flamboche). 

On regardait beaucoup le couple 

mal assorti. . . . On se demandait 

quel pouvait bien etre ce jeune 

homme timide et rigide, dont les 

joues haves etaient presque de la 

couleur de ses bottes. Un petit 

patissier leur jeta un : H est frais 

( e He is a mess '), son chopin I (M. 

HABBY, La divine Chanson). 

chose. (A) n.f. 1. Bien des choses 

e.g. II te dit bien des choses f He sends 

you his kind regards. Bien des choses 

chez vous, Kind regards at home. 

(Dites)biendeschosesdemaparta . . ., 

Bemember me kindly to .... 

Elliptical for dire (or faire dire] d gruelqu'un 

bien des choses aimdbles. 

AHons, c'est bien, tu es un chic 
petit type. . . . Bien des choses a ta 
mere et au cousin et a la cousine 
(H. BE EEGJTIEB, Les Vacances d'un 
'jeune Homme sage). 

2. De deux choses Pune : . . ., One thing 
or the other . . ., Either this or that 
. . ., It's one of two things. . . 

De deux choses Vune : ou il faut 

aimer les autres, ou il faut s'aimer 

soi-meme (L. CLADEL, Pierre Patient). 

*3. Mire, porte sur la chose Etre porte sur 

la bagatelle. See bagatelle 2, article 2, 

porter 2. 

Je parie qu'fcl est porte sur la 

chose, lui. . . . J'ai vu cela, tout de 

suite, & son nez mobile, flaireur, 

sensual, a ses yeux extr&mement 

brillants, doux en meme temps que 

rigolos (0. MIEBBAIT, Le Journal 

ffune Femme de Chambre). 

4. Prendre guelque chose, (a) (lit.) To have 

a little food or drink; (6) (fig. in 




popular speech) To receive reproaches, 
piiiushment, blows, etc., to ' cop it *. 
See prendre 1. 

5. II y a, eu quelque chose entre evx, They 
have had a quarrel. 

6. Un (or Une) pas grand? chose. A man 
(or woman) of little integrity or 
morality e.g. C'est une pas grand'- 
chose, She is no better than she should 
be, She is not up to much. 

7. In familiar speech chose is substituted 

when the name of a person or thing is 
forgotten or unknown, or if one prefers 
not to mention it ; and in such a case 
chose is treated as if it were masculine. 
The English equivalents are : What's 
his name. What d'you call him (it), 
thingumajig, thingumbob, thingummy 
e.g. Chose est venu ce matin, Passez- 
moi le chose. Cp. maehin and true 2. 
I/hiver prochain, il y aura encore 
la femme, ma mere, la mere La 
Berche, Chose,, Machin et True 
( COLETTE, La Fin de Chen). 
See fourbi 4 (Courteline). 
(B) adj. inv. Tout chose e.g. Etre (or 
Se sentir) tout chose, To feel out of 
sorts, queer, all-overish. Je me sens 
un pen chose, I feel seedy, cheap, off 
colour. Mester tout chose, To be con- 

Moi, la nature, a me rend toute 
chose ! Les bords de 1'eau surtout ! 
Qa me fait penser a ma mere ... It 
mon enfance ... (P. VEBEE, Les 

Vers les derniers jours de juin, 
Coupeau perdit sa gaiete. II de- 
venait tout chose (ZoLA, UAssom- 

ehou, n.m. 1. Term of affection e.g. 
Mon (petit) chou or Mon chouchou, 
Ma choute or M a chouchoute, Darling, 
ducky, my little darling, my little pet, 

These forms are particularly applied toy 
mothers to their children, and the masculine 
form Is often used of females. Some think 
that this sense of the word alludes to the 
cabhage-shaped cream-puff called chou ct la 
cr6me; but it may be a relic of the older 
terms of endearment mon trognon, or mon 
trognon de chou (lit. ' stump of a cabbage *). 

Depuis quinze ans, c'est toujours 
toi que 1'on met en avant, que Ton 
choie, que Ton caresse ; e'est toi le 
chouchou, la che"rie (P. VEBEE, Les 

Moi, je continue a ^tre la chou- 
choute de la mere Leotard (H. Du- 
VERNOIS, Edgar). 

(Two women are speaking) Je 
quitte ce Paris. Pour combien de 
temps ? Pour longtemps, peut-etre 
pour toujours. Et voilk Oui, mon 
chou (H. LAVED AN", Nocturnes). 

See chat 1 (Courteline). 
C'est chou vert ct vert chou, a variant of 
C*est bonnet blanc et blanc bonnet ; see 
bonnet 1. 

Etre dans les choux, (of a person) To be 
in a mess, in the soup, in the cart ; 
(of a scheme, plan) to be upset, to 
come to grief. 

Lit. ' to be in the cabbage-patch ' . This 
expression originates in racing parlance, and 
is used of a horse which loses a race or 
finishes down the course. Cp. faerbe 6. 
Faire chou blanc, To fail completely, to 
be a hopeless failure, not to win any- 
thing, to come back empty-handed, to 
draw a blank, to make a duck. 
Possibly a provincial pronunciation of faire 
coup blanc, ' to miss one's blow ', blanc often 
having the force of without effect, without 
result (cp. English ' blank ') e.g. un voyage 
blanc, une nuit blanche, un manage blanc, un 
bat blanc (i.e. a ball for girls only). 

De ce cote encore, mon enquete fit 
chou blanc (J. BIOHEPIN, Contes sans 

Faire ses choux gras d'une chose, To 
enjoy a thing that others despise, to 
use what others throw away, to make 
a considerable benefit out of a thing, 
to feather one's nest. 
iit, ' to make one's cabbages fat with SOUCIP- 
thing", as, for example, by cooking them 
with bacon. 

Molse va faire ses choux gras avec 
les eaux-de-vi (EKCKMANN-CHAT- 
BIAN, Le JBlocus de Phalsbourg). 
. Faire des choux et des raves (or des 
clwux, des raves) de quelque chose e.g. 
Faites-en (or Vous en ferez) des choux,, 
des raves, Take it, and do what you 
like with it. 

Originally the phrase' was des choux ow des 
raves, a rave being a special variety of chou. 
Manger les choux par les trognons, To 
be dead and buried, to be pushing up 
the daisies. Cp. pissenlit. 
Lit. " to eat the cabbages by the stumps '. 
, Planter ses choux e.g. Aller planter ses 
choux, To retire (from business or an 
active life) into the country. On 1'a 
envoy& planter ses choux, He has been 
dismissed, rusticated. 




A variant Is Atter garder Us dindons (lit. ' to 
go and look after the turkeys'). 
*9. Mentrer dans le chou a quelqu'un, To 
attack a person, to pitch (slip) into 
some one e.g. Je vais lui rentrer dans 
le chou ! I'll go for him ! 
ehouette, adj and interj. Good, fine, 
classy, ripping, spiffing, topping, etc. 
An old jargon use of the word, which passed 
into popular speech in the second half of 
the nineteenth century, in allusion to the 
beauty of the chouette or 'screech-owl', the 
plumage of which is sometimes remarkably 
handsome ; JElabelais speaks of a woman 
"jolie comme une belle petite chouette" 
(SAIN^AJST, Les Sources d& V Argot ancien, II, 
pp. 227, 312). 

11 y a un mariage chouette an bout 
de la rue ! la fill du patissier se 
marie ! (J. K. HTJYSMAKS, Les Soeurs 

Toi tu es un bon gar9on, ! 
camarades sont des chouettes types 
(A. ALLAIS, U Affaire Blaireau). 

Alors, on va pouvoir aller a 
Barfleur ? Je n'y vois plus aucun 
inconvenient. Ah ! chouette, alors ! 
(GYP, Les Froussards}. 

See MM 2 (Mirbeau), bousin 1 

chouettement, adv. In a chouette manner 
On s'aboule chez eux, on cause 
" Eh Men ! les poteaux ! (* chums ') 
vous etes cTiouettement installes ? 
Qa boulotte? (J. BOMAINS, Le Vin 
blanc de la Villette). 

See eulller (Hirsch). 
*chouriner, vb. tr. = suriner. 
*ehuter, vb. intr. To fall. 
From chute, n.f., 'fall*. 
*ciMche, n.f. Gig., fag, gasper. 

This word, also written cibige and sibiche, 
represents a fusion of cigarette and the Anjou 
term 'bige, or bigeois, 'simple', 'ordinary' 
(SAIN&AH, Langage parisien, p. 115). 

See cinq[ 3 (Hirsch). 
*ciblot, n.m. = civ(e)lot 
*eiboulot, n.m. Head, nut, block. Courir 
(or Cavaler) sur le ciboulot a quelqu'un, 
To bore a person e.g. II me court 
(cavale) sur le ciboulot, He bores me, 
gets on my nerves. Fourre-toi ca bien 
dans le ciboulot, Get that well into your 

From ciboule, 'shallot', by allusion to the 
shape of this plant of the onion family ; cp. 
English * onion ' . 

eielj^.m. 1. II ne portera pas cela au del, 
He will pay me for it, I will make him 
smart for it. Cp. paradis 2. 

2. Remuer del et terre, To move heaven 

and earth, to leave no stone unturned. 

cierge, n.m. Devoir un beau cierge a quel- 

qu'un ; see chandelle 2. 
*c!g or elgue, n.m. = sig or sigue. 
cine, n.m. Pictures, movies e.g. Veux- 
tu m'emmener au cine ? Will you take 
me to the pictures ? 
Abbreviation of cinema. 

*cin<j,,a^. *1. Cinq et trois (font) Tiuit, is said 
to denote that a person limps or is lame. 
This expression is intended to convey the 
idea of the unequal walk of a lame person ; 
cp. the English ' dot and carry one '. 
*2. En cinq sec, In double-quick time, in a 
jiffy. Faire un travail en cinq sec, To 
polish off a job in no time. 
This is said to come from the game of tcarU 
in which en cinq sees = " en cinq points sees, 
d'une seule partie et sans revanche " ; hence 
the idea of something done rapidly. Soldiers 
usually add the words et trois mouvements 
(SABsrfiAN', Langage parisien, p. 390). 

Eh bien, je vous refuterai toutes 
les theories du docteur Hourtin, en 
cinq sec (BBIBUX, Materniti}. 
*3. II etait mains cinq, It was a near thing 
e.g. Je ne suis pas tombe, mais il etait 
moins cinq ! I didn't fall, but it was a 
narrow shave ! 

Depuis qu'on s'est quitte, cette 
nuit : ni tabac ni alcool ? Non, 
m'sieu'. . . . Seulement, je peux 
dire cju'iZ etait moins cinq tout a 
Fheure. . . . Par habitude, j'avais 
tire mes cibiches. . . . Pessantrie 
m'a montre la pancarte (C. H. 
HIRSOH, *' Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 
*cipal, n.m. Mounted policeman of Paris. 

Abbreviation of garde municipal. 
*eitron, n.m. Nut, chump, onion. 

Lit. ' lemon * ; by allusion to its shape. 

*eitrouille, n.f. = citron. 

Lit. ' pumpkin ' ; by allusion to its shape. 
*civ(e)lot n.m. Civilian, civvy. En civ(e)~ 
lot, In mufti, in civvies. 
A derivative from civil. 

See baguenauder (Barbusse). 
civil, n.m. and adj. 1. Mn civil = En 

bourgeois ; ee bourgeois 3. 
2. Qu'est-ce que vous faites dans le civil ? 

What are you in civil lif e ? 
*clae, n.m. claque, n.m. 
clair, n.m. Tirer quelque chose au clair, 
To clear up (unravel) a matter, to find 
out the exact situation of affairs. 
From the expression tirer un liquide au clair, 
' to strain a liquid '. 

II fallut tirer la chose au clair 
(FLAUBERT, Madame Bovary). 




Au contraire, void que j'attacliais 
une importance ridicule a tirer au 
clair la raison d'evenements que je 
m'obstinais a vouloir mysterieux 
(E. ESTATJNIE, L'Infirme aux Mains 
de Lumiere). 

*elameeer, vb. intr. To peg out, go west, 
snuff it. f 

Ibis verb, which has many variants (clam(p)- 
ser, cram(p)ser, clapser, crapser) is probably 

elampin, n.m. Sluggard, lazy-bones. 
A provincialism (Berry) ; in Picardy and 
Champagne the word denotes a lame person. 
See beequeter (Zola), ehainade 
(Boulenger), faignant (Huysmans). 
clampiner, vb. intr. To idle about, to 

' mike *, mooch about. 
*elam(p)ser, vb. intr. elameeer. 

Je tiens pas (* I am not anxious ') 
encore a clamser, moi (G. COUBTE- 
LINE, Le Train de 8 h. 47). 
*elaque, n.m. *1. (Low) gambling-house. 
*2. House of ill-fame, brothel. 

Abbreviation of elaquedent. 
*elaque, n.f. En avoir sa claque. To have 
had enough of a thing, to be fed up 
with it. 

Quand je 1'aurai vue ce matin a la 
messe et ce soir au bal . . . fen 
aurai ma claque de "la societe " 
(GYP, Le Manage de Chiffon). 
*claqu6 9 adj. Exhausted, tired out e.g. 
Je suis complement clague, I'm dead 
beat, beat to the wide. 
Cp. elaquer 1. 
*elaquedent, n.m. = claque 1 and 2. 

Lit. ' a place where one's teeth chatter '. A 
variant is claq_uebo$se t a combination of 
claquedent and bosse. 

elaquer, 1. vb. intr. To die, go west, 
pop off, croak. 

Lit. ' to crack * ; an imitative use of the 

II n'est done pas encore claque, 
votre Lanlaire ? (0. MIBBEATJ, Le 
Journal $une Femme de Chambre). 

See cMper 2 (Dorgeles). 
*2. vb. tr. (a) To eat ; (b) to sell ; (c) 
to squander money, to lose money at 

Lit. elaquer des mdchoires, *to smack one's 
jaws '. 

J'ai faim, tu sais. . . . Faut me 
trouver quelque chose a elaquer 
(ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 

C'est que, cette fofs, je n'ai pas le 
sou : je viens du cercle, ou j'ai tout 
claque (MAUPASSANT, Bel-Ami). 
classe, n.f. Soldiers in their last year 

of service e.g. Eire de la classe, To 
belong to the batch which will be 
sent home next. Je suis de la classe ! 
I'm not on this job for long, I'll chuck 
this job before long. Vive la classe ! 
Hurrah for the time when we are sent 
back home ! 

Classe denotes the whole contingent of soldiers 
called to the colours each year. 

II s'egaya de cette plaisanterie, 
parce qu'il avait Tame simple et qu'*7 
etait de la classe. Et il se rejouis- 
sait de revoir bientot la maison de 
son pere (A. PRANCE, L'Anneau 

Ne te fais pas de bile I Plus que 
quatre ans a tirer ('to do*) et tu 
seras de la classe (G. COUETELUJTE, 
Les Gaietes de VEscadron). 
*elel) or clebs, n.m. *1. Dog. 

Prom the Arabic Jcelb, ' dog ' ; the word (also 
spelled Ueb) has penetrated from military 
slang into popular speech. 

Mon pauvre clebs, lui dit-il, tu 
devines que ton maitre a le cafard 
aujourd 'hui (C. VAUTEL, Mon Cure 
chez les Riches). 
*2. Corporal. Cp. cabot 2. 
clef or el, n.f. 1. La clef des champs 
e.g. Donner a quelqu'un la clef des 
cJiamps, To give a person his liberty, 
to let one go. Prendre la clef des 
champs, To run away, take to flight, 
clear off, go where one likes. 
Lit. * the key to the fields " ; for one kept in 
town, the fields are like a locked enclosure. 
Vers midi, le guichetier me servit 
mon diner. II avait 1'air guilleret. 
Dans quelques heures, me dit-il, 
on vous donnera la cle des champs (V. 
GHEBBTJLIEZ, UAventure de Ladislas 

Quand le gaillard prenait la cle des 
champs, il ne se pressait jamais de 
revenir malgre ce qui 1'attirait a 
Luville (E. ROD, L'Incendie). 
2. Mettre la clef sons la porte, To remove 
from a house furtively, to run away 
without paying one's debts. 
Lit. "to put the key tinder the door% i.e. 
instead of handing it to the landlord. 
*3. A la cle. An expletive expression which 
sometimes has intensifying force 
e.g. Trop de zele a la cle, Too much 
zeal by half. II y aura du champagne 
a la cle. There will be champagne (into 
the bargain). 

This expression, from the musical term d la 
cU (which denotes the indications as to sharps 




and flats at the beginning of a stave), was 
originally applied to a difficult task in popular 
speech, but has now become a mere formula 
(SAIN3SAN, Langage pansien, p. 391). 
clicM, n.m. Stereotyped phrase, expres- 
sion, a tag, well-worn platitude. 
Lit. ' stereotype-plate '. 

client, n.m. Person to deal with (pejora- 
tive), c customer ' e.g. Un drdle de 
client, A queer customer or ' cuss '. 
Un sale client, An ugly customer. 
cliques, n.f. pi. Prendre ses cliques et ses 
claques., To clear out (or off) bag and 
baggage, to pick up one's sticks and 

Clique and claque are both the name of a kind 
of flat sabot or clog. Thus tho phrase, which 
usually implies disgust, denotes ' to take up 
one's clothes and boots and be off*. 

Et comme elle menagait de pren- 

dre ses cliques et ses claques et d'aller 

un peu changer d'air, du cdt6 de 

Montmartre, Nouquesse dut s'aplatir 

(H. DUVERNOIS, Edgar). 

cloche, n.f. Demenager a la cloche (de 

bois), To remove stealthily, to leave a 

house without paying one's rent or 

one's creditors, to shoot the moon. 

Un demenagement a la cloche de bois, 

A moonlight flit. 

The implication is that, for self-evident 
reasons, one would not have the bell rung 
to inform people of one's departure or, if one 
did, it would be a wooden one 1 Cp. mettre 
la clef sous^ la porte, under clef 2. 
cloeher, vb. intr. To be (or go) wrong, to 
be amiss e.g. II y a quelque chose qui 
cloche, There is something wrong, a 
hitch (screw loose) somewhere. 
Lit. 'to limp*. 

Mais le Comite sera au grand com- 
plet ... la Presse sera repre"scntee. 
Soyez tranquille, monsieur le 
President, rien ne clochera, rien 
ne clochera ! (0. MIRBEATJ, Le 
*cloporte, n.f. Door-keeper. 

Lit. * wood-louse*. A play on the words 
cldt porte, ' (he) closes the door '. 
clou, n.m. 1. Pawnshop e.g. Au clou, 
At uncle's, in pop, up the spout. 
Mettre au clou, To put in pawn, to pop. 
By allusion to the fact things no longer used 
or required are often hung up on a nail ; 
hence ' to give up using a thing % and so, by 
euphemism, *to pawn*. 

Prete-moi tes petits bijoux, et ta 
montre, pour que je les mette au 
clou / (0. MIRBEAU, Le Journal d'une 
Femme de Ghambre). 

See toazarder (Zola). 
2. Chief attraction, chief point of interest 

e.g. le clou de la saison, the event of 
the season. 

Lit. * naiP, on which the whole fabric hangs. 

Le succes de son tableau lui sem- 

blait assure d'avance. Ce serait le 

" clou " du Salon (F. COPPEE, Le, 

Tableau d'JJJglise). 

See bouquet (AUais). 

3. Worn-out instrument in bad condition, 
wobbly machine, a ' crock ' (particu- 
larly of a bicycle or motor-car). Op. 7. 
Je m'acheterai un vieux clou de 
cinquante francs, et je 1'echangerai 
centre une machine beaucoup plus 
belle (T. BERNARD, Le seul Bandit du 
*4. Guard-room, cells, * jigger ', clink e.g. 

colter au clou, to imprison. 
*5. Les clous, Tools e.g. Poser ses clous, 
To down tools. 

6. River le (or son) clou a quelqu'un, To 
make a telling retort to a person. 
e.g. Je lui ai rive son clou, I sat upon 
him, shut his mouth for him. Qa vous 
rive votre clou, That's a clincher (poser) 
for you. 

River un clou is properly * to flatten the point 
of a nail ' to prevent the nail from coming 
out ; hence river son clou a quelqu'un is to 
act in such a way that a person cannot 
escape, ' to silence a person '. 

M. le Doyen avait toujours le 
dernier mot, a cause de cefcte 
" sacree platine " ( c gift of the gab *) 
qui rivait son clou a tout le monde 
(0. MIRBEATJ, Le Journal d'une 
Femme de Ghambre). 

7, Ne pas valoir un clou, To be absolutely 

Yokohama ? Oui, je connais. 
Us ont de bons taxis, mais la cuisine 
d'h6tel ne vaut pas un clou (B. 
DORGEL&S, Partir). 

See earactere 2 (Farrere). 
3. Ne pas ficherun clou, Not to do a stroke 
of work. 

Oui, tu as raison, nous partons de- 
main pour la montagne . . . La- 
bas on n*en ftchera plus un clou / (G. 
LEROTJX, La farouche Aventure). 
*coearde, n.f. *1. Avoir sa cocarde s To be 
drunk, tipsy. 

Lit. ' cockade '. By allusion to a drunkard's 
red, pimply nose. Cp. aigrette, panaehe 2, 
plumet, pompon 1. 
*2. Taper snr la cocarde, is said of wine 

which gets into the head. 
*eocarder, se To get tipsy. 
Prom eoearde. 




Elle se leva, mal a 1'aise, olle 
quitta les homnies qui achevaient de 
se cocarder (!OLA, L'Asftommoir). 
cocasse, adj. (Of things or persons] 

Funny, droll. 

coche, n.m. Manguer (or Rater] le coche. 
To miss an. opportunity, to let the 
right moment pass ; especially said oJ 
a girl who cannot find a husband : 
not to be able to get off, to be left on 
the shelf. 
Lit. * to miss the stage-coach*. 

En attendant Kajsa reste fille, 
avec le vague sentiment qu'elle a, 
comme on dit, manque le cache (J. 
VEBISTE, L^pave du Cynthia}. 

See mille (Courteline). 

eochon. (A) n.m. 1. Filthy person 

(physically or morally), beast, dirty 


2. Lustful person. 

3. Nous n'avons pas garde les cochons 
ensemble, We have not been dragged 
up together. 

Said to persons who presume upon acquaint- 
ance and whose familiarity is resented. 
Another form of the snub is On d^rait 
nous avons gar& les cochons ensemble. 

4. Soigner son cochon, is said of one who 

lives too well, who looks after number 


Lit. ' to look after one's pig * (i.e. oneself). 

5. Cochon de -f noun, intensive form of 
chien de + noun (see chien 9) e.g. 
Cochon de metier I Oochonne de vie / 

(B) Adj. 1. (Of persons) Lustful. 

2. (Of things] Inciting to lust, lewd, 
smutty e.g. des histoires cochonnes, 
smutty yarns. Un costume cochon, A 

Que lisais-tu, un livre cochon ? 
Oh ! ne te defends pas. D'abord, il 
n'y a que de ga, ici (B. LEOACHB, 

3. Unfair, mean, despicable e.g. C'est 
cochon de se conduire comme ga ! That's 
a rotten way to behave, a rotten trick 
to do, That's acting like a dirty dog. 
eoehonner, vb. tr. To do a thing in a 
slovenly manner, to make a mess of, to 
muck up. 

Elle faisait deux ou trois jours 
dans chaque atelier, puis elle 
recevait son paquet ( c got the sack '), 
tellement elle cochonnait 1'ouvrage 
(ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
cochonnerie, n.f. 1. Smutty, indecent 
talk, writing or action. 

Vous Hsez sans doute la derniere 
coclionnerie a la mode ? (M. NADATJD, 
Un Bapt&me)* 

2. Dirty trick. 

3. Bungled work ; trashy stuff, rubbish. 

D'un geste circulaire, il indiqua les 
toiles accrochees qui illuminaient les 
quatre murs. Peuh ! dit Farnese, 
des cochonneries ! (0. FABE^BE, 
Quatorze Histoires de Soldats). 
COCO, n.m. 1. (Child's speech) (a) Egg; 
(b) Child's shoe e.g. de beaitx cocos 
neufs, nice new shoes. 

2. Throat or stomach e.g. $e mettre (or 

S*enfiler or Se fourrer) quelque chose 
dans le coco, To put something away 
down one's gullet, in one's stomach. 
Vous wus en fourriez dans le coco 

du lapin et du vin a treize (J, K. 

HTJYSMANS, Les Sceurs Vatard). 

3. Head e.g. Monter fa coco a quelqu'un, 

To excite a person. $e monler le coco, 
To get excited. Avoir le coco fete, To 
be mad, cracked, a little bit balmy in 
the crumpet. Avoir le coco deplnme, 
To be bald, to have a bladder of 

4. Term of endearment, especially to a 
child (boy or girl) e.g. Mon coco, 
Mon petit coco, Mon petit coco cheri, 
My pet, my little darling, ducky. 

See eorcle 4 (Ghampsaur). 

5. Fellow (pejorative) e.g. Un sale (or 

vilain) coco, A rotter, bad egg, a 
' sweep '. tin drdle de coco, A queer 
(odd, rum) stick (or fish), tin joli (or 
fameux) coco, (ironic) A nice ono ! 

Seules des mains de fer pouvaient 
ramener un coco de mon espece dans 
le droit chemin (C. DBEENNTSS, La 

The word coco, like many other words with 
the first syllable reduplicated, belongs to 
children's speech, and has been applied, 
generally speaking, to two classes of objects : 
(a) to things more or less round e.g. 1, 2, 3 ; 
(&) to persons or animals, with attenuating 
or pejorative force e.g. 4, 5, and the feminine 
form cocotte in all its uses. 

eoco, n.f. Cocaine, any drug sold secretly. 

eoeod&s, n.m. Dandy, masher, dude. 
This word appeared about 1863 ; its feminine 
form was cocoddte or cocodetto, which, like its 
synonym cocotie, is connected with the child'H 
word coco, cocod&tQ or cocodaque denoting the 
cry of the hen when it lays an egg, or the hen 
itself (SAIN35AK, Langage parisien, p, 458). 

coeotte, n.f. 1. (Child's word). Hen, 

2. Horse, gee-gee ; term of endearment 




to horses e.g. (Allans}, Jiue cocotte/ 
Gee-up (Pull up) ! my beauty ! 

3. Term of endearment, especially to a 

little girl e.g. Ma cocotte, Ma petite 
(or belle} cocotte, Ma cocotte chine. My 
darling, my little pet, ducky dear. 

4. Fast woman or girl. 

*eocotter, vb. intr. To stink, niff, hum. 
In Berry cocotte lias, for one of its meanings, 
'dirty' (like a hen-house; cp. cocotte 1), 
whence the above use of eoeotter. 

II fume un gros cigare allemand, 
qui " cocotte " ferme ( WILLY, La 
bonne Maitresse). 

Cecil, n.m. Cuckold. 

The noun cocu and its derivatives cocuage and 
cocufier are now banished from polite speech. 
Humorous euphemisms, however, abound * a 
man whose wife is unfaithful is said to -porter 
des comes, or avoir du bois sur la t&te, or en 
porter ; he becomes un mari bo%s6 or coiffe', un 
cornard, or he is called un belier, un cerf, 
un cousin de Moise, or is said to be Iog6 rue 
du Croissant. Some other appellations are 
confrere de St. Arnoul, Vulcain, Joseph. He 
is also styled un de plus, i.e. one more m 
the ranks of husbands like George Dandin. 
See also Cornouailles. 

cceur, n.m. 1. A cceur joie, Heartily, 
without restraint e.g. S*en donner a 
cceur joie, To enjoy oneself to one's 
heart's content, to indulge oneself in a 

food time. 
it. s& donner de cela de la joie au coeur. 

Elle se moqua de son mari et e'en 
donna a coeur joie ( c let herself go ') 
contre Clerambourg (R. BOYLESVE, 
U Enfant a la Balustrade). 
2. Avoir (or JSe sentir) le cceur gros, To 
have one's heart full (of emotion, grief, 
etc.), to be heavy-hearted. 

Je me sentais le cceur gros et je 
retenais a grand' peine les larmes qui 
gonflaient mes paupieres (A. FRANCE, 
U^tui de Nacre). 

3. Avoir le coeur sur la main (or les levres), 
To be open-hearted, frank, to wear 
one's heart on one's sleeve. 
The expression implies that one's heart is, 
as it were, in one's hand, and that the latter 
is ready to do what the former suggests. 
With levres, the implication is that a per- 
son always says the good, kind things he 

Excellent gargon d'ailleurs, le 
cceur sur la main, comme on dit, et 
la main toujours ouverte (E. ROD, 

J*ai, comme tous mes compatri- 
otes, le cceur sur la main (BBIEUX, 

4. Avoir un cosur d'artichaut, (of a man) 

To (pretend to) fall in love with every 
woman one meets. 

The full saying is Cceur d'artichaut, une feuille 
pour tout le monde> i.e. his heart is like that 
of an artichoke, he gives a leaf to every woman 
he pretends to love. 

5. Diner par cosur, To go without dinner, 
to dine with Duke Humphrey. Cp. 
eheval 5. 

This is said when one has nothing to eat or 
no time to eat. Par cceur here has the force 
of 'in imagination', as in savoir quelque 
chose par cceur, ' to know a thing from 
memory, by heart*. 

Kous n'avons que juste le temps 
de courir a la gare, et nous allons 
etre obliges de diner par cosur (A. 
HEKMANT, Goutras, JSoldat). 

6. Du coeur or Du cosur au ventre e.g. 

Avoir du cceur au venire, To be 
plucky, to have guts. Donner (or 
JRemettre) du cceur au venire. To give 
(or To give fresh) courage e.g. Cela 
lui remet du coeur au venire. That gives 
him courage again. 

Cosur here, as often, has the meaning of 
* courage '. 

II avait a ses cdtes, sur une chaise, 
une grande carafe d' eau-de-vie, dont 
il se versait de temps a autre pour 
se donner du cosur au ventre (G. 
FLAUBERT, Madame Bovary). 

7. En avoir le cceur net e.g. Je veux en 
avoir le coeur net, (a) I want to get to 
know all about it, to make sure, to 
have my mind clear about it, I will 
know what to think about it, I must 
get to the bottom of it ; (b) I want to 
unburden my heart, make a clear 
breast of it, I must get that off my chest. 

Comment done M. Torchebeuf, 
qui le traitait ainsi qu'un fils, avait- 
il pu le sacrifier ? II voulait en avoir 
le cosur net. II irait trouver le chef 
et s'expliquerait avec lui (MAUPAS- 
SANT, IS Heritage). 

*8. Jeter du cceur sur (le) carreau or Mettre 
(du) cceur sur (du) carreau, To vomit, 
bring up, shoot the cat. 
Lit. ' to throw hearts on diamonds ' ; a pun 
on the words * hearts* and 'diamonds' of 
cards on the one hand, avoir mal au costir, ' to 
feel sick ', and carreau, ' floor*, on the other. 

9. Se sentir le cceur retourne, To feel sick. 

II n' avait guere mange*, tant il se 
sentait le coeur retourne (MAUPAS- 
SANT, La petite Eoque). 

10. JSi le coeur vous en dit, If you feel like 
it, If you feel inclined, If you have a 
mind to, If you are so minded. 

It has been suggested that this is a deformation 




of S^ le &%ur vous en duit or vous induit, i.e. 

' If your heart inclines you that way'. 

Nous nous arreterons deux fois, 
trois fois, quatre fois, si le cozur nous 
en dit (J. BOMAINS, Knock). 

11. Sur le cosur e.g. Avoir quelque chose 
sue le cceur, (a) To have something to 
complain of, to bear a grudge ; (b) to 
be unable to digest some food. Cela 
lui e$t reste (or demeure) sur le coeur, (a) 
He has not got over it, He still feels 
hurt about it ; (b) He has been unable 
to digest it. 

Le maire avait encore sur le coentr 
la perte des livres et le tour que lui 
avait joue tantot la vieillo renarde 
(J. RICHEPIIT, Miarfra). 

12. Tenir au coeur e.g. Cela lui tient au 
coeur, (a) He has set his heart upon it ; 
(b) He has taken it deeply to heart. 

De tous les droits qu'ils ont 

perdus, celui qui leur tient le plus 

au COBUT peut-tre, c'est le droit de 

se resigner et 1' independence de 

leur pauvrete (E. PROMENTIN, Une 

Annee dans le Sahel). 

33. Tourner sur le cosur a gudgu'un, To 

make a person feel sick. 

Mle me tourne un peu sur le cceur, 
Leontine, avec ses manleres (H. 

eoffirer, vb. tr. To put in prison. Sefaire 
coffrer, To get run in. 
Lit. 'to lock up in a coffer*. 

Ah 1 ah 1 s'6cria le magistrat, VOUH 
revoila, mon gaillard. Je vous avais 
bien dit que je vous ferais coffrer 
(MAUPASSANT, Le Vagabond). 
*cogne, n.m. Policeman, constable, copper 
e.g. Acr&, tfla les cognes ! Look out, 
here come the cops ! 
Prom cogner, * to beat ', 'strike '. 

Des cognes sent passes la ce matin: 
le bonhomme a la tremblote ( e has got 
the wind up ') et il a forme sa porte a 
clef (H. BARBTTSSE, Le Feu). 
coiffer, vb, tr. 1. Eire coiffe (or Se coiffer) 
de quelgu'un, To take a fancy to a 
person, to be infatuated with, gone on 
a person. 
Cp. fcgguin. 

2. Mre ne coiffe, To be born with a silver 
spoon in one's mouth, to be born under 
a lucky star. 

Lit. ' to be bom with a coiffe ' or ' caul ', 
\vhiclx constitutes a real danger for tho life of 
the mother and new-bom child. Therefore, 
if both mother and child survived this danger, 

the child was considered lucky and pre- 
destined to a life of good fortune. Tims arose 
the popular superstition that to be born 
with a caul was a good omen, and such was 
the confidence that the Greeks and Homans 
had in the virtue of these cauls, even for those 
who had not been bom with one, that they 
used to buy and wear them as talismans and 

J'entrai au cafe Cardinal pour me 
rafraichir, fallumai un cigare et je 
me declarai a moi-meme que la vie 
est une superbe institution, que 
Falezan et le blond sont les plus 
belles des couleurs et que Ladislas 
Bolski etait ne coiffe (V. CIIEEBULTEZ, 
VAventure de Ladislas Bolski}. 

Dis-toi que tout 9a n'est pour toi 
que si tu le merites. . . . Pour qu' on 
te Foffre, des 4 present, il faut que 
tu sois ne coiffe (C. H. HIBSCH, 
" Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 
3. Coiffer sainte Catherine ; see salute 


coin, n.m. *1. En boucher un coin a q'uel- 
gu^un, To astonish, astound a person, 
to make a successful retort to some one 
e.g. pa lui en a, boncM un coin, He 
was flabbergasted, struck all of a heap, 
crushed, choked oil, sat on. f m'en 
bouche un coin / That licks me abso- 
lutely, That beats me, I can't get over 
that, Well, I am surprised ! Je lui en 
ai bouche un coin, I licked him hollow, 
I had him beat to a frazzle. 
Lit. * to close up with a wedge *. Sometimes 
une surface is substituted for un coin,. 

Qa TOUS en bouche un coin, ya 
( { That's a clincher or corker for 
you '), papa Laub 1 (H. BATAILLE, 

*2. La connaitre (dans les coins), To know 
the ropes, to know what's what, to bo 
up to snuff e.g. II Id connait (dans 
les coins) (sometimes et il la pratique! 
is added), He's a knowing one ! He 
knows his book ! 

A borrowing from military slang, in which la 
stood originally for to thdorie, * drill *. 

Tu la connais dans les corns, mais 
c'est pas tout de la connaitre : il faut 
savoir la pratiquer (G. COUETELINE, 
Les Gaietes de VEscadron). 

Tu avais devant toi un lascar 
('fellow') qui la connait dans les 
coins (C. H. HIBSOH, " Petit " Louis, 

3. Marque (or Frappe) au coin de . . , or 
au bon coin, To bear the stamp of . . ., 
To be of the right stamp, of the right 


sort e.g. Des vers frappes au coin du 
genie, Poetry witli the stamp of genius. 
Gela^est marque au bon coin, That lias 
a genuine ring about it. 
Coin here means the ' die * used for stamping 
coins or medals. 
*eoineer > vb. tr. *1. To get some one in a 

*2. To arrest (of police), to nab. 

From coin, * corner*. 

col, n.m. Se pousser du col, To be con- 
ceited, to assume an air of self-import- 
ance or conceit, to feel proud of one's 
achievement. See note to coup 18. 

Si j'aimais a me pousser du col, je 
vous aurais d6ja dit qu'au match des 
negres M. Cabet m'a presente a un 
prince russe (0. H. HIRSOH, "Petit " 
Louis, Boxeur). 

eolere, n.f. 1. Etre dans ses coleres e.g. 
II est dans ses coleres, He's in a paddy, 
in his tantrums. 
2. Une colere bleue, A towering rage. 

Lit. ' a blue anger', toy allusion to the effect 
that the rush of blood has on the face. 
eolique, n.f. Avoir la colique, To be in a 


collage, n.m. Cohabitation o man and 
woman not legally married. 
See coller 3 and eolle 4 

Gomes, ancien interne des hopit- 
aux de Paris, perdu par le jeu et un 
vieux collage (DAITDET, ISImmortel). 
collant, adj. Applied to a person who 
cannot be got rid of, a limpet e.g. Ce 
gu'il est collant ! What a bore he is ! 
Lit. ' sticking '. The word is applied particu- 
larly to a woman e.g. to a jealous wife who 
follows her husband everywhere. 
colle, %./. LA fib, crack e.g. (ra)conterune 
colle a quelqu^un, to tell some one a fib. 
Lit. ' glue '. This is an old jargon meaning 
of the word, which has found its way into 
popular speech. The implication is that a lie 
or something said to ' take a person in ' is 
comparable to a thing which sticks and 

2. (School slang) Difficult question put to 
a pupil or candidate, a poser e.g. 
Poser (or Pousser) une colle d quelqu'un, 
To ask one a poser. Voila une colle 
pour vous, There's a little nut for you 
to crack. 

An extended application of 1. The word is 
also used of periodical examinations at which 
pupils or candidates are drilled in the answer- 
ing of such questions. 

Je te derange, tu travailles ? Je 
finis un exemple d colle pour le 
bachot d'octobre. Cen'estpaspret 
(H. BATAILLE, Maman (Jolibri). 

103 eoller 

Mile Vedit lui poussa guelques 
" colles " orthographiques, histor- 
iques et geographiques (H. DUVER- 
NOIS, Gisele). 

3. (School slang) Detention e.g. On lui a 
fichu une colle, He has been kept in. 

4. A la colle e.g. Etre a la colle or Un 

manage a la colle, To live in a state of 

A popular variant is trQ ma,rU au XXIe 
anondiss&m&nt (because there are only twenty 
arrondissements in Paris). 
"5. Faites chauffer la colle I Stock phrase 
used when something is broken Go 
on, break up the happy home ! 
Lit. * warm the glue 1 ' 

Des verres roulaient, sautaient en 

eclats. Faites chauffer la colle ! (E. 

DORGEL&S, Saint Magloire). 
coller. 1. vb. tr. (a) To put, place, give, 
throw, send, bung, etc. e.g. coller 
quelqu'un au bloc, to imprison a per- 
son, run one in, send one to the guard- 
room. Collez ga ou vous voudrez, 
Shove it down anywhere. Golle-toi la 
et ne bouge plus, Stick there and don't 
move. Oolle-toi ca dans le cornet, Just 
swallow that ! Get that down you ! 
Se coller dans le pieu, To go to bed. 
Le depensier m'a colle un vieux 

matelas quand fai le droit d'en avoir 

un neuf (G. REVAL, Les Sevriennes). 

(b) (School slang) To pluck, spin, plough 
(at an examination) e.g. Sefaire coller 
au bachot, To get ploughed at the 
bachot examination; (generally) to 
stump, floor a person. 

See colle 2. 

S'il me posait la question, je ser- 
ais colleel Quo repondre? (IT. DE 
CITREL, La Danse devant le Miroir). 

(c) (School slang) To keep in (detention) 
e.g. II a ete colle, He's been kept in. 
See eolle 3. 

2. vb. intr. To get on e.g. fa colle? 

How are you getting on ? How's 
things ? EntendUy $a colle / Agreed ! 
Granted ! All's bob 1 I'm on ! Qa ne 
colle pas, tons les deux! They don't 
agree with each other, Those two 
don't get on well together, 

Tu vas m'habiller ma compagnie ? 
Qa, colle,! Ou sont les frusques 
( * togs ' ) ? On va te montrer . Viens 
avec moi (R. BEWJAMHST, Gaspard). 

3. JSe coller (or Etre colU) avec, To form a 

collage with some one. 

Lagrathe ne fut pas rebute" par 




cette elasticity regrettable . . . il $e 
colla avec Mollette . . . et $a dure 
depuis vingt ans ! (Gyp, Les Irous- 

coHet~mont, adj. inv. (Of persons or 
things) Stiff and starched, strait- 
laced, puritanical, prudish. e.g. Elle 
est iris collet-monte. Les sakns collet- 
monte de 1825. 

A collet montt was a high lace collar 
worn, by women at the end of the sixteenth 
century, which was starched and held up by 

Briancourt le fit admettre au 
cercle le plus jeune et le naoins collet- 
monte (B. ABOUT, Les cinq Perles). 
collier, n.m. 1. Eire franc, du cottier, (a) 
To be earnest and straightforward ; 
(b) never to shirk one's work. 
Lit. of a horse, ' to pull freely ', The phrase 
comes from a comparison with beasts of 
burden, kept in check by means of the 
harness and bridle. 

Elle sait bien ce que c'est que les 
gens de la campagne : onrfy va pas 
par quatre chemins. On est franc du 
collier. On dit ce qu'on dit ( BEIETTX, 
Le Bourgeois aux Champs). 
2. JZeprendre le collier (de masere), To get 
into harness again, to return to 
drudgery, to the old routine. 
This is said (sometimes jokingly) when one 
returns to one's usual occupation after a 
temporary rest. The allusion is to the 
collar which forms part of a horse's harness. 
eollignon, n.m. Cabby, jarvey. 

This insulting nickname for a Paris cab- 
driver (a species now almost extinct) comes 
from the name of a coachman who murdered 
his fare in 1885. 

La Compagnie du Nord et la 
police auraient bien voulu m'avoir. 
Mais la Compagnie des Omnibus 
craignait une greve ( e strike '). On 
a etouffe $a ( c The affair was hushed 
up'). J'ai simplement ete remis 
collignon, avec chapeau en toile 
ciree et moteur a crottin (J. Ro- 
MAINS, Le Vin blanc de la Villette). 
eolloquer, vb. tr. 1. To put some one any- 
where e.g. colloquer un invite au bout 
de la table, to shove a guest at the end 
of a table. 

2. To give, sell, push on to e.g. colloquer 
un rossignol a un client, to palm off old 
stock on to a customer. II voudrait 
me colloquer sa file, He would like to 
push his daughter on to me. 

Le plus urgent, c'est de colloquer 
votre Catherine en d'autres mains 

protectrices (L. FRAPIE, Les Ob- 
*colon, n.m. *1. Colonel. 

Military abbreviation of colonel. 
*2. Familiar form of address e.g. Eh bien, 
mon colon I Well, old cock, old bean ! 
Cp. the English " captain ', * cap'n '. 
Originally a vague term of friendship between 
soldiers, which has passed into popular speech. 

See roupiller (Boylesve). 
""coloquinte, n.f. Head, nut e.g. Avoir 
une araignee dans la, coloquinte, To be 
crazy (see araigE^e). Golle-toi $a dans 
la coloquinte., Get that into your pate. 
Lit. 'colocyntb/, a kind of cucumber; by 
allusion to its shape. 

Ce monsieur-l& doit avoir ete mele 
autrefois a une histoire de con- 
damnation; $a a fini par lui taper 
sur la coloquinte ( : affecting his 
brain') (L. EEAPIEI, La Figurante). 
* c oltiner, vb . tr. To carry (heavy burdens) . 
Lit. *to ply the trade of a Goltin&ur', a porter 
who carries heavy burdens on his head or 
shoulders. Coltineur may be connected with 
coltin, a broad leather hat worn by these 
porters, or perhaps it stands for colletineur, 
i.e. one who carries things on his collet, 
' collar ' or ' neck '. 

combien, adv. Le combien est-ce ? or Le 
combien sommes-nous ? or Nous sommes 
le combien ? What day of the month is 

This form has superseded Le quantUme 
est-ce ? or Quel est le quanti&me ? or Queljour 
du mois sommes-nous? 

*eombinaise or combine, n.f. Scheme, 

arrangement, trick, cunning device, 

deal e.g. Une bonne combine, A clever 

move . Jouer une combine sure, To be 

on velvet. Connattre les combines, To 

know a trick or two, to be up to snuff. 

Corruptions of combinaison, n.f. Cp. binaise. 

C'est une petite combine qui sera 

longue et delicate a mettre au point 

mais qui serait surement tres fruc- 

tueuse (L. FABBE, Rabevel). 

eomWe,%.m. 1. Defondencomble, From 

top to bottom, completely, utterly. 

Lit. ' from the foundations to the comUe *, i.e. 

the structure surmounting a building and 

supporting the roof. 

Ilsrevinrentunenuitd'hiver . . 
une nuit qu'il n'y avait plus per- 
sonne a la maison, et ils la cam- 
brioUrent ( c burgled '), de fond en 
comble (0. MXEBEATT, Dingo). 
2. Sous les combles e.g. II est loge sous 
les combles, His room is at the top of 
the house, He lives under the tiles. 
De sa chambre, sous les combles, le 



petit Chose les ecoute en travaillant 
(A. DATTDET, Le petit Chose). 
3. Qa, c'est le comble, That is the limit, 

That is the finishing stroke, That puts 

the lid on it. 

A figurative use of comble, in the sense of 

'overflow of a measure*. 
com^die, n.f. 1. Donner la comedie aux 

gens, To make a laughing stock of one- 
2. Jouer la (or une) comedie,, To play (or 

act) a part (in the sense of shamming), 

to be acting. 
*3. Etre a la comedie, To be out of work, 

' out of collar ', Envoy er quelqu*un d 

la comedie, To cause some one to be 

out of work, to dismiss a workman for 

want of work to give him. 

An ironic use of the word comedie, lit. 


*eomete,w./. *1. See earabin de la eomete. 

*2. Vagrant, tramp. Filer (or Heftier) la 
comete, To sleep in the open air, to be 
a tramp. 

comity n.m. Etre en petit comite, To hold 
a friendly gathering of a few intimate 
friends, of a select few e.g. Nous 
serons en petit comite, There will be 
only a few intimate friends. 

On 1'appelait au salon pour dis- 
traire la compagnie lorsque la pluie 
battait les vitres et qu'on etait en 
petit comite (E. ABOUT, Le Turco). 
comme, adv. 1. C'est tout comme, It is 
all (or just) the same, It comes to the 
same thing. 

Avoir f ailli aller & Shang-Hai ou y 
etre alle, pour Tartarin, c' etait tout 
comme (A. DAUDET, Tartarin de 

2. Comme ci, comme, $a, So-so, indiffer- 
ently, fairly well, middling. 

Lit. comme ceci, comme cela. 

See mal (B) 2 (Bernard). 

3. Comm,e ca, (a) 2. 

(b) II est comme ca, You must take him as 
he is. C'est comme ca, You must take 
things as they are. 
*(c) See e.a 7. 

4. Comme ilfaut (lit. * as it should be ') is 
used as an adjective with the force of : 
proper, gentlemanly, ladylike, re- 
spectable, genteel, in good taste e.g. 
C'est un homme comme ilfaut, He is a 
perfect gentleman. Une toilette comme 
il faut, Tastefully dressed. It is gen- 
erally pronounced comifau and may be 
qualified by assez, plus, moins, tres. 

5. Comme quoi . . ., How . . . 

Comme quoi is common in familiar speech 
instead of comment, in indirect questions ; cp. 
the vulgar English ' as how * or ' as to how'. 
En ltd racontant comme quoi mon- 
sieur d'Espard, pas plus tard que ce 
matin, avait fait battre ses deux 
enfants (BALZAC, V Interdiction). 
comment, inter -j. 1. Comment done ! 
Varies in force according to the con- 
text and tone : What ! Certainly ! 
Why certainly ! Need you ask ? Cer- 
tainly not ! Yes, indeed ! No, indeed ! 
Je parle sincerement, vous savez ? 
Comment done / . . . j'en suis 
convaincu ! (GYP, Le Baron Sinai), 
2. Et comment f Of course ! Certainly ! 
Sure ! Not half ! e.g. Tu consens ? 
Et comment / Do you agree ? You 
bet ! Cp. the Americanism * And 
how ! ' 

Mais, dis done, tu paries bien 
francais. Et comment / repondit le 
prisonnier flatte" . . . Avant la 
guerre, j'habitais Paris (R. DOR- 
GBLES, Le Cabaret de la belle Femme). 
commission, n.f. 1. Aller en commission, 

To go on an errand. 

2. Aller aux commissions, To go shopping. 
commode, adj. Pas commode (of persons) 
e.g. II n'est pas commode, He is not 
easy (He is not an easy customer, He 
is an ugly customer) to deal (get on) 
with, to tackle, or He is very strict, or 
He is not easily taken in. 

C'est une bonne fille, mais pas 
commode. Si elle savait que je 
recois du monde (' company *), elle 
m'arracherait les yeux (MAUPAS- 
SANT, Une Soiree). 

Pour moi, voyez-vous, un homme 
qui touche aux affaires . . . n'est 
pas un honnete homme. Bigre/ 
. . . vous rf etes pas commode ! (GrYP, 
Le. Baron Sinai). 
commun, n.m. Le commun des mortels, 

The common herd. 

eompagnie, n.J. Fausser compagnie a 
quelqu'un e.g. Elle lui a fausse com- 
pagnie, She gave him the slip or She 
did not keep her appointment with 

compas, n.m. Avoir le compas dans Vc&il, 
To have a good eye for distances (or 
measurements generaEy). 

Qui s'oifrirait un pareil defaut de 
syme'trie ? Nous autres Parisians, 




nous naissons tous le compos dans 
roeil (LABOULAYE, Paris en Amer- 

complet. 1. Ti.771. Etre au (grand) com- 
plet, To be in Ml force e.g. Nous etions 
au grand complet, Everyone was there. 
La m&nagerie f amiliere de Mme de 
Champrose se trouva an, grand co: 
plet (T. GATJTIER, Jean et Jeannette). 

See cloeher (Mirbeau). 
2. adj. Ce serait complet / That would 
be the last stroke ! 

Tu penses bien^que je ne fenveux 
pas de ga 1 C'est dommage 1 fit 
Chagny amer, ce serait complet / 
(Gyp, Le Baron Sinai). 
compliment, n.m. Mengainer son compli- 
ment. Not to say any more, to drop the 
matter, to say no more about it, to 
shut up e.g. C'est la votre opinion? 
Oh, alors, je rengaine mon compliment. 
So that's what you think ? Well, then, 
I'll say no more. 

Lit. ' to sheathe one's compliment ' ; the 
phrase denotes that a person stops short when 
about to make a compliment which lie sees 
IB no longer to the point , and, by extension, 
to refrain from making a proposal or giving 
advice which is] evidently useless or uncalled 

composition, nf. 1. Amener quelqu'un a 
composition, To bring a person to 

Je lui ecrirai demaiu, et f espere 
Vamener a composition (V. CHER- 
BTTLIEZ, UAventure de Ladislas 

2. Mntrer en (or Venir a) composition avec 
quelqu'un, To come to terms, to an 
arrangement with a person. 
eompiendre. *l.vb.intr. Je comprends/ 
Exclamation denoting strong affirma- 
tion, sometimes with slight ironical 
force : I should think so ! Hather ! 
You bet ! 

Comme ils traversaient la bout- 
ique et regardaient machinalement 
les piles de linge, C61ine dit : 
J'espere que vous allez nous donner 
votre pratique (' custom *). Gos- 
seline repondit : " Je comprends ", 
ce qxii signifie " bien entendu " (* of 
course ') (A. HBRMANT, Cadet de 

2. Je me comprends, I know what I am 
talking about. 

Si vous m'en croyez, vous ne 
compterez pas sur cette eleve et 

vous vous pourvoirez ailleurs. 
Pourquoi ? Je me comprends . . . 
(H. BBCQITB, Les Corbeaux). 
comprenette or comprenolre, n.f. Intelli- 
gence, understanding e.g. Avoir la 
comprenette difficile or Ne pas avoir la 
comprenette facile, Not to understand 
easily, To be dense. 
Fanciful derivatives from comprendre. 

Les cubistes Finteressent pro- 
digieusement, mais ils exagerent a 
un tel point que Dieu les trouve trop 
intelligents pour sa comprenette (IF. 
CARGO, Seines de la Vie de Mont- 

compte, n.m. 1. A bon compte. Cheap, at 
a small cost e.g. Je Vai eu a bon 
compte, I had it a bargain. II en a 
ete quitte a bon compte, He got off 
lightly. A meilleur compte. Cheaper, 
for less money. 

2. A ce compte(-la), At that rate, that 

being so. 

3. Avoir son compte e.g. II a son compte^ 

(a) He is duly paid, He has his due 
(lit. and fig.) ; (b) He has what he 
wants ; (c) He has as much as he can 
stand ; (d) He is drunk ; (e) He is 
done for, It's all up with him, His 
number is up. 

4. Mre loin de compte, (a) Not to agree in 

one's reckonings ; (b) To be far from 
being in agreement (generally). 

5. Faire le compte de e.g. Cda fait mon 

compte, That suits me. Oela ne fait 

pas mon compte, That is not what I 

want or what I looked for. 

Distinguish this from fairs compte de, ' to take 

notice of, 'to set value upon *, and from 6. 

II me laissa, avec les chevaux, a 

Fauberge, en me recommandant d 

Fattendre patiemment. Gela ne 

faisait pas le compte de ma curiosite* ; 

je me glissai sur ses pas, je me 

faufilai dans la salle d'audience (DE 

Voatrfi, L'Oncle Fldia). 

6. Faire son compte (pour . . .), To man- 
age, contrive (to . . .) e.g. Comment 
fait-il son compte P How does he man- 
age that ? 

Je ne sais pas comment ils firent 
leur compte, mais, tine demi-heure 
apres, ils <taient tous rafle*s par la 
ligue (A. DAUDET, Contes du Lundi). 

7. Faire un compte rond e.g. Faisons un 
compte rond, Let us make it even 
money, a round sum. 




8. Laisser quelque chose pour compte & 
quelqu'un, To leave something on 
some one's hands. Mester pour compte 
d quelqu^un, To have something left on 
one's hands. 

9. Les bons comptes font les bans amis, 
Short reckonings make long friends. 

10. Edgier son compte a quelqu'un, To 
settle a person's hash for him, to c do 
for ' a person. Son compte est regie (or 
bon), He is in for it, He will catch it 

S' has caught it) or He is done for. 
. 3 (a) and (e). 

Et le general, lui, qu'est-il de- 
venu ? Sans doute est-il deja mort, 
car les autres n'en parlaient pas. 
Son compte, a celui-la, devait etre 
regie (G-. LEEOTJX:, Le Chdteau noir). 

Du reste, il devait se garer a 
chaque instant pour 6 viter la pluie 
de mitraille que deversait ce trou 
du diable, mais chaque fois qu'une 
tete apparaissait, son compte etait 
bon ' (ibid.}. 

11. Tenir compte a quelqu*un de quelque 
chose, To give some one credit for 

12. Trouver son compte & quelque cJtose, To 
find profit, one's benefit in a thing, to 
find it to one's advantage e.g. Je n'y 
trouve pas mon compte, I make nothing 
by it. II y a trouve son compte, HeJhas 
made a good thing of it. II n'y trouva 
pas son compte, He got more than he 
cared for. 

13. Un compte (or Un memoir e) d'apotlii- 
caire e.g. 11 m'& fait un compte 
d'apothicaire. He over-charged my bill, 
He sent me in a stiff bill. 

Formerly chemists used to send periodi- 
cally to their customers a detailed m&moire- 
of the medicines supplied; and as the 
medicines as well as the ingredients were 
set down according to their Latin formula, 
the only part of the bill that was clear to 
the majority of customers was the total 
cost, which, no doubt, was written very 
legibly 1 Hence the expression un mtfmoire 
or compte d'apothicaire to denote a bill set out 
in detail and proportionately lull in amount. 
*comtois n.m. Battre eomtois, To dis- 
semble, to lie. 

This expression comes from the argot of 
mountebanks and fair-folk among whom 
eomtois (lit. comte, * count ') denoted the con- 
federate of tricksters who played the part of 
a simpleton in order to egg on and entice 
probable victims e.g. a spectator who 
allows himself to be thrown or beaten by a 
wrestler or boxer, or a * sportsman ' who tries 
his hand at the three card trick. Thus 
battre eomtois came to mean in a generalised 

sense ' to feign ', * to He ' e,g. a thief is said 
to battre comtois when he pretends not to 
understand the questions put to him, or a 
woman bat comtois when she is unfaithful and 
swears she is true. An equivalent ischiguer 
contr&, chiquer in old jargon being a synonym 
of battr& (SAIN&AN, Langage parisien, pp. 

eoneevotr, 1. vb. intr. Goncoit-on / Just 
imagine ! Did you ever hear of such 
a thing ! 

Congoit-on ! On a 1'idee de flan- 
quer le convert sous la tonnelle ! 
(* they took it into their heads to 
shove the dinner-things in the 
arbour ') (V. SARDOTJ, Nos Intimes). 
2. Je ne vous congois pas, I cannot under- 
stand how you can act like that. 
concoiirs, n.m. Etre hors concours, (lit.) 
No longer to be a competitor, to stand 
aside ; (fig*) to be beyond comparison. 
Etre hors concours means properly to be 
classed apart at an exhibition or competition 
as having already received the highest award. 
^condition, n.f. Acheter une condition, To 
lead a new mode of life, to turn over a 
new leaf. 

^'eonduite, n.f. S'acketer une conduite, To 
turn over a new leaf. 
This expression has passed from the slang of 
cab-drivers into popular speech. 

Un honnete homme doit avoir un 
metier. . . . C'est le meilleur pour 
s'acheter une conduitel (C. H. 
HIESCH, " Petit " Louis, JBoxeur). 
'^conjungo, n.m. Marriage e.g. Fuir le 
conjungo, To fight shy of marriage. 
jSe lancer dans le conjungo, To get 

From the Latin word conjungo , ' I join *, 
which occurs in the marriage service. 

See brinsiezingues (Zola). 
conBalssance, n.f. *1. Best girl, sweet- 
heart, mistress. 

Lit. * acquaintance *. Borrowed from military 

Est-ce que tu te figures que je 
vais . . . balayer 1'ccurie et rouler 
la litiere pendant que tu penseras a 
ta connaissance ? (G-. COTJRTELIHE, 
Les Gaietes de VEscadron). 
2. En connaissance de cause, Knowingly, 
with full knowledge (of the matter 
In band), from experience, on good 
grounds e.g. Parler (Agir) en con- 
naissance de cause, To know what one 
is talking about (what one is doing). 
JUit. with a knowledge of the reasons and 
arguments of both sides m, a cause, " case', 

Pour raisonner en connaissance de 
cause, il eut fallu poss^der la clef 




premiere du probleme, c'est-a-dire 
la langue des Boh6miens (J. RICHE- 
PIH, Miarlca). 

connaltre, vb. tr. 1. Qa me connaU, I am 
familiar with it, I am well used to that, 
I know all about it, I know every inch 
of it, I am an old hand at it. 
familiar for Je connais ca. 

J'ai march dans la misere, ca me 
connaU (H. BATAILLE, La Femme 

Voulez-vous que j'aille jeter un 
coup d'oeil la-dedans ? . . . Qa> 
me connaU. ... Je vais vous re- 
mettro cela d'equerre, vous allez 
voir (BRIEUX, Le Bourgeois aux 

2. Connu ! or Je la connais,, celle-ld ! 
That's an old tale (story, trick, dodge), 
I know all about that, That's nothing 
new, I've heard that before, I've been 
* had ' before, Queen Anne's dead, Bo 
you see any green in my eye ? 
Elliptical for Cela est connu ! Ltx, stands for 
a word like histoire,cliose, affaire. 
*3. La connaUre, elliptical for La connaUre 
dans les coins ; see coin 2. 

Vois-tu, ma petite Celestine . . . 
il faut etro plus fort quo les gens 
qu'onsert. . . . Tout est Id (' That's 
the whole secret of the matter'). . . . 
Servir chez des gens intelligents et 
qui cc la connaissent "... c'est de 
la duperie, mon petit loup (' my 
dear ') (0. MIRBEATT, Le Journal 
d'une Femme de Chambre). 

4, Se connaUre en (or a) quelque chose, To 
have great experience in a matter, to 
be a good hand at a thing, to be a good 
judge of something e.g. se connaUre 
en musique (en vins)> to be a good 
judge of music (of wine). II s*y con- 
naU, He understands all about it, He 
is a capital judge of it, He is an 
authority on it, He is a good hand at it. 

Je me connais en coups de couteau; 
j'en ai vu tant 1 (T. GAUTIEE, M ih~ 

Pour cela, je m'en rapporte 4 
1'avis de madame, qui s^y connaU 
mieux que moi (idem, Jean et Jean- 

See cri 1 (Levy). 

5. Ne plus se connaUre e.g. II ne se con- 

naJit plus, He is quite beside himself 
with rage. 

See c6t6 1 (Courteline). 

COnquSte, n.f. Faire. la conquete de quel- 
gu'un, To win some one's heart. 

ElU avait fait la conqu&te de la 
petite bonne, qui consentit a aller, 
malgre la pluie, cueillir des roses 
dans le jardin (GYP, Une Passion- 

*eons^q[iient, adj. Important, big e.g. 
une maison consequente, un personnage 
consequent, une affaire consequente. 
This popular use of consequent in the sense of 
considerable, important, has been repeatedly 
condemned by grammarians and lexico- 
graphers, but is still lampant. It is found 
with this force as early as the sixteenth 
century, and seems to havo followed the 
parallel development of the noun consequence, 
which, in the same century, became synony- 
mous with importance. 

Une pancarte portant en lettres 
consequentes d'une hauteur de 20 a 
25 centimetres une declaration (G. 
OOTJRTELINE, Les Gaietes de VEsca- 

51 consolation, n.f. *1. Brandy e.g. Un 
petit verre de consolation, A small glass 
of brandy. 

*iS. Jeu de consolation, a card game, nearly 
always organised by * sharpers ', and 
played in the train on the way to or 
from the races. 

In both cases, a facetious application of the 

contenance, n.f. 1. flair e bonne conten- 
ance, To put a good face on the mat- 
ter, to show a bold front. 

Bon ! je suis pris, dit Andre's ; 
faisons bonne contenance (T. GATJ- 
TIER, Militona). 
See bceul (Gyp). 

2. Perdre contenance or Ne (plus) mvoir 
quelle contenance faire (or tenir or 
garder), To be put out ol countenance, 
to be abashed, to lose one's assurance. 

3. Pour se donner une contenance or Par 
contenance, To keep oneself in. counten- 
ance, to give oneself confidence e.g. 
II ^rit un livre pour se donner une con- 
tenance or par contenance, He picked 
up a book to hide his confusion. 

Emma rougit quand il entra, tout 
en s'efforcant de rire un peu, par 
contenance (FLAUBERT, Madame 

content, n.m. Avoir son content de guelgue. 

chose, To have one's fill of a thing. 

Manger tout son content, To eat to one's 

heart's content, to eat one's fill. 

conter, vb. tr. 1. Mn cont&r a quelgu'un, 




To tell a person ridiculous or extra- 
ordinary things, to deceive a person 
e.g. II ne faut pas m'en center, Don't 
tell m fibs, Don't try to *kid' me. 
C'est un malin a qui on n'en conte pas 
(or qui ne s'en laissepas conter), He is a 
sharp fellow, not to be taken in. 
This phrase is equivalent to en conter de belles 
d quelqu'un ; see belles 2. 

Mais Clerambourg etait de ces 
gens avisos qui nee* en laissent point 
conter : son unique vertu etait la 
prudence (B. BOYLESVE, IS Enfant a 
la Balustrade). 

2. En conter a une femme = Conter fleur- 
ette a une femme ; see fleurette. 

3. Contez-nous un de ces contes que vous 
contezsi bien, A stock phrase used jok- 
ingly to invite some one to tell a story. 
An allusion to the formula often found in old 
story books e.g. Les Mille et une Nuits 
(The Arabian Nights). 

contrefieher, se. Se contreficher de, an 
intensive form of se ficlier de, not to 
care the least bit (a straw, a hang) for 
a person or a thing e.g. Je m'en fiche 
et je m'en contrefiche. 

*eonva!o, n.f. Sick-leave e.g. Aller en 
convalo, To go on sick-leave. 
Military slang for convalescence. 
See hosteau (Benjamin). 

conversation, n.f. 1. Defrayer la conver- 
sation, (a} To keep up the conversa- 
tion ; (6) To be the subject matter (the 
topic) of a conversation. 
Lit. ' to defray the conversation * ; in other 
words, fmre les frais de la conversation (see 
frais 3) . In the sense of (a) the phrase is used 
of a person who does his share in keeping a 
conversation going ; in the sense of (6) it may 
be said of persons or things. 
See champ 1 (Theuriet). 

2. Etre a la, conversation, To attend to the 
conversation e.g. Je n'etais pas a la 
conversation, I was not listening. 

copain, n.m. (fern, eopine). Friend, pal, 
chum, mate. 

For compain, the old nominative case of 
compagnon. Originally the word was applied 
to a school chum, but has now become 

See blague 3 (Courteline), cran 1 

coq, n.m. Etre le coq du village, To be the 

cock of the walk. 

*coque, n.f. Etre a la coque, To be tip-top, 
Al e.g. II parait que tfest tout a fait a 
la coque / It seems that it is absolutely 
top-hole ! Faire un diner a la cogue, 
To have a slap-up dinner. 

eoqueliiehe, n.f. A popular person, a 
favourite e.g. Etre la, coqueluche des 
dames (or de toutes les femmes), To be a 
it favourite with (the pet of) the 

Coqueluche was formerly a kind of 'hood' 
worn by women ; cp. 6tre coiffd de quelqu'un, 
sub e oifler 1. 

Aim de tuer mes soirees, je devins 
un habitue du theatre de la ville, dans 
lequel une petite chanteuse d'oper- 
ette etait alors la coqueluche de 
MM. les abonnes (F. COPPEE, Bonnes 

coquille, n.f. 1. Ne jamais sortir de so. 
coquille e.g. II ne sort jamais de so, 
coquille, He never leaves his house, 
never goes anywhere, He is a regular 
Lit. 'shell'. 
2. Rentrer dans sa coquille, To draw in 

one's horns. 

coquin, n.m. Coquin de sort ! inter j. 
What rotten luck ! 
Lit. * Bascally fate or lot ! " 
cor, n.m. A cor et a cri(s), With hue and 
cry, vehemently, imperatively, with 
might and main e.g. Demander quel- 
que chose (Reclamer quelqu'un) a cor et a 
cri(s], To clamour for something 
(some one). 

Lit. ' with horn and cry ' . By allusion to the 
hunting term chasser d cor et d en, ' to hunt 
with horn and hounds', the en being the 
term applied to the words used by huntsmen 
to urge on the hounds. 

Alors il arriva cette chose inat- 
tendue, que c' etait Jacquette qui 
reclamait a cor et a cris M. de Font- 
combes, et que c' etait M. cfe Font- 
combes qui se faisait un peu prier 
pour venir (B. BOYLESVE, Les 
elles Lecons d* Amour dans un 
eorbeau, n.m. 1. (Disparaging) Priest, 

' devil- dodger '. 
2. Undertaker's man, mute. 

Lit. 'raven*, 'crow*; in both, cases by 
allusion to the black dress. 
corde, n.f. 1. Avoir de la corde de pendu 
(dans sa poche) f To be very lucky, to 
have the devil's own luck. 
According to an old superstition, a piece of 
the rope which had served to hang a man 
was considered to be a charm against bad luck. 

2. Avoir la corde, (literary slang) To find 
the true expression for accurately 
describing sentiments or passions. 
Lit. ' to hit the right string ' (of an instru- 
ment) ; cp. toucher la corde sensible, 4 to touch 
the sore point'. 

3. Avoir plusieurs cordes (or plus d'une 




corde) a son arc, To have more than 
one string to one's bow. 

4. Mr e (or J&entrer) dans les cordes de quel- 

qu^un e.g. La musique, ce n'est pas 
dans mes cordes., Music is not in my 
line. Qa rtest (or ne rentre) pas dans 
mes cordes, That is not in my line, 
That does not suit my book. 
Cordes here denotes the cordes vocales, * vocal 
cords ' , so that Gela n'est pas dans mes cordes 
means lit. * That (song) is too high or too low 
for me '. 

Mon coco, tu devrais Idcher cette 
ferraille et " faire des affaires", ce 
serait mieux dans tes cordes, et tu 
gagnerais beaucoup plus (F. OHAMP- 
SATJR, Tuer les Vieux / Jouir /). 
See fooBdleuserie (Coppee). 

5. Montr er la corde, (a) (lit.) = &ire use 

jusqu'a la corde ; see 8 ; (b) (fig.) To 
be at the end of one's tether. 
See note to 8. 

(j. Se metire la, corde an cow, (a) To expose 
oneself to great danger, to get into 
a tight corner ; (b) (jokingly) To get 
Lit. * to put the halter round one's neck '. 

7. Tenir la corde, To have the advantage, 
to be in the lead, to be first favourite. 
Similarly Eeprendre la corde, To re- 
gain* the advantage, to get the lead 

Properly of a horse or runner who gets the 
inside jerth or best position, next to the 
ropes or rails , and figuratively of one who is 
in an advantageous position. 

Oe soir-la c'etait Mile Voraud qui 
tenait la corde et qui etait vouec 
-j,u role principal (T. BERNARD, 
Memoir es d'un jeune Homme range). 

8. Use jusqu'a la corde, Threadbare (lit. 
and fig.} e.g. Oela est use jusquSa la 
corde (or Cela montre la corde), (lit.) 
That is (worn) threadbare ; (Jiff.) That 
is thoroughly hackneyed. 

Par eoonomie, et parce que o'est 
1'habitude aussi, j'ai commence* de 
porter des veteinents que je croyais 
aaparavant uses jusqu'a la corde (E. 
TSsTATOiifc, L'Infirme aux Mains de 

9. Dormir (Ooucher) a la corde, To spend 
the night in a doss-house. 

By allusion to those doss-houses, existing 
formerly in Paris, in which the lodgers had 
the right to sit on the floor and rest their 
arms and heads on a rope stretched across the 
room. Cp. "To be able to sleep upon a 
clothes-line '. 
corder, vb. intr. To agree, suit, get on 

well with, get on swimmingly together 
(of persons, more rarely oj things). 

Moi qui eroyais qu'au fond tu ne 
cordais pas avec ta petite lemnie (H. 
BATAILLE, Poliche). 
eornard, n.m. and adj. Cuckold. 

See corne 3. 

eorne, n.f. 1. Faire des conies a un lime, 
To turn down the corners of pages in a 
book e.g. Ne /aitex pas de conies a ce 
livre, Do not dog's-ear that book. 
See oreille 6. 

2. Faire les conies a quelqu'un, To mock, 
make game of a person. 

The phrase implies that a person reproaches 
or puts another to shame by using the lingers 
to represent horns ; this is done by stretch- 
ing out the forefinger and middle fingers, 
opened and separated, the other fingers 
remaining closed. 

3, Porter des conies, To be a cuckold 
e.g. Mle fait porter des comes a son 
man, She is deceiving her husband. 
Cp. bois 4. 

eomeille, n.f. Bayer aux rormilles, To 
stare (gape) aboufc vacantly, to stand 
open-mouthed, to aland gaping, to 
catch llics. 

JAt. * to gape at tho rooks * , from the old 
verb baer, btfer, surviving in bdant., ' gaping *, 
and in We for btee in boucfa M0 = bottche 
Mmte, 'with open mouth'. The incorrect 
form Miller aux corneilles is also found. 
Je n'ai jamais tant flane ( c lounged 

about '), tant bdille aux corueilles (J. 

KOMAINS, Le Vin blanc de la Vil- 


*cornet 5 n.m. Stomach, throat- e.g. Se 
mcttre (or Se colter, 3'enfiler) quelque 
chose dans le cornet, To put something 
down one's gullet. N 9 avoir rien dans 
le cornet. To be fasting, to cry cup- 

Lit. 'little horn'. 

eoniichoB, n.m. 1. Silly fellow, ninny, 

2. = eornard. 

3. (School slang] Candidate preparing for 
Saint-Cyr, the French Sandhurst. 

Lit. ' gherkin '. 

Cornouailles, proper name. Alter en or a 
Cornouailles or A Her faire un voyage en 
Gornouailles, is said of a deceived 
husband. Cp. eocu. 
A euphemism for porter des comes- This 
euphemistic process of substitution is very 
common, and consists m merely indicating 
tho word one wishes to avoid by its first 
letter and continuing with another quite 
innocent word which has the same initial 
letter or sound e.g. all&r & faire / . . 



otograpMer (for f outre), emm . . ener d la \ 
campagne (for emmerder). 
corps, n.m. 1. A corps perdu, Heedlessly, 
headlong, desperately, with might and 
main e.g. 11 se jeta dans le plaisir d 
corps perdu, He rushed (threw him- 
self) headlong into a life of dissipation. 
Cela fit beaucoup rire tout le 
monde, et, malgre 1'heure avancee, 
ces messieurs se lancerent a corps 
perdu dans des theories philoso- 
phiques (A. DATJDET, Contes du 

2. A son (ton, mon, etc.) corps defendant, 

(lit.) in self-defence, (fig.) most reluct- 
antly, against one's will, against one's 
better judgement, in spite of oneself 
e.g. J'aifait cela a mon corps defendant, 
I was compelled to do that ; I did that 
against my own will. 
In Old French cors (Latin corpus") was fre- 
quently used as a substitute for the personal 
pronoun e.g. mis cors, tis cors, sis cors for 
yo (je), tu t il, etc. Tt also served to strengthen 
the personal pronoun and nouns denoting 
persons e.g. jo mis cors, %l sis cors, h reis sis 
cors (or h cors le rei). Modern French has 
preserved a relic of this use in the above 

3. Corps a corps e.g. Se battre (or Lutter) 
corps d corps, To fight hand to hand, 
to grapple with one another. 

On se battit corps d corps au milieu 
d'une fum6e si epaisse, que 1'on ne 
pouvait se voir (P. MERIICEE, ISJSn- 
Uvement de la Eedoute). 

4. Drdle de corps e.g. C'est un drdle de 
corps, He is a queer (odd) fellow (fish, 

Jamais je ne le vis toucher une 
carte. II ne lisait pas non plus les 
journaux ; il ne faisait rien ; il 
fumait. C'etait vraiment un drdle 
de corps (L. CODET, Cesar Caperan). 

5. Prendre du corps, To grow (get) stout, 

to put on flesh. 

Je ne vous ai pas remis ( I did not 
recognise you *) d'abord, a cause de 
votre bonnet et du corps que vovs 
avez pris (A. DATTDET, Tartarin de 

corser, vb. tr. To put body into a 
thing, to stiffen a thing e.g. Une 
affaire corsee, A racy (fruity) matter, 
U affaire se corse, The matter is taking 
a serious turn, Matters are getting 
complicated, are looking serious, The 
plot thickens '. 
Properly of imparting body to a wine by 
the adjunction of spirits or another kind of 

wine e.g. du vin corst, ' rich, full-bodied 

Contentez-vous de pre*parer ma 
note (' bill '), et ne craignez pas de la 
corser (C- DERENNES, La Guenille). 
*eossarct, n.m. and adj. Lazy fellow, lazy- 
See note to eosse. 

See foee 7 (Barbusse). 
*cosse, n.f. Laziness e.g. Avoir la cosse, 
To be lazy, not to feel inclined for 
work. Cp. fleme. 

Both cosse and cossard are provincial (Dau- 
phin6) borrowings, signifying * buzzard * and 
' barn-owl * respectively, two very lazy birds 
(SAIN^AN, Langage paruien, p. 309). 

II lui faut ses six heures de pucier 
('bed'). . . . Sans a, monsieur a la 
cosse toute la journee (H. BABBTJSSE, 
Le Feu). 

cossu, adj. Eire cossu, (of persons) To be 
wealthy, well to do ; (of things) Rich, 
costly, substantial e.g. une toilette 
(une mise) cossue, expensive clothes. 
Primarily of peas, beans, etc., which bear 
many cosses, 'pods'. 

*GOStaud or eosteau, n.m. and adj. Strong 
(thick-set, beefy, hefty) person e.g. 
Un (homme) costaud, A strapper. 
A derivative from cdte, 'rib', whence its 
meaning of 'strong*. Formerly applied to 
a pimp, the epithet has passed into popular 
speech with a more favourable meaning. 

Les femmes aioaent les rigolos 
(' men full of fun '). Qa depend. 
Si ... si ... j'ai remarqu< . . . 
les rigolos et les costeaux (M. 
DONNAY, Education de Prince). 

Madame Joubin avait la chair 
grasse et blanche, des bras " cost- 
auds " ou le sang effleurait sans trop 
marquer (B. LEO ACHE, Jacob). 
c6te, n.f. *1. Avoir les c6tes en long, To 
be lazy, a sluggard, a c bummer '. 
Said mockingly of a person who will not 
stoop or move to pick up or get some- 
thing. Lit. 'to have the ribs lengthwise', 
which would prevent one from bending down. 
*2. Chatouiller (or Mesurer) les cdtes a guel- 
qu'un, To thrash a person, to give one 
a drubbing. 

Lit. ' to tickle (to measure) a person's ribs ' 
(i.e. with a stick). 

3. Gompter les cotes d quelqu'un e.g. On 
lui compterait les cdtes, He is nothing 
but skin and bone. 

Lit. 'one could count his ribs'. Variants 
are On lui compterait les os or II n'a que Us 
os et la peau. 

4. Mre d la cdte, To be without money or 

resources, to be on the rocks, to be in 
a bad way (in one's business). 


In nautical parlance faire cdte, aller (or Gbn 

yett] d la cdte, is * to run aground ', ' ashore ' 

Ce sont des gens parfaitement nes, 

mais legerement a la cdte, peut-etre 

(H. BATAILLE, Notre Image). 

5. Mettre & la cdte, To knock up, bow] 

See note to 4. 

II n'y a vraiment pas de fatigue 
qui puisse me mettre a la cdte (If. 
COPPEE, Mon Ami Meurtrier}. 

6. Se tenir les cotes (de rire), To hold one's 

sides with laughter e.g. Ils riaient a 
s'en tenir les cdtes. Cp. eot6 5. 
c6t6, n.m. 1. (Theatrical) Cdte cour, 
Bight-hand side. Cote jardin, Left- 
hand side, 
formerly the stage-boxes on the right and 
' left were those of the King and Queen, and 
thus the right-hand side of the stage came 
to be called cdtd du roi, and the left-hand side 
c6U de la reine. Alter the devolution, cotti 
cour and cdt& yardin were substituted, by 
allusion to the cour du Carrousel and the 
yardin des Tuilenes, situated to the right and 
left respectively of the theatre in the palace 
of the Tuileries. These denominations were 
adopted by all theatres and are still used,Zit. 
and fig. 

Oh ! dame, alors, moi je ne me 
connai<s plus, je lui lance une double 
paire de gifles, qui lui retourne suc- 
cessivement le nez du cdte cour et du 
cdte jardin, et je 1'envoie, d'uno 
poussee, promener a 1'etage au- 
dessous (G. COUKTELINE, Madelon, 

2. Hire du c6te du manche, To be on the 

safe (or winning) side, to side with the 

party in power. 

Lit. * to be on the side of the handle '. 

S'ils se moquent de nous, je voud- 
rais bien ne pas en etre. J'aime la 
blague, pourvu que je sois du cdte du 
mancJie (IT. SAKGEY, Quarante Ans de 

3. Etre sur le cdte (or le flanc), To be on 
one's back, ill ; to be laid up. 

4. N' avoir rien du cdte gauche, To be heart- 

Lit. 'to have nothing on the left side '. 

5. Se tenir les cdtes de fire Se lenir les 
cdtes (de rire) ; see cdte 6. 

*eoterie, n.f. Used familiarly in calling to 
a group of friends e.g. Ohe I (or Eh /) 
la coterie ! Hullo, you chaps ! Mi ! 
dis done, la coterie / I say, you fellows ! 
coton, n.m. *1. Difficulty, trouble, ob- 
stacle e.g. II est venu, mais il y a eu 
du coton, He came, but it was hard 

i * j n 1^,'wi T1 m noiffi, (Lu I 

coton, There will be much difficulty, 
We'll have our work cut out. 

Quand je vois tout le coton que 
tu t'es donne et le rcsultat que tu 
atteins ! (H. CLERO, L*$preuve du 

2. Fvler un mauvais coton, To be in a very 
bad way (of health, and, by extension, 
of reputation, credit, business, etc.). 
Lit. * to spin bad cotton ' ; like machinery 
which is worn out or out of order. A rarer 
form of the metaphor shows more clearly the 
connection with illness ; this is yeter un 
mauvais eoton, which is said primarily of a 
cotton plant affected by some disease. 

En voila un qui file un mauvais 
coton et qui ne /era pas de vievx os / 
(' will not live long ') (C. DERJBNNES, 
La Ouenille], 

ouche, n.f. En avoir une couche, To be 
extremely dense e.g. 11 en a une 
couche ! How stupid he is ! Faut-il 
qu'il en ait une couche / What an idiot 
he must be ! Quelle couche / What a 
chump ! 

Couche is lit. a 'layer* or *coat" (e.g. of 
paint). The layer in this case is one de 
Mtise, 'of stupidity'. 

Ah vrai ! Ah / la / la ! Ce quo 
vous en avez une couche tous les deux ! 
(G. COURTELINE, Le Train de 8 h. 47). 
, adj. On est plus couche que de- 
bout, We're a long time dead. 
A familiar way of expressing the fact that 
life is short compared with eternity ; that wi 
are longer under earth than above it. Th< 
saying is used jokingly to invite a person tc, 
sit down. 

coucher, se. Allez vous coucher t Leave 
me alone ! Don't bother me ! Shut up ' 
Stow it! 

coucheUF, n.m. C'est un mauvais cou 
cheur, He is an awkward customer, 
cantankerous, disagreeable, crablrj 
fellow (to have anything to do with 
to get on with). 

Lit, * a troublesome bedfellow * , one wb 
disturbs the slumber of his bedfellow. 

C'est Angyal. Attention ! Ne ri 
golons ( c laugh J ) pas trop. II n> 
plaisante pas. Un mauvais cou 
cheur ! (J. RIOHEPIN, Cesarine). 

See gueule 6 (France). 
couci-eoupa or eouci-couci, adv. So-sc 
middling e.g. Comment allez-vous $~ 
Couci-couca, How are you ? So-sc 
J'rom the Italian cosi cosi, ht. ' thus thus 
Cp. comme ci, comwie $a> under comme 2. 

Madame est malade ? Oouc 1 , 
conga, Rose. L'age, tu sais . . 
(COLETTE, Gheri). 




eoude, n.m. 1. Avoir mal au coude, To 
be very lazy. 
Lit. ' to have a bad elbow *. 

2. Jouer des coudes, (lit.) To elbow one's 
way through, a crowd ; (6) To make a 
career for oneself, to push, oneself. 
Lit. ' to make play with, one's elbows *. 

Je jouai des coudes, je reussis a 
me faire jour a travers la foule (V. 
CHEKBULIEZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

II etait un modeste, un timide, ne 
sachant pas jouer des coudes, faire 
son chemin a la mode americaine 
(F. COPPEE, L' Adoption). 

3. Ldcher le coude a guelqtfun e.g. 

Ldcke-moi le coude ! Leave me alone ! 
Don't bother me ! 

Lit. ' to let go of some one's elbow '. Generally 
said to a person holding forth on some subject 
which is not to the listener's liking. 

Ldchez-nous done le coude, avec 

votre politique ! (ZoLA, ISAssom- 


Ldcne-nous le coude, avec ta boxe 

et ta culture nationale ! (C. H. 

HIRSCH, " Petit " Louis, JSoxeur). 

4. Lever (or Hausser) le coude, To tipple, 
to crook (bend) one's elbow, to have a 
crooked elbow e.g. II aime a lever le 
coude, He likes to bend his elbow. 

Parmi les veterans & deux bris- 
ques, j'etais un des moins abrutis, 
attendu que je n'ai jamais aime i 
lever le coude (F. COPPEE, Le bon 

5. Nepas semoucher du coude = Nepas se 
moucher du pied ; see pied 15. 

Lit. * not to wipe one's nose with one's elbow *. 
Goudee ? n./. Avoir ses coudees /ranches, 
(jig.) To have full liberty (or scope) to 
act according to one's inclination. 
Lit. 'to have elbow-room'. 

J'avais mes coudees /ranches. 
J'6tais mon maitre (E. FABRE, 
V Argent). 

couenne (pron. Icwdn). 1. n./. Skin, 
* buflt '. 

Lit 'bacon-rind'. 

2. n./. and adj. Stupid, clumsy fellow, 
fool e.g. Quelle couenne / or Est-il 
couenne I What an ass ! 
*COUic, n.m. Faire couic, To pop off, to 

Couic is an imitative word representing the 
cry of a little bird. 

*eouillon, n.m. and adj. *1. Stupid fellow, 
stupid e.g. couillon comme la lune, a 
perfect idiot. 

*2. Coward, poltroon, milksop, cowardly. 
Lit. 'testicle*. 

*eouilionEade or couillonnerle, n./. SiQy 
trick or talk, blunder, ridiculous affair, 
nonsense e.g. Tout $a tfest des couil- 
lonnades / That's all tommy rot ! 
coulage, n.m. (Loss resulting from) 
waste ; small purloining by servants, 
clerks, etc. 
Lit. 'leakage*. 

Une maison ou il y avait tant de 
coulage . . . ou Ton nous donnait 
tout a gogo ( c in plenty') (0. MIR- 
BEATJ, Le Journal d'une Femme de 

coulant, adj. Complaisant, easy-going, 
accommodating e.g. II est tres coulant 
en affaires, He is very pleasant to deal 
with, very easy to get on with. 
Lit. * flowing *. 

II se moque de toi, et tu le souf- 
fres ? II faut etre coulant en af- 
Qendre de M. Poirier). 
*coule, n.f. Stre a la coule, To know the 
ropes, to know what's what, to be up to 
snuff, to be fly e.g. II est a la coule, 
celui-lct,, He is a smart, knowing chap, 
He's up to a move (trick, thing) or two, 
He knows his book (all the tricks of the 

An abbreviated form of Sire d la, couleur ; see 
couleur 4. The phrase sometimes is equi- 
valent to coulant. 

S'il avait ete au courant, a la coule, 
il aurait su que le premier true du 
camelot, c'est de s'etablir au coeur 
meme de la foule (J. BICHEPIN, Le 

Une f emme de chambre, a la coule, 
et qui a de 1'oeil, sait parfaitement 
ce qui se passe chez ses maitres (0. 
MIBBEATJ, Le Journal d'une ffemme 
de Chambre). 

eoul6, adj. 1. Kuined e.g. (Test un 
homme coule, It's all up with him, 
He's done for. 

By allusion to a ship which is said to eouler 
(d bas or d fond) when it * founders ' ; hence 
fly. 'to go under', 'to fail'. 

AUons done ! . . il est fini, 
coule / . . . II ne reparaitra jamais ! 
(Gyp, Le Baron Sinai). 
2. (Of a teacher) Unable to maintain 

discipline, ragged by his pupils. 
eouler, vb. tr. 1. Couler quelqu'un, To 
ruin, discredit, * do for ' a person. 
Lit. * to cause to sink ' ' to swamp ' ; cp, 
note to eoulS 1. 




S. Se la couler douce e.g. 11 se la coule 
douce, He takes life easily, He takes it 

La stands here for la vie, and couler has the 
force of 'to spend time smoothly*, as in 
couler ses jours, couUr des yours trctnqmlles, 
couler une me heureuse. 

Si j 'avals cinq mille livres de 
rente, je me la coulerais douce 
(MAUPASSANT, Promenade). 

I/important, voyez-vous, c'est de 
se la couler douce jusgu'au bout, sans 
se fouler la rate (* overworking ') (E. 
ROD, "L'lncendie). 
eouleul, n.f. 1. Complexion e.g. Etre 
haul en couleur. To have a florid com- 
plexion. Avoir de belles coukurs, To 
have a beautiful complexion. 
2% Des couleurs, Lies e.g. Oonter des 
couleurs a quelgu'un, To tell a person 
lies. Ge sont des couleurs , It's all lies. 
S'entendre confer des couleurs de 
cette force-la, semblait un peu ex- 
cessif a Jean (Ghrp, MicJie). 

3. De toutes les couleurs e.g. En faire voir 
de toutes les couleurs & guelgu'un, (a) To 
tell a person all sorts of tales ; (6) to 
Torry some one beyond all bearing, to 
give one a liard time of it. Similarly 
Mn dire de toutes les couleurs a quelgu'un, 
To tell a person all sorts of tales. En 
entendre de toutes les couleurs sur le 
compte de gudgtfun, To hear all kinds 
of tales about a person. En avoir vu 
de toutes les couleurs, To have had all 
sorts ol experiences, to have been 
through the mill. 

Alors je lui en ai dit de toutes les 
couleurs (P. YEBEB, Les Rentrees)* 

Depuis trois jours, fen entends de 
toutes les couleurs sur son compte (F. 
CAKCO, Scenes de la Vie de Mont- 

Aussi, cjuand on a mon age . . . 
et qii'on en a vu de toutes les couleurs 
. . ., on peut se permettre de donner 
des conseils aux cadets (B. KOD, 

4. Etre a la couleur, To be in the know, to 
be able to give a relevant reply. 

This metaphor, "which is commoner in the 
abridged form fare d la coule, is drawn from 
the game of cards, and means lit. * to be able 
to give colour', 'to follow suit*. 

Eux qui etaient a la couleur, lui 
repondirent en. blaguant que le 
camarade venait tout juste de filer 
( l make tracks *) (ZOLA, ISAssom- 

5. Je n'aijamais vu la couleur de son argent, 

I have never seen the colour of his 
money, I have not received payment. 
A variant is Je ne sdis de quelle couleur est son 
argent i.e. whether his money is yellow 
(gold), white (silver), or red (copper). 

6. Voir tout (or les choses) couleur de rose =* 

Voir tout en beau ; see Tbeau 6. 

II avait mis les trois convives en 
belle humeur, et la gouvernante elle- 
meme en disposition de voir tout 
couleur de rose, comme les rubans de 
son bonnet (J. RIOHEPIIT, Miarka). 
couleuvre, n.f. Avaler des couleuvres* To 
put up with affronts, humiliations, 
mortifications. Faire avaler des cou- 
leuvres a gudqu*un 9 To make one swal- 
low a bitter pill. 

Lit. 'to swallow (to make one swallow) 

coulisse, n.f. En coulisse e.g. Faire les 
yeux (or Jeter des regards or Regarder) 
en coulisse, (a) To cast a sidelong 
glance ; (6) to make sheep's eyes, to 

By comparison with the coulisses or ' wingfci ' 
of a theatre. 

coup, n.m. 1. A coup sur, Certainly, for 
certain, assuredly, as sure as fate. 

2. A tout coup or A tons coups, Every 
time, constantly, at every turn. 

Mon p&re faisait a tout coup des 
absences mysterieuses (V. GIIEH- 
BTJLIEZ, L Aventure de Ladislas 

3. Apres coup, Too late e.g. Cela est 
venu apr&s coup, That came too late, 
after the event, 

4. Avoir le coup, To have the knack, to be 
a dab hand at it. 

5. Boire un coup, (a) To have a drink ; 
(6) To swallow water (when swim- 
ming or falling in). Boire un bon coup, 
To have a good drink, a long draught. 
Boire (or Avoir) un coup de trap, To 
have (take) a drink (drop) too much, a 
glass too many. 

II m'a dit : " Je ne dis pas que je 
n'avais pas un coup de trop I " et il a 
avou6 avoir oublie 1'heure du train 
pour revenir (Gyp, M icJie). 

See laflgue 7 (Brieux). 

6. Coup sw coup, One after another, in 
rapid (quick) succession. 

7. Du coup, At once, thereby. 

Du coup, y entrevis ce qu'il avait 
passe sous silence (E. ESTATO:C&, 
L'Infirme aux Mains de Lumiere). 


115 coup 

*8. En jeter (or mettre) un coup, To make an ! 
effort e.g. Allons, jetez-en un coup / 
Come now, get on "with it ! Put a jerk 
(some vim) into it ! 

Aliens, metton$-en un coup, ils ont 
Fair de ralentir (R. DORGELES, Le 
Cabaret de la belle Femme}. 

9. En venir aux coups, To come to Wows. 

10. JBtre aux cent coups, To be at one's 
wits' end, to be half -mad (distracted) 
with anxiety, to be quite upset, in 
despair. Similarly mettre quelqu'un 
aux cent coups, To drive one to despair. 
Lit. * to be on the point of, or ready to, faire 
Us cent coups ' ; see 12. 

En face d'eux iLfaisait le chien cou- 
chant, guettant sortir leurs paroles, 
etait aux cent coups quand il les 
croyait fach^s (ZoLA, ISAssommoir}. 

Son depart a mis maman aux cent \ 
coups et je suis chargee de la ramener ! 
(E. AFGIER, Les Fpurchambault). \ 

11. Faire coup double, (lit. andj%.) To kill 
two birds with one stone. 

12. Faire les cent coups, To play (be up to) 
all sorts of pranks (mad tricks), to 
be capable of anything, to do every 
mortal thing, to lead a fast life, to cut 
loose and raise the dickens. 

Coups here stands for coups de Ut& ; see 48. 
Sometimes the phrase is intensified by sub- 
stituting for cent other numbers such, as cent 
mille, cent dia>neuf, quatre cent dix-neuf, etc. 
Ces mijaurees qui font tant les 
prudes en apparence, sont souvent 
en r<alit6 des gaillardes qui font les 
cent coups ! (G. OHNET, LiseFleuron). 
Amuse-toi, fiston (* sonny *), je 
veux que tu t'arnuses. Fais le mon- 
sieur, fais le (liable, fais les cent dix- 
neuf coups (H. BEOQTJE, Les Cor- 

13. Faire le coup, To do the deed e.g. 
C'est lui qui a fait le coup, It is he who 
did it. 

14. Faire (or Eeussir] un bon coup, To 
make a lucky hit (move), to make a 
good bargain. 

15. Faire un mauvais coup, To commit a 
crime, a wicked act. 

Gleude, Trail farouche et les 
poings fermes, paraissait pret a 
faire un mauvais coup (J. RICHBPIN, 

16. Faire un sale coup a quelqu'un, To 
play a dirty trick upon some one. Qa 
c*est un sale coup ! (to which pour la 
fanfare is sometimes added), That's 

rotten luck ! That's a bad job ! What 
a sell! 

17. Manquer son coup, (lit. and fig.) To 
miss, one's shot (stroke), to fail. 

18. Monter le coup a quelqu'un, To de- 
ceive, hoax, take in, bamboozle a per- 
son e.g. On lui a monte le coup, They 
codded him or They induced him to do 
it. C'est un coup monte, It's a put-up 
job, a plot, a plant, a got-up (pre- 
arranged) affair. Se monter le coup, 
To deceive oneself, to be too sanguine, 
to form illusions, to get excited. 

Le vieux B. est un homme clair- 
voyant. On ne lui monte pas le coup 
(R. CooLirs, Les Bleus). 

Moi, dit M. Petitgaud toujours 

soupsonneux, je flaire un coup 

monte ; si 1'Allemagne vient nous 

tomber dessus, qui 1'en empechera ? 

(P. MARGUERITTE, UEmbusque). 

The word coup has here the force of 'trick '. 

Its homonym cou has given rise to the 

spelling monter le cou, which is sometimes 

found, and concerning which E. Philipot 

writes in Nyrop's Etudes, HI, p. 31* " J'ai 

entendu dire d'un individu qui s'en faisait 

accroire & lui-m@me, betement pr&tentieux : 

il se monte le cou(p) [a lui-memej ; or cette 

locution est extrmement voisme comme sens 

de la locution se pousser du col, hausser le cou 

comme un dindon. Et il est possible que nous 

ayqns la un point de coincidence psycho- 

logique entre coup et cou.* 1 

*19. Ne pas en ficJier (fiche, foutre) un coup, 

Not to do a stroke of work. 

20. Par a-coups, By fits and starts. 
Un d-coup is lit. ' a sudden jerk or stop '. 

Enfin, Jean grandissait si fort, et 
par si brusques a-coups, que Thabit 
eut ete au bout d'un mois, trop etroit 
et trop court (GYP, Miche}. 

On ne " s'entraine " point (dans 
les sports) par a-coups ; une lente 
progression est indispensable au 
succes (M. PREVOST, L'Art d'ap- 

21. Pour le coup, This time, now, for once 
e.g. Pour le coup, tfest trop fort! 
This time, it's nfore than a joke ! 

Voila, pour le coup, de la couleur 
locale, de la soupe rouge ! (T. GAU- 
TIEK, Voyage en Espagne). 

22. Sous le coup de . . ., Exposed to, 
threatened with, under the fatal in- 
fluence of . . . e.g. Mre sous le coup 
tfune accusation. Similarly Je suis 
encore sous le coup, I have not got over 
it yet, I still feel the effects of it. 

23. Tenir le coup, To stand the racket 




e.g. Mes robes peuvent encore tenir L 
coup, My dresses are still presentable. 

24. Valoir le coup, To be worth, while, to 
be worth the trouble (of doing, etc.) 
e.g. Cela vaut le coup, It is worth try 
ing. Le spectacle valait le coup ! It 
was worth seeing, I tell you ! Qa ne 
valait pas le coup, It wasn't worth 

25. Coup d'air, A cold caught by sitting 
in a draught. 

26. Qoup de balai e.g. Donner un coup de 
balai, To make a clean sweep (i.e. to 
dismiss a certain number of servants, 
officials, etc. ; to get rid of a certain 
number of things which, one has to do). 

See bonhomme 3 (Richepin). 

27. Coup de chapeau e.g. Donner un coup 
de chapeau, To raise one's hat, to salute 
(in the street). 

28. Coups de ciseaux e.g. Un article ecrit 
& coups de ciseauti, An article which is 
nothing but scissors and paste. 

Said of any written work which is more or less 
composed of passages cut out of other works. 

29. Coup de collier^ Effort e.g. Donner 
un coup de collier, To make a great 
effort. II faut donner un dernier coup 
de collier, We must make a final effort. 
I/it, of a horse, 'to give a good pull/. 

Encore un petit coup de collier, un 
petit effort, ct tu deviendras nouveau 
jeu parfaite (H. LAVEDAN, Le nou- 
vectu Jeu). 

Ne m'en voulez pas ( c Do not be 
vexed with me ') si mes reponses 
sont tardives et laconiques, car j'ai 
un vigoureux coup de collier a 
donner (FLAUBERT, Correspondance). 

30. Coups de dictionnaire e.g. Traduire a 
coups de dictionnaire, To translate with 
the help of a dictionary, with much 
turning over of dictionary. 

31. Coup $ envoi, Kick-off. 

32. Coup d'epeeQ.g. C'est donner (or 
C'est comme) un coup d'ep&e dans Veau, 
It is like beating the air, It is useless 
trouble, an unsuccessful attempt. 

33. Coup de feu, Bustle, hurry e.g. Eire 
dans son coup defeu, To be in no end of 
a bustle, to have one's hands full. 

The expression is used lit. of a cook in tlio 
act of heating up the dishes before serving 
them. e.g. La cuisim&re est dans son coup de 
f&u. Fig. the phrase is applied to the 
redoubled work and activity which precedes 
some undertaking. 

J'suis dans mon coup d'feu / 
J'reois tantot un tas d' princesses, ; 

d'altesses, d' duchesses ! Si 
e"taient du meme tonneau qu'moi, a 
irait tout seul (SABDOTJ ET MOREATT, 
Madame Sans-G&ne). 

34. Coup de Vetrier e.g. JBoire le coup de 
retrier, To drink the stirrup-cup, to 
have a last drink before parting com- 

This alludes to the old custom of the landlord 
of an inn or the master of a house offering a 
glass of wine to the traveller about to mount 
his horse before setting off (dtner = lit 

Apres avoir bu le coup de Vetrier, 
tous deux enfourcherent leur bidet 
(A. THEURIET, La Chanoinesse). 

35. Coup de filet, Haul, raid e.g. La 
police d'un coup de filet a pris toute la 
bande, The police captured the whole 
gang in a single haul. 

Lit. 'cast of the net*. 

*3G. Coup defion e.g. Donner le (un) coup 
de fion (a), To give the (a) finishing 
touch to, to touch up, to polish off, 
Se donner un coup defion, To get one- 
self tidy, ship-shape. 
The word fton, which is merely a variant of 
the imitative word flon representing the sound 
made by tho blow of a stick on the body, 
dates trom the end of the eighteenth 
century, and originates in a vei y complicated 
game of leap-frog, in which it denoted the 
cry of the players as they struck their play- 
mates or the blow given, to the. latter and 
ending or modifying the game (SAINI&AN, 
Langage parisien, pp. 81-4). 

37. Coup de foudre, Love at first sight. 
Lit. 'thunderbolt*. 

Et vous tes tombcs amoureux 
1'un de 1'autre, comme cela, tout de 
suite . . . le coup de foudre ? (A. 
THWRIET, Boisfleury). 

38. Coup de grdce e.g. Donner (Recevoir) 
le coup de grdce, To give (receive) the 
finishing stroke, the death-blow. 

39. Coup de Jarnac, Treacherous blow, 
disloyal (underhand) attack, blow be- 
low the belt. 

Alludes to a famous duel in 1547 in which 
Guy Chabot, seigneur de Jarnac, mortally 
wounded his opponent Francois de Vivonne, 
comte de la Cbltaigneraie, by an unexpected 
and unfair stroke. 

*40. Coup du lapin e.g. Faire le coup du 
lapin, To murder, (fig.) to give the 
finishing blow. 

Properly to kill with a blow on the nape, 
as one does a rabbit. 

La fermeture des joux publics, la 
disparition du Trente-et-Quarante 
dans les villes d'eaux ont donne" le 
coup du lapin a cette race antique 
des croupiers (Le Figaro, 1884). 




41. Coup de main e.g. Donner un coup de 
main a quelqu'un, To give some one a 
(helping) hand, a lift. 

Note that faire un coup de main means * to 
make a sudden, bold stroke '. 

42. Coup de marteau e.g. Avoir un coup 
de marteau., To be somewhat insane, to 
be (a little) cracked, queer, touched. 

43. Coup depatte, e.g. Chacun me donnait 
(or langait) son coup de patte, Every 
one made sarcastic (or unpleasant) re- 
marks at my expense, Every one had 
a fling at me. 

Lit, " claw with a paw *. 
*44, Coup du pere Francois, e.g. Faire le 
coup du pere Francois, To murder (by 
strangulation) s to garrotte. 
Among thieves this operation consists in 
securing a strap or muffler round the victim's 
neck and lifting him half-strangled on to the 
shoulders, while an accomplice rifles his 

Maximilien etrangla comme si un 

invisible apache lui etit fait a Tim- 

proviste le coup du pere Francois (A. 

HEBMANT, Cadet de Coutras). 

45. Coup de pouce e.g. Donner le coup de 

pouce, (a) To give the finishing touch 

(e.g. a un tableau) ; (b) To give short 

weight, to defraud e.g. Donner le 

coup de pouce a des comptes, To cook 

accounts ; (c) To strangle ; (d) To 

use one's influence on behalf of a 

person e.g. On lui a donne un coup 

de pouce- He has been given a lift, He 

has been * pushed '. 

*46. Coup de sir op e.g. Avoir un coup de 
sirop, To be drunk. 

Eh bien ! mais H me semble que la 
nouvelle connaissance a un petit 
coup de sirop . . . comme on dit 
vulgairement (GYP, Les^ Froussards). 

47. Coup de soleil e.g. Avoir un coup de 
soleil, (a) To blush suddenly (cp. 
piquer un soleil) ; (b) To be drunk, the 
worse for liquor. In the latter case, 
avoir son coup de soleil and se donner un 
coup de soleil are also used. 

Lit. * sun-stroke '. 

48. Coup de tete e.g. Faire un coup de 
t&te, To commit a rash, thoughtless 
deed, a desperate, ill-considered or in- 
considerate act, to do something rash 
or extravagant, to act on a sudden 
impulse (in a moment of passion, a 
freak of humour). 

Not to be confused with faire un coup de sa 
Ute, ' to do something without taking advice, 
off one's own bat*. 

Avec une imagination pareille on 

est capable des coups de t$te les plus 
extravagants (F. DE CTTREL, La, 
Danse devant le Miroir). 

49. Coup de theatre, An unexpected, 
startling (sensational) event (turn, 

Properly an unexpected turn in a play, by 
which the author suddenly changes the 
whole dramatic situation. 

Son entree ne produisit pas le coup 

de theatre qu'elle en attendait (T. 

GAUTIER, Militona). 

50. Coup de vent e.g. Avoir les cheveux 
(or $tre coiffe) en coup de vent, To have 
one's hair in disorder. Entrer en coup 
de vent, To come in like a whirlwind. 
Lit. ' gust of wind *. 

Je revis plusieurs fois le Docteur, 
mais en coup de vent (R. BOYLESVE, 
Souvenirs du Jar din detruit). 
*5L Coup de trafalgar, Disturbance, tu- 
mult, catastrophe, ructions. 
By allusion to the naval defeat of Trafalgar, 

coupe, n.f. 1. Outward appearance of a 
person e.g. II a la coupe! (ironical) 
Doesn't he look a guy ! II a une sale 
coupe, I don't like the cut of his jib ! 
Avoir la bonne coupe pour . . ., To be 
cut out for . . . 
Lit. *the cut' (e.g. of a coat). 

2. Eire (or Tomber) sous la coupe de 

quelqu'un, To be under a person's 
thumb e.g. Si jamais il tombe sous 
ma coupe . . ., If I ever lay my hand 
on him . . . 

A metaphor borrowed from the game of 
cards ; to be the first to play after one's 
opponent has cut the cards, which is con- 
sidered to be a disadvantage. 

II sortit des mains des femmes et 
retotnba sous la coupe d'un petit abbe 
doucereux (E. ABOUT, Le Turco). 

3. Faire sauter la coupe, A card- sharper's 
trick, * slipping '. 

Coupe is lit. the ' cutting of the cards * before 
shuffling ; the trick consists in restoring the 
cards to the order they were in before they 
were cut. 

4. II y a loin de la coupe aux levres, There 

is many a slip 'twixt the cup and the 


Coupe here = ' cup % * goblet *. 

5. Tirer sa coupe or Faire la coupe or 

Nager a la coupe, To swim hand over 

couper. 1. vb. intr. (a) Couper dans 
quelque chose, To believe something, 
to be taken in by something e.g. II 
coupe dans tout ce gu'on lui raconte, He 
swallows all he is told Je n'y coupe 




pas, I don't believe what you. say, 1 
don't take that in. 
Elliptical for eouper dans le pont ; see pent. 
Ne t' imagine pas, par exemple, 
que je coupe dans ton histoire (J. 
BICHEPIN, Gontes sans Morale). 

C'est pas possible qu'un type 

comme Horty coupe dans ces balan- 

coires-l& (GYP, Oeux qui s'enf . . .). 

(6) Couper a quelque chose, (Military) 

To avoid skilfully fatigue duty or 

any work in the barracks ; (generally) 

To manage to avoid something e.g. 

Couper a une corvee, To dodge a 

fatigue duty. Si vous &es pince, vous 

n'y couperez pas de huit jours, If you 

are caught, you're in for eight days' 

C.B. Je vais y eouper, I am going to 

get out of that, I am not going to do 

it. Tu n*y couperas pas J You won't 

get out of it ! You're in for it I 

Des le lendemain, dans toutes les 
batteries, par ordre du colonel, une 
revue minutieuse fut passee, a, 
laquelle pas un sous-officier ne put 
eouper (0, M^TiNiER, La Groix). 

II n'avait pas une chance sur 
mille d'/ eouper, et il se suicidait 
pour ne pas encaisser une injustice 
(F. BE CTJEEL, La Viveuse et le Mori- 

2. vb. tr. (a) To dilute a liquid with 
another e.g. du vin coupe avec de Feau, 
wine diluted with water. Hence Cou- 
per du vin, To add water to wine. 

(b) Couper quelqu'un or Couper la parole 
a quelqtfun, To interrupt a person, cut 
a person short. 

J'ai fait quelque chose pour elle. 
Quoi ? Laisse-moi raconter. Tu 
me coupes tout le temps (H. LAVE- 
DAN, Leur Cozur). 

Fieirotte crut que F Emotion et la 
joie m*avaient coupe la parole (A. 
DATJDET, Le petit Gkose). 
See (liable 12 (Hirsch). 
*(c) Qa te (or vous) la coupe/ That's a 
stumper for you ! You can't answer 
that ! That takes your breath away ! 
Elliptical for Qa te coupe la chigue! See 
ehique2; also sifflet, 

Je suis h'cencie en droit ! , . . 
Hein ? Qa te la coupe / . . . Tu 
ne croyais pas avoir un filleul aussi 
caU que ga ! (Gyp, Mamari). 

3. Se eouper, To contradict oneself, to 
give oneself away e.g. Se eouper dans 

ses reponses, To contradict oneself in 
one's answers. Le menteur se coupe 
sans cesse, A liar continually contra- 
dicts himself. 

Ce soir je te donnerai tous les 
details. Maintenant, ne te coupe pas 
quand elle va arriver (H. BATAILLE, 
Le JScandale). 

eour, n.f. 1. C'est la cour du rol Petauti, 
This is bedlam let loose. 
Variant : C'est une vraie p&audi&re, * It is a 
regular bear-garden '. This is said of a house 
in which, confusion reigns, in which every 
one is master or where everybody wants to 
speak at the same time. Various explanations 
have been offered of the origin of the saying. 
Littr6 mentions the one given by Leronx, 
Dictionnaire comique, to the effect that U ro^ 
P&aud (from the Lat. p&to, 'I ask*) was the 
chief whom professional beggars used to elect 
among themselves ; as he had no more 
authority than his subjects, the name came 
to have the above signification. Littr6 notes 
that Scheler's explanation is similar, for 
Scheler sees in p&aud a builosque term for 
the Latin pet&re, ' to ask ', * to beg '. Littr6 
suggests that v&aitd may be synonymous with 
p&ewr (a popular coarse word for a man with- 
out eneigy or will power, a coward whom 
no one holds in respect ; thus la cour du roi 
Pdtaud is a place where every one docs as he 
likes because the king has no authority) . The 
D.G. sees m the word a "nom propre de 
fantaisie, de*riv& plaisammcnt de pdter". 
Sainean (La Langue d& JRabelais, I, pp. 285-8) 
rejects all these explanations, as also that 
of Livet, Lexique de Holier , who, because 
Cotgrave gives ' lackey ' as one of the 
equivalents of pdtaud> explains the phiase 
as follows : " C'est la cour des laquais ou 
chacun, en qualitfi de roi Pdtaud, cst l'6gal 
des autxes et veut 8tre le maitre." Sato^an 
thinks that the roi P&taud is no other than 
the Roitelet (' wren *}, the Regulus cristatus 
of Cuvier, nicknamed in patois : Jloi pfaaud, 
i.e. $6teur, on account of its diminutive size. 
For the same reason it is called rei petaret, 
i.e. roi petit pet, in the IForez. He adds : " Son 
extreme petit esse et son appellation legend- 
aire de * roi * on * roitelet *, appellation 
motivee par une sorte de huppc jauno d'or 
qu'il portc sur les c6t6s de la tte, explique le 
trait de la malice popuiaire, qui voit dans la 
cour de ce roi minuscule un lieu de de"sordre 
et de confusion, ou tout le monde est 
*2. N'en jetez plus, la cour est pleine : see 

jeter 2. 

courage, n.m. Prendre son courage a deux 
mains, To pluck up one's courage. 

A 1'heure du dejeuner, elle prit, 
comme on dit vulgairement, son 
courage d deux mains et affronta le 
jeune Anglais (A. HEBMANT, Le 
joyeux Gar con). 

courant* n.m. $tre au courant de . . ., 
To b well up (posted) in, to be aware 
of, to know all about. 


See eoule (Richepin), dessous 2 

*eourante, n.f. Diarrhoea. 
coureur, n.m. Person of loose life, a gad- 
about, knock-about. Un eoureur de 
. . ., An habitual frequenter of . . . 
e.g. un eoureur de cafes, de mauvais 
lieux, defilles, etc. 

Les Boche s'apitoyaient sur le 
sort de ce pauvre monsieur, un 
homme si respectable, qui se toquait 
(' who had fallen in love ') cTune 
petite coureuse (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
eourir. 1. vb. intr. (a} To lead a fast 

life, to gad about. 

(6) Oourir sur . . ., (of age) To be going 
(getting) on for . . . Cp. aller 2. 

Ce jeune homme, qui court sur ses 
vingt-trois ans, est reserve a des 
destinees presquc royales (E. ABOUT, 
Les cinq Perles). 

*2. Courir quelqu'un, To bore a person, to 
get on a person's nerves e.g. As4u 
bientdt fini de me courir? I do wish 
you'd leave me alone. 
An abbreviated form of courir sur le eiboulot 
(or sur 1'harleot or sur le systeme) a quelqu'un. 
II nous court , le cuistot (' cook '). 
La viande n'est pas plus a lui qu'a 
nous (R. DOKGELES, Les Oroix de 

*3. Tu peux toujours courir ! Stock 
ironical mocking phrase implying : 
You think you'll get it but you won't ' 
Don't you wish you may get it ! 
eourrler, n.m. Correspondence, post, let- 
ters e.g. Faire (or jfficrire) son cour- 
rier, To write one's letters. Depouil- 
ler (or Lire) son courrier, To open or 
read one's letters. Courrier par cour- 
rier, By return of post. See retonr 2. 
court, adj. and adv. 1. JStre (or &e 
trouver) a court (d* argent), To be short 
of money. 

Je n'ai besoin de rien, je te jure. 
Si fetais a court, je te le dirais la 
premiere, avec simplicite (V. MAR- 
GTTERITTE, Le Oompagnon). 

2. Prendre (par) leplus court, To take the 

shortest way, a short cut. 

Elliptical for le chemin le plus court. Variant : 

Couper par le plus court. 

3, Oourte et bonne e.g. Vie de cochon, 
courte et bonne or Faire (or La faire) 
courte et bonne, To have a short life and 
a gay one. 

* Courte et bonne' is said to have been the 
reply made bybtie Duchesse de Berry (1778- 

119 couture 

1820) when she was one day reproached with 
shortening her life through her excesses. 
4. Tout court, Without adding anything 
else, simply, only, merely e.g. Un non 
tout court, Simply no. Appelez-moi 
Jean tout court, Call me simply (or just) 
Jean (i.e. without Monsieur or sur- 

couru, adj. 1. Popular, sought after, 
in great demand (request) e.g. Oet 
orateur est tres couru, That speaker is 
in great demand. Cette piece n'est pas 
tres courue, That play is not very 

2. C*est couru ! It's a dead cert., a cer- 
tainty, a cinch ! It's well known. 
Said of anything of which the result is certain ; 
lit. ' the race is already run '. 

II saute mal . . . il saute pour 
prendre la tape ('come a cropper'), 
et il la prendra . . . C'est couru ! 
(GYP, La Ginguette). 

couteau, n.m. Eire a couteaux tires (avec 
quelqu'un), To be at daggers drawn 
(with a person). 

a t'est facile de faire le bon 
apdtre, tu n'es pas a couteaux tires 
avec le marquis, toi 1 (AuaiEB ET 
SANBEATT, Le Oendre de Monsieur 

couter, vb. intr. 1. Coute que coute, Cost 
what it may (lit. and fig.). 
A remnant of que used absolutely as a neuter 

2. Tout lui coute, Everything is an effort 
for him. Rien ne lui coute, He minds 
no pains (or expense), Nothing is an 
effort to him. 

3. II lui en coute de . . ., It is with re- 
luctance that he ... 

II en coutait a Charles <f abandon- 

ner Tostes apres quatre ans de s&jour 

(FLATTBEET, Madame Bovary). 

couture, n.f. Battre (Btre battu) a plate 

couture, To beat (To be beaten) hollow, 

to defeat completely, to knock spots 

off (or out of), to wipe the floor with. 

Lit. to beat one so hard as to flatten the 

coutures, ' seams % of his coat. Rabattre les 

coutures or Battre & plate couture is said of a 

tailor who presses or flattens out the seams of 

a garment with a heavy pressing-iron. 

Le sieur de Veragues etait en train 
d'erpliquer son plan de campagne, 
qui consistait a attirer sur le point 
ou ils etaient a cette heure les quel- 
ques forces de la province pour les 
battre a plate couture (M. MAINDBOK, 
Ce bon Monsieur de Ver agues) 




convert, n.w. Mettre le convert, To lay 
the table (for a meal). Mettre un 
convert pour quelqu'un, To lay the 
table for some one, to put a knife and 
fork for some one. 

In the Middle Ages, at the table of kings and 
princes, all the dishes and plates had a cover 
or lid. 

couverture, n.f. Tirer la couverture a soi, 
To take the best part of a thing for 
oneself, to take more than one's 

Lit. ' to draw the blanket to oneself '. Cp. 
im mauvais coueheur. 

Elle ne voyait en lui qu'un grin- 

cheux, un vaniteux, et on outre un 

mauvais camarade qui, comme on 

dit, tirait a, lui toute la couverture (J. 

RIOHEPIK, Braves Gens}. 

erac ! interj. Pop 1 Crack ! e.g. Crac ' 

le voila parti ! He was off like a 

shot, in a second, in the twinkling of 

an eye, before one could say Jack 


craehat, n.m. Se noyer dans un (or son) 
cracliat, is said of one who is perplexed 
by the slightest difficulty or obstacle, 
who makes a mountain out of a mole- 

Lit. ' to get drowned in (one's) spittle '. To 
avoid craehat, terms like un mrre d'eau (* glass 
of water') or un d$ d coudre (' thimble ') are 
sometimes used. 

cradle", adj. Just like e.g. C'est son pere 
tout crach6, He is the very likeness 
(picture, image, spit) of his father. 
C'cst lui tout crache, It's the dead spit 
of him. C'est son portrait tout crache, 
It is his picture to a T. 
From cracker, 'to spit". 

Jacqueline, c'ost moi a dix-neuf 
ans . . . Moi, toute crachee (H. 
BERNSTEIN, Le Detour). 

Je crois que je suis bien leur fils 
tout de meme. Je leur ressemblo 
trop. J'ai les yeux et le nez de ma 
mere. " C'est son pere tout crache/ " 
disent les cousins et les clients les 
plus familiers (B. CREMIETJX, Le 
premier de la Classe). 
cracher, 1. vb. intr. and tr. To pay (re- 
luctantly), to fork out, cough up, 
stump up e.g. Faire cracher de 
Vargent a quelgu'un, To screw money 
out of a person. 

An abbreviated form of cracher au tassin(et). 

C'est en pensant au pif qu'allait 

faire la Youpine ( c the face that the 

Jewess would pull') en yoyant 

qu'madame r'fuse d'cracher les 
quinze balles (GYP, Les Froussards). 

See boniment (Mirbeau). 
2. Cracher sur quclqwe chose, To sneeze at, 
turn one's noso up at a thing e.g. 
Ce n'est pas a cracker dessus, It is not 
to bo sneezed at. Can also be used of 

Si j'ai fait des sottises dans ma vie 
et j'en ai fait quelques-unes ! 
c'est chaque fois pour avoir crache 
sur 1'argent (H. LAVEDAN, Noc- 

crachoir, n.m. Tenir le crachoir, To talk 
(before company), to hold forth, hold 
the floor e.g. C'est toujours lui gu,i 
tient le crachoir or II ticnt le crachoir 
tout le temps , Nobody can get a word 
in edgeways with him. 
Lit. ' to hold the spittoon ". 

M. de Villenes s'y montra a la fois 
homme du monde et homme d' esprit, 
excellant dans 1'art difficile de tenir 
le crachoir tout ensemble avec brio et 
discretion (G. COUETELINE, M addon,, 
M argot et Cie). 

*crais ! crais ! interj. = acrais ! 
crampon. 1. n.m. Tenaciously importu- 
nate person, a person not easily got 
rid of, ' fixture '. 
Lit. ' cramp-iron % * grappling-iron *. 

Le docteur m^dite de se debar- 
rasser de son vieux crampon pour 
epouser une jeunesse (DATTDET, Le 
2. adj. = collant. 

See prix 2 (France). 
cramponnant, adj. = crampon 2. 
cramponner, vb. tr. To force one's com- 
pany on a person, to bore, buttonhole. 
This is a transitive use of se cramponner d 
guelqu'un, which has the same value. 

Comment ? Tu ne sais pas que 
quand un monsieur vous cramponne 
avec dcs histoires barbantes, on dit 
qu'il " vous vend son piano " ? (P. 
VBBEE, Les Rentrees). 
*cram(p)ser, vb. intr. elamecer. 
cran, n.m. 1. Pluck, courage, dash, 
' P e PP er ' e -^- Avoir du cran 9 To be 
plucky, to have backbone, guts, plenty 
of go. 

Le petit a du cran, affirmait-il ; 
vous verrez qu'il lie flanchera 
( c flinch ') pas. II en a vu d'autres 
. . . (R. DORGEL^IS, Partir). 
Ah ! si je trouvais soulement un 
qui exit assez de cran ]3o 


tenter la chance ! (L. FABBE, 


*2. Military punishment e.g. Attraper 
huit jours de cran, To get eight days' 

3. Eire a cran or Avoir son cran, To be 
angry, in a very bad temper, to have 
one's monkey up. Mettre quelqu'un a 
cran, To rouse a person's temper. 
Probably by allusion to a fire-arm, which is 
said to be a cran when it is ready to go off ; 
hence the idea of ' anger % * vexation '. 

Un beau jour, a bout de patience, & 

cran., comme on dit, je lui ai crie : 

" Fais ce que tu voudras ! " (GYP, 

CeuM qui s'en /...). 
Maintenant . , . file ... en 

douceur (* Hop it, quietly ') . . . 

si tu ne veux pas me mettre a cran ' 

(C. H. HIRSOH, "Petit" Louis, 

4. Faire un cran, To make a note of some- 

Lit, ' to make a notch ' ; an allusion to the old 
custom among bakers of reckoning the number 
of loaves furnished by cutting notches on a 
piece of wood or tally. 

5. Ne pas Idcher quelgu^un d'un cran, Not 

to leave a person's side, to follow a 

person everywhere, to dog a person's 


Ldcher un cran = lit. 'to loosen a belt by one 

hole '. 

Vous savez bien . . . cette petite 
sauvage qu.e votre grand-pere a re- 
cueillie et qui ne vous Idche pas d'un 
cran ! (GYP, Miche). 

er^ne, 1. n.m. Bourrer le crane a quel- 
qu'un, To tell a person lies, to hoax, to 
deceive by stuffing a person with false 
stories e.g. Les journaux nous bourrent 
le crdne, The papers are * kidding ' us. 
Lit. 'to stuff one's cranium*. A variant is 
bourrer le mou or bourrer la caisse. 

Difficile, vous savez, en ce 

moment, de trouver une scene ! 

Tres complique. Avez-vous des 

promesses ? On ne m'a rien promis, 

dit Beauceron. Personne ne vous a 

excusez la brutalite" de 1'expres- 

sion bourre le crdne ? (J. PBLLEEIIN", 

La Dame de leitrs Pensees). 

2. adj. Swanky, sidey, proud; fine, 


Probably by allusion to the old expression 
mettre son chapeau en crdne, ' to cock one's 

II aUait, passait devant les cafes 
d'un air crdne et gaillard (MATTPAS- 
SANT.< Bel-Ami], 

121 erapulos 

H fait rudement bon tout de mmel 
Ah oui, une crdne soiree ! (J. 
REGARD, Les Oloportes). 
See carrosse (Coppee). 
cr^nement, adv. Proucfiy, swaggeringly ; 
smartly, pluckily -e.g. Je suis crdne- 
ment content, I'm superlatively happy, 
eriner, vb. intr. To be proud, vain, to 
swagger, put on side, boast (of things 
one cannot do), come it (strong), to be 
impudent, threatening e.g. Ne crdne 
pas tant, hein ? None (or Less) of your 
cheek, do you hear ? 

Inutile de crdner et de vouloir par- 
aitre plus fort que je ne suis (M. 
HENirajQirrisr, LaSonnetted'Alarme). 
Ne me plains pas. . . . Regarde, 
je ne fais pas trop grise mine. . . . 
Et, je t' assure, je ne pose pas, je ne 
crdne pas (0. DBEBNNBS, La Guen- 
See foouffer 1 (Zola), cattle (Bar- 

crinerie, n.f. Swank, swagger, bluster; 

smartness, pluck, daring. 
crtneur, n.m. and adj . Swaggerer, swank; 

swanky, sidey e.g. Faire le crdneur, 

To swagger and bluster, to put on side. 
erapaud, n.m. 1. Child, kid, brat. 

Lit. ' toad '. 
2. Avaler un crapaud, To have to do a 

very disagreeable thing. Cp. cou- 


Lit. 'to swallow a toad*. 
*crapouillot, n.m. *1. Trench-mortar. 
*2. Trench-mortar shell. 

Diminutive of crapaud, 'toad'. A War- 
time word (cp. the fifteenth-century instru- 
ment crapaudeau) alluding to the relative 
smallness of the weapon rather than to its 
flat shape ; cp. the provincial crapouillpt, 
" urchin % * kid *. and its synonym crapoitssin, 
'little person', * shrimp * (SAlN&Air, L' Argot 
des Tranches, p. 142). 

erapule. 1. n.f. Low-minded, nasty per- 
son e.g. C'est une erapule, He's a bad 
egg, a bad lot, a rotter. 
Lit. 'low debauchery*. 

See andouille (Allais), fait (B) 1 

2. adj. Nasty, underhand e.g. un coup 
crapule, a mean (dirty, treacherous) 
*crapulos, n.m. Cheap cigar. 

A fantastic name, suggested by erapule, for 
the cheapest French cigar. A variant is 

Tout en fumant un erapulos, il 
feignait d'ecouter Pauline (J. H, 
ROSNT, Dans les Eues], 




craque, n.f. Mb e.g. Conter une craque, 
To tell a bung. Conter des craques, 
To tell fibs. Une fameuse craque, A 

Je vous racontais quej'avaisbute, 
dans le pare, centre une racine . . . 
ou n'importe quelle autre craque du 
mime tonneau (' of the same brand ') 
(G-YP, La Ginguette). 

erasse, n.f. Mean, low-down, dirty action 
e.g. Faire une crasse a quelqu'un, To 
play some one a dirty trick. 
Lit. ' dirt % ' filth '. 

Faire une crasse a une amie, g&, 
jamais ! (H. BATAILLE, Poliche). 
*ere*clleu I interj. saereWeu ! 
See turne (Bataille). 

ertaaillere, n.f. Pendre la cremaillere, 
To give a house-warming (party). 
Lit. 'to hang the pot-hook % from which 
cooking-pots used to hang in the fireplace. 
In the old days when people settled in a new 
house, they first hung the orrfmaillere to 
prepare a meal to celebrate the occasion. 

Pillerault avait loue, de concert 
avec les Bagon, une petite maison 
de campagne a Sceaux, et 1'ancien 
quineailLier voulut y pendre joyeuse- 
ment la cremaillere (BALZAC, Cesar 

II pendit avec grand apparat la 
cremaillere en dormant un repas 
auquel furent conviees toutes les 
notabilit^s de 1'endroit (V. CHEE- 
BUUEZ, VI dee de Jean Teterol). 
ere"merie,%./. 1. Dairy-restaurant (which 
often sells other kinds of food besides 
eggs, cream, millr, etc.). 
2. Changer de cremerie, To go to another 
place, to go elsewhere (without any 
reference to the proper meaning of the 

Un jour, elle fut sur le chemin 
d'une verlte banale et proposa a 
Cheri la compagnie d'une ou deux 
amies du bon temps, par exemple 
Le"a. . . . II ne sourcilla point: 
Personne. Ou bien je me cherche 
une autre crem&rie (' Otherwise you 
won't see me here again ') (COLETTE, 
La Fin de Cheri). 
*erenom ! or ere* nom de Dieu ! = Saere" 

nom de Dieu ! See nom 2. 
crpage, n.m. Un crgpage de chignon, A 
fight between women, 
See chignon. 
crper, se. To quarrel, fight. 

Abbreviated form of se erlper le chignon. 
Vous savez que vous n'^tes pas 

amusants, tous les deux, a vous 
creper du matin au soir (H. LAVE- 
DAIT, Le nouveau Jeu). 
*eresson, n.m. Ne pas avoir (or N'avoir 
plus) de wesson sur la fontaine (or le 
caillou), To be bald, to have a bladder 
of lard. 
Lit. 'cress'. 

ereusant, adj. Difficult, puzzling, brain- 
See ereuser 2. 

creuser. 1. vb. intr. To give an appetite 
e.g. Qa creuse de marcher comme $a, 
Walking like that makes you feel 
Lit. 'to make hollow'. 

Aurez-vous bon appetit ? L'air 
de montagne creuse (H. BORDEAUX, 
La Neige sur les Pas). 
2. Se creuser or Se creuser la tte (le cerveau, 
P esprit), To think hard, to rack (cud- 
gel) one's brains. 

II se creusait la tete pour savoir 
ou ils pourraient se rencontrer sans 
peril (MAUPASSANT, La Chambre 11). 
ereux, n.m. 1. Avoir un bon creux, To 
have a strong, deep (bass) voice. 
See requinquer 2 (B) (Zola). 
2, Se sentir un creux dans Vestomac, To 
feel hungry, to have an empty feeling. 
*creva!scm, n.f. *L Death e.g. Faire sa 
crevaison, To peg out. 
Lit. ' death of an animal ' ; see erever 1. 
*2. Very hard work, Inning work e.g. 
C'est une crevaison de travailler comme 
ca / It takes it out of you to work like 

erevant, adj. 1. Very tiring, boring (to 
This meaning is rarer than that trader 2. 

Non ! ce qu*il est rasant (* how 

boring he is '). On n'a pas ide"e de 

9a ! C'est rien de le dire ; il est 

erevant (J. AICABD, Fleur tfAbime). 

2. Very amusing, very comical, killingly 

funny e.g. Une histoire crevante, A 

"killing story, a screamer. 

Non, non ! c'est crevant, c'est 

tonkinois, c'est de la joie en baton ! 

(H. LAVEDAN, Le nouveau Jeu). 

*creve, n.f. Ilhaess, bad health e.g. 

Avoir la crdve, To be seriously ifl. 

CPest la creve ici.t or On attrape la creve 

id ! or II y a de quoi attraper la cr&ve ! 

Stock phrases to imply that a place is 

bad in any way (e.g. too hot, too cold, 

lacking in food, etc.), We are starved 



to death ! I'm sure to catch my death 
here ! etc. 

Mais on gele, ici ! . . . On attrape 
la creve 1 (COLETTE WILLY, La, 

creve, n.m. Un petit creve, A dandy, fop. 
Probably by allusion to crevt with the special 
meaning of 'opening' or 'slash' in sleeve or 
bodices, etc., revealing an insertion of stuff of 
different texture and colour. 
crever. 1. vb. Mr. To die, peg out. 

Lit. 'to die', of animals. 
2. vb. tr. *(a) Grever quelqu'un, To kill a 
person, to do a person in. 
By analogy with crever un cheval, 'to work 
a horse to death'. 

Mais je le creverais, ton monsieur, 
si je voulais m'en donner la peine 
(J. K. HTTYSMANS, Les Soeurs 

*(b) La crever, To be very hungry, to be 
starved to death e.g. Donne-nous 
quelque chose a bouffer, on la creve ! 
Give us some grub, we're absolutely 
famished ! 

cri, n.m. 1. Dernier cri, Latest fashion 
(novelty, craze) e.g. West le dernier 
cri, It's the latest thing out. Une 
jeunefille dernier cri, An advanced, up- 
to-date girl. 

C'est un chapeau dernier cri, 
choisi par une femme qui s*y 
connait (J. LEVY, La Fortune du 

2. Jeter (or Pousser) les hauts en's, To 
show that one is astonished or scan- 
dalized, to complain (protest) loudly, 
to raise an outcry, to be highly shocked, 
to express one's indignation. 
Lit. ' to scream at the top of one's voice '. 

Quand feus touc/ie quelques mots 
de mon desir de suivre une vocation 
Ktteraire, ma famille jeta les haute 
cris (A. THEITEIET, Annees de Prin- 

3. Pousser des cris de paon (pa), To scream 
discordantly in protest. 

Lit. ' to scream like a peacock '. 

4. Un cri du co3ur, A heartfelt cry. 

*erie, n.m. Brandy. 

Cric or crique is an old jargon term sur- 
viving in popular speech, especially among 
soldiers. A parallel form croc is common 
among sailors. Both come from the old 
exclamation eric-croc ! used when clinking 
glasses (SAJN&AN, Langage yarisien, p. 516). 

*cricri, n.m. Wizened little woman. Un 
cricri ravageur, A fussy little woman. 
Lit. ' cricket * ; probably in reference to the 
cricket's lean and parched appearance. 
When ravageur is added there is a further 

hint at the destruction wrought by crickets; 
hence the idea of ' bustling, fussy activity*. 
crin. 1. n.m. A tous crins, Thorough- 
going, thorough, energetic, violent 
e.g. Un anarchiste a tous crins, An out- 
and-out anarchist. 

By analogy with un cheval a tous crins, * a 
horse with flowing mane and tail '. 

Jacquemin, bourgeois liberal 
quand Solmou debutait socialiste a 
tous crins (V. MAEGUEEITTE, Le 

See lasear (About). 

2. adj. Etre crin or a crin, To be irrit- 
able, cranky. 

Lit. to be like * horse-hair ' ; cp. Appendix 
sub crin. 

Savez-vous pourquoi il est si crin, 
et pourquoi il a Idche notre bande ce 
soir ? Non. Eh bien, c'est parce 
que Mile G-u&aoso n'est pas venue 
(H, LAVED AK, Viveurs). 

See eau 9 (Bataille). 

erincrin, n.m. Poor violin, fiddle or other 
musical instrument. 
An imitative word. 

crise, n.f. Piguer une crise de nerfs. To 
have an attack of nerves, to become 

A l'entre"e de la princesse, Katynka 
lui tend les bras, Maritza s'y jette, et 
les deux femmes pleurent au cou 
1'une de 1'autre, cependant que 
Sxn.ualik& pique une crise de nerfs qui 
cree la plus heureuse diversion 
( WILLY, Jeucc de Princes). 
crispant, adj. Irritating, exasperating. 
From crisper, l to set the nerves on edge *. 

Je suis done tombe dans une villa 
ou il n'y avait que de jeunes menages. 
. . . Vous n'imaginez pas ce que 
c'^tait crispant \ (P. VEBEB, Les 

eristi ! inter j. Abbreviation of sacrist! ! 

crochet, n.m. 1. Eire (or Vivre) aux 
crochets de quelqu'un, To live at 
another's charge or expense, to be a 
hanger-on of another, to sponge on 
some one. 

By allusion to the crochets de commissionnaire 
porter's crochet, a kind of wooden frame 
curved at the bottom, which porters carry on 
their backs by means of braces. 

Est-ce qu'il ne vit pas un peu aux 
crochets de Mme de Rinck ? (H. 
BATAILLE, Poliche). 

2. Fair eun crochet, To change one's direc- 
tion suddenly, to turn suddenly out of 
one's way e.g. II a fait un crochet pour 




m'eviter, He suddenly turned out of Ms 
way in order to avoid me. 
eroire, vb. tr. I. Jete (vous) crois ! Yes, 
rather ; one of many popular formulas 
to express affirmation or acquiescence 
(cp. Je t'6eoute ! and Tu paries !). 

Tu as done encore quelque chose 
a apprendre ? Si f ai . . . ? Je, te 
crois ! I/orthographe ... la gram- 
maire . . . (H. LAVEDAW, Le vieux 

On a fait de bon travail ? Je 
vous crois ! (C. H. HIRSCH, ^ Petit " 
Louis f Boxeur). 

2. Crois-tu (Croyez-vous) que ... is fam- 
iliarly used in exclamations to express 
admiration and approval, or the con 
trary. The speaker, as it were, antici- 
pates the inevitable reply Je te crois / 
(see 1). 

Crois-tu gw'elle est jolie ! disait la 
mere, ravie devant cette person- 
nification vivante du pays de sa 
jeunesse (A. DAITDET, Numa Rou 

Je suis alle perdre mes economies, 
il y a une semaine, en Belgique, 
dans un coin de casino. Croyez- 
vous que c'est bete ! (P. VEBER, Les 

3. Crois-tu / (Croyez-vous /) is often ellip 

tically intercalated in exclamations to 
avoid a clause with Crois-tu que . . . 
(see 2). This is a fairly modern usage, 
and is especially common in remarks 
about the weather. 

"Une f ois a ma porte, pas de cle ! 
Qa, c'est drdle ! Et ton mari ? 
Au cercle ' Un vrai guignon \ (* bad 
luck '). Crois-tu ! Avec ca, pas de 
lumiere \ (G. COTJETELINB, Gros 

Croyez-vous, le vilain temps ! (H. 
BERNSTEIN, La Griffe), 

Allez, gargon ! . . . deux bocks 
. . . crois-tu, quelle chaleur ! (H. 
BATAILLE, La Femme nue). 

Quelle chaleur, hein ! Croyez- 
vous t On 6touffe (BRIEUX, Le 
Bourgeois aux Champs). 
4. S'en eroire e.g. II s*en croit beaucoup, 
He thinks a great deal of himself. 

Elle " s'en croit ", parce qu'elle est 

agregee et professeur de philo a 

Maintenon (G. REVAL, Lyceennes). 

eroix, n.f. 1. Avec la croix et la banniere 

e.g. Aller au-devant de quelqu'un avec 

la croix et la banniere. To receive a 
person with great fuss and ceremony. 
Il/aut aller le chercher avec la croix et la 
banniere or II faut la croix et la ban- 
niere pour le decider a venir, Great fuss 
and ceremony are needed to make him 

These expressions, often used ironically, refer 
to the old custom according to which the 
clergy and parishioners of a place used to go 
in procession to meet bishops or royalty or 
nobility, carrying the cross, the symbol of the 
Church, and the banner, a large square 
standard bearing the colours of the parish. 
*2. Avoir la croix de sa mere, (of a girl) To 

look innocent, ingenuous. 
croquemitaine, n.m. 1. Bogey-man (with 
which children are threatened). 
Lit. old toothless ogre which can only * eat ' 
(croquer) ' mittens * (mitmnes). As the bogey 
has lost his teeth, children are told he 
cannot devour them, but instead he whips 
them and locks them up in a dark cellar till 
they behave themselves. 

Remarquez bien que je ne suis pas 
iciunoncle Croquemitaine vousarra- 
chant vos secrets de jeune homme ! 
(J. EICHEPIN, Flamboche}. 
*2. Les croquemitaines, Soldiers sent to the 
punishment companies in Africa for 
having wilfully maimed themselves in 
order to escape military service. 
croque-mort, n.m. Undertaker's man, 

mute. Cp. corTbeau 2. 
*eroquenot, n.m. Shoe. 

This word, also spelt eroquenaud or eroque- 
neau, is imitative, and comes from croquer, a 
variant for eraquer, in the sense of ' to make 
a crunching noise ' (SAIN^IAN, Langage 
'pansien, p. 356). Or it may be a corruption 
of the diminutive coquenot (from coco, ' shoe ') 
under the influence of eraquer (id. Sources 
indigenes, I, p. 437). 

J' vas ( = Je vais) vous les astiquer 

( * polish ') en trois temps (' in a jiffy ' ), 

les p'tits croq'nots de vot' jeune fille 

(H. BAEBTTSSE, Le leu). 

croquer, vb. tr. Eire gentil (or joU) & 

croquer or J2tre a croguer, To be very 

pretty, as pretty as a picture e.g. Get 

enfant est gentil a croquer, He is a 

charming little fellow. Elle est gentille 

(jolie) a croquer or Elle est a croquer, 

She is as pretty as can be, as a picture, 

a pretty little thing. 

The value of croquer here is not, as one might 

think, that of * to eat * (cp. the English ' I 

could eat her 1 ' of a child), but of * to 

sketch * ; hence * pretty enough to prompt a 


Rose etait fraiche comme une 
aubepine, et jolie a croquer avec son 
teint clair de brune, son petit nez 




droit et ses yeux couleur de noisett 
(F. COPPEE, Bonheur manque). 
croupiere, n.f. Tailler des croupiers 
quetyu'un, To raise difficulties in a 
person's way, to cut out a person 3 
work for him. 
Lit. ' crupper *, a strap buckled to the back p 
the saddle and passing under the horse's tail 
to keep the saddle down ; hence the idea o 
impediment. Originally a military term 
taitter des croupi&res d I'ennemi, * to press tbj 
enemy closely'. 

croustiller, vb. intr. To eat, feed, grub. 
Lit. ' to munch croustilles % * bits of crusts ' 
Ce soir, tiens, fai croustilU commi 
un dieu, chez Joseph, un chic bistro 
(H. LAVEDAN, Le nouveau Jeu). 
erofite, n.f. 1. Bad, worthless picture 

An old picture blackened and cracked anc 
resembling a rough layer or * crust' o: 

Je pourrais, comme tant d'autres, 
m'instituer " artiste " et signer des 
croutes quelconques (L. BERTRAND, 
L 9 Invasion). 
2. Casser une (or la) croute. To eat a mor- 
sel, to have a snack e.g. J*ai casse une 
crotite, I just had a snack. 
Lit. *to break a crust*. 

Us buvaient un verre et cassaient 
une croute (A. FRANCE, V&tui de 

See ponce 4 (Maupassant), ver 3 


crouton, n.m. 1. Un vieux crouton, An 

old fogey, old crock. 

Lit. ' one encrusted in routine '. 

2. Painter devoid of talent, dauber. Cp. 

crofite 1. 

cm, n.m. De son (mon, votre, etc.) cru, 
Of one's own invention, creation, 
make-up e.g. Dire une chose de son 
cru 9 To say something that one has 
made up. 

Lit. ' of one's own growing ', as in du vin du 
cru, wine made of grapes grown in a certain 
district, local wine. 

Tu touckeras pour cela deux cents 
francs par mois de fixe, plus deux 
sous la ligne pour les echos interes- 
sants de ton cru (MAUPASSANT, "Bel- 

cruche, n.f. L Silly person, noodle, 
fathead e.g. CPest une waie cruche f 
He (She) is a perfect fool, a silly 
goose. Oessez done, vous le feriez 
devenir cruche, Stop it, you'll drive him 
silly (said to a person in order to make 
him stop tormenting somebody). 
Lit. ' pitcher ' ; cp. English ' mug '. 

2. Tant va la cruche & I'eau qifa la fin elle 
se casse, The pitcher that often goes to 
the well gets broken at last, You may 
do a thing once too often, Long threat- 
ened comes at last, There is an end to 

There is an equivalent proverb in German : 
Der Krug geht so lange zum Brunnen bis er 

Won, j'ai plus le courage que 
favais. Je suis fini. Tant va la 
cruche a Teau qv?a la fin elle se casse 
(A. FKANCB, Crainguebille). 
eueillir, vb. tr. 1. To get hold of, arrest, 
nab e.g. Se faire cueillir, To be 
caught, get nabbed. 

II buvait un punch au comptoir 
. . . lorsqu'un inconnu 1'attira de- 
hors ou Mm. de la /Surete ( 4 detec- 
tives ') le cueillirent (C. H. HIRSOH, 
Le Tigre et Goquelicot). 

C'est a ce moment-la qu'7 a ete 
cueilli, et par un simple shrapnell 
(COLETTE, La Fin de GMri). 
2. To call for, pick up. 

Veux-tu passer la cueillir a son 
hotel, et Temmener en sapin ( e cab ') 
jusqu'aux Quatre Pompes ? (C. 
FARRBRE, Dix-sept Histoires de 

K cuiller or euillere, n.f. Hand, flipper 
e.g. Serrer la cuiller a quelqu'un, To 
shake some one's nipper. Serre-moi la 
cuiller ! Tip us your fin (flipper) ! 
Lit. 'spoon*. The word has passed from 
military slang into popular speech. Cp. the 
old cant use of louche (lit. ' soup-ladle ') 
with the same meaning. 

On va etre des vrais poteaux 

(' chums '), nous deux, comme a 

1'ecole . . . veux-tu ? Bien sur! 

Serrons-nous la cuiller alors . . . 

chouettement ? Je demande pas 

mieux ('Nothing would give me 

greater pleasure') (C. H. HIRSOH, 

" Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 

euir, n.m. 1. Skin (of a person), hide, 

bacon e.g. Tanner (or Travaill&r) le 

cuir a quelqu'un, To give some one a 

good hiding, to tan one's hide for him. 

Cp. tannSe. 

2. Faire des cuirs, To make a wrong 
liaison in speaking, to make a slip. 
These f&lseliaisons are common in the speech 
of the uneducated classes and consist in 
carrying on the wrong letter, or one which 
does not form part of a word, to the next 
word e.g. J'&ai-t-ici (for J'&ais id), J'ai-z- 
6U (for J'ai &), II va-t-P^s (for II va d 
Pans), Ce n'est y>as-t-d inoi (for Ce n'est pas d 




moi), Toi~z-et moi (for Toi et moi}, etc. One 
of the commonest among the working classes 
Is Tu es-t-un (for Tu es un). A variant for 
the expression is faire un velours. Cp. also 

Mme Lefevre etait une de ces 
demi-paysannes a rubans . . qui 
parlent avec des cuirs (MATTPASSANT, 

(Tiie following is an example of a 
cuir ; an agent de police is speaking) 
Toute la journee, il se promene, il 
va-t-et vient avec un grand chapeau 
de paille (H. LAVEDAK, Nocturnes). 
cuire, vb. intr. II vous (lui, etc.) en cuira, 

You (He, etc.) will smart for it. 
cuisine, n.f. 1. Preparations accom- 
panied by jobbery, intrigue e.g. la 
cuisine electorate, electioneering. 
2. Cuisine bourgeoise, Plain cooking. 

The cooking one finds in a bourgeois home 
as opposed to that of a large house, 
restaurant or hotel. 

cuisiner, vb. tr. 1. To pump information 
e.g. cuisiner un accuse, to pump a 
prisoner (to question him. skilfully so 
as to make him confess). 

D'ailleurs si, veritablement, Lam- 
pier avait participe d'une fa9on 
quelconque au crime, des soup9ons 
se seraient portes sur lui. . . . On 
Vaurait cuisine. On Faurait fait 
parler (E. CARGO, UHomme traque). 

2. To cook accounts. 

3. Cuisiner une election, To gerrymander 

(i.e. to manipulate a constituency, etc. 
unfairly so as to secure disproportion- 
ate influence at election). Cp. cuisine 

cuisse, n.f. 1. Avoir la cuisse gaie, is 
said of a woman who is too fond of 
the men. Hence Une cuisse leg&re, A 
loose woman. 
Cuisse lit. ' thigh*. 

Us calotteront (' box the ears of ') 
le premier qui s'aviserait de dire que 
je suis une cuisse Ugere qu'on a tort 
de frequenter (H. LAVEDAN, Noc- 

2. >Se croire sorti de la cuisse de Jupiter, 
To think oneself of noble birth. Ne 
pas etre sorti de la cuisse de Jupiter, To 
be of low or common origin. 
In the Greek legend Dionysius (Bacchus) was 
said to have been born from the thigh (cuisse') 
of Zeus (Jupiter). 

Un pauvre petit gars qui n'est pas 
sorti de la cuisse de Jupiter, je vous 
prie de le croire ! a qui je paye le 
voyage du Midi (R. BOYLESVE, La 

Marchande de petits Pains pour les 
*euistanee, n.f. Cookery, cooking. 

Military War-time slang; from cuire, 'to 
cook '. The word seems to be a combination 
of euisine and beequetanee. 

Ah, bebe, nous rase pas (' don't 
bore us ') avec tes boniments ! On 
t'emmene a la campagne, et va 
t'f aire bouffer la cuistance a Gaspard 
(R. BENJAMDT, Gaspard). 
*cuisteau or cuistot, n.m. Cook. 

See euistance. Also written cuistau(d), and 
euisto (cp. invalo, camaro, m&ano, proprio, 
ffarno, etc.). 

Derriere les pans de mur, des 
cuistots accroupis essayaient de faire 
du feu (R. BoEGELiis, Les Croix de 

See courir 2 (Dorgeles), flotte 1 

euit, adj. 1. Lost, ruined, done for (of 
persons) e.g. Je suis cuit, It's all up 
with me, I'm done for, I'm a goner. 
Lit. "cooked*. Cp. flamb. 

Tu sais que si tu le rates, nous 
sommes tous " cuits " ! (G-. LEEOTJX, 
Le CMteau noir). 
*2. Drunk, tight. 

Plouvic ne buvait pas le cham- 
pagne qu'il commandait . . . mais 
le faisait boire aux femmes. La 
premiere qui sera " cuite ", cinq 
louis ! (B. LEOAOHE, Jacob). 
euite, n.f. Avoir (Prendre, Se donner, Se 
flanquer) la (or une) cuite, To be (get) 
drunk, ' screwed '. 

Lit. ' a baking in an oven or kiln ' ; by allusion 
to the quantity of drink heating the drunk- 
ard's inside. 

Le zingueur se retint a 1'etahli pour 
ne pas tomber. C' etait la premiere 
fois qu'il prenait une pareille cuite 
(ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
*euiter. *1. vb. tr. To make drunk. 
*2. Se cuiter, To get drunk, to be a boozer. 
euivre, n.m. 1. Nous tfavons pas fait les 
cuivres ensemble == Nous n'avons pas 
garde les cochons ensemble ; see cocnon 

Lit. 'we did not clean the copper (pans) 

Mais ne vous balancez done pas 
tout le temps comme $a ! Q a 
m'agace ! Vbus ne pourriez pas me 
parler sur un autre ton ? Nous 
n'avons pas fait les cuivres ensemble, 
que je sache ! (BuiEirx, Le Bourgeois 
aux Champs). 
2. Travailler dans le cuivre, To earn one's 




living by playing a musical instrument 
made of brass. 
*eulfeutant, n.m. or cuibute, n.f. Trousers. 

Deformation of culotte, * breeches '. 

*eulot, n.m. Cheek, sauce, nerve e.g. 

Avoir du culot t To be cheeky, to have 

nerve. C'etait un certain culot de votre 

part, It was pretty cool of you. 

This seems to be an antiphrastic use of the 

word, since culot has as one of its meanings 

'youngest', * last-born* ; cp. also tre culot 

(at billiards), to have scored less than one's 

opponent (SATffiSiAV, Langageparisien, p 396). 

Cette philosophic etait fort simple, 

au reste ; mais elle avait ceci de 

rare, qu'il fallait un certain culot 

pour F arbor er (J. BICHEPUST, Contes 

sans Morale). 

culotte, n.f. *1. Drinking-bout e.g. 
Prendre (or Avoir) une culotte, To get 

Jamais le zingueur n.' etait revenu 
avec une telle culotte (ZoLA, UAssom- 

See cHeveu 2 (Zola). 

2. Heavy losses at cards e.g. Prendre (or 
JSmpoigner or Remporter) une (or la) 
culotte, To lose at cards, to be hard hit, 
to take a knock at cards. 

II a pris une fameuse culotte : 
plusieurs mois de sa solde ont du y 
passer (M. HARRY, La divine Chan- 

Jusqu'a une heure du matin, j'ai 
joue. J'ai remporte une culotte (H. 
BATAILLE, Le jScandale). 

See casser 2 (Lavedan). 
culotte", adj. 1. Coloured, seasoned (of a 
pipe or nose). See ciilotter 1. 

*2. Brazen, hardened, cheeky. 

Military slang ; from eulot. 
eulotter, 1. vb. tr. To colour, to season 
(a pipe, and, jokingly, one's nose, with 
drinking) e.g. Se culotter le nez. 
*2. Se culotter, To booze, to get tipsy. 
cure-dents, n.m. *1. Bayonet. 

Ironical military slang ; lit. ' toothpick '. 
2. Venir en cure-dents, To come to an 
evening-party without having been 
invited to the dinner that precedes it, 
or simply to come after the dinner. 
The meaning is that the person comes when 
the toothpicks are being used. A variant is 
venir en pastilles de Vichy. 

Les enveloppes contenaient des 
cartes gravees, mentionnant que 
Mme Durosoir serait chez elle tous 
les samedis soir a dix heures. 
Outre cette invitation en cure-dents, 
comme on dit, Maximilien etait prie 
a diner deux f ois, et Gosselline une 
seule fois (A. HEBMANT, Coutras, 

II ne tolerait surtout pas que je 
manquasse le dimanche, ou le diner 
etait de ceremonie ; et quand par 
hasard, ce jour-la, je lui objectais 
mes obKgations de famille, il 
exigeait que, du moins, je vinsse " en 
cure-dents ", comme on dit (A. HEB- 
MANT, Confessions d'un Romme 

*curleux, n.m. Examining magistrate. 
Lit. ' prying person ' ; an allusion to the fact 
that the judge poises his nose into other 
people's affairs. 

cyliBdre, n.m. Tall hat, top-hat, stove-pipe. 
Lit. 'cylinder". 

*Dache, proper name. Envoyer quelqu'mi a 
(or chez) Dache, To send a person to the 
devil. Va le dire a Dache / Go to the 
deuce ! Allez done mconter cel-a a 
Dache / Tell that to the Marines ! ! 
A variant is chez (or d) Dache, leperruquier des 
Zouaves. The name Dache, which has passed 
from military slang into popular speech, is 
said to have been that of a legendary hair- 
dresser to the Zouaves, and the name actually 
occurs in a traditional song of the Zouaves 
(SAiNfiAisr, Langage parisien, p. 151). A more 
probable explanation is that Dache represents 
merely one of many corruptions of diable. 

C'est a moi que vous parlez ? 
Non, c'est a I)ache . . . probable 
que c'est & toi (M. DOKNAY, Educa- 
tion de Prince). 

Qui t'a renseigne ? Dache, le 

perruquier des Zouaves (P. VEBEE, 
Les Couches profondes). 
daetylo, n.m. and /. Typist. 
Abbreviation of dactylographe. 
dada, n.m. 1. Horse, geegee. Aller a 
dada, To ride a cock-horse. 
A child's word. 

2. Hobby-horse, fad e.g. C'est son dada, 
It's his pet idea. Enfourcher son dada, 
To ride one's hobby-horse. 
Cp. marotte. 

M. Petitgaud dit gravement: 
" C'est bien heureux, mes fiUes, que 
la France de 1914 ait ce moral, car 
ce qui nous a perdus en 70 .. .*' 
II enfourcha, son dada ... (P. 




dadais, n.m. Simpleton, ninny, booby 
e.g. Un grand dadais, A big booby. 

See fichu 4 (Boylesve). 
*dalle. *1. n.f. Throat e.g. 8e rincer la 
dalle, To wet one's whistle, to have a 
* gargle *. Rincer la dalle a guelqtfun, 
To stand some one a drink. Se faire 
rincer la dalle. To get some one to 
stand you a drink. Avoir la dalle en 
pente, To be fond of a drink ; to be a 
Lit. ' flagstone % ' slab '. 

JSP est- ce pas, il fallait bien se 

rincer un peu la dalle, pour la debar- 

rasser des Grasses de la veille (ZOLA, 

L'Assornmoir) . 

*2. Adv. Nothing ; used only in the ex- 
pression N'entraver (or N'y entendre} 
que dalle e.g. II n'entrave (rfy entend} 
qite dalle. He doesn't understand, He 
can't make it out. 

Dalle was formerly tlie name given to the 
Flemish daler or * dollar ' ; at the beginning 
of the nineteenth century the word came to 
be applied m vulgar speech to money in 
general, and later, when the origin of the 
word was quite forgotten, it acquired a 
negative sense (SATNiaAN, Langage parisien, 
pp. 128, S26). 

Pour tout ce qui est des courses, 

il rty entend que dalle (T, BERNARD, 

My Love). 

dame. *1. n.f. (a) Wife e.g. Comment 
va votre dame?; II est sorti avec sa 

The common people think votre dame is 
politer than votre femme. 
(b) Dame blanche, Bottle of white wine. 

Cp. fille, fillette, mominette. 
2. Dame! inter j. Why! Well! To be 
sure ! Indeed ! Eather ! e.g. Dame / 
je ne sais pas, moi / I don't know, I'm 
sure ! 

This mild exclamation, which denotes hesita- 
tion, surprise, etc., comes from Lat. domina, 
and = lit. *by our Lady'. Its force is 
very similar to that of ma /oi / 

See ereintement (Gyp). 
danger, n.m. II n'y a pas de danger / 
Stock phrase used in answer to an ex- 
clamation or question : (There's) no 
fear (of that) ! Not likely ! I don't 

A moins que ce sacre Kid se soit 
offert mon portrait ! (" Unless that 
bally Eld is pulling my leg ! ') T a 
pas de danger / (0. H. HIRSCH, 
" Petit " Louis, oxeur). 
j n.f. Thrashing, licking, drubbing 
e.g. Je vais lui donner (flanquer) une 

bonne danse, I'll give him a good 
hiding T 

danser. 1. vb. tr. La danser, to receive 
a thrashing e.g. Gare a toi, tu vas la 
danser ! Look out, I'm going to give 
you a good thrashing ! 

Je veus que tu causes, La Nefle 
. . . ou tu vas la danser \ (C. H. 
HIRSCH, Le Tigre et Coquelicot}. 
2. vb. intr. To pay the penalty, stand the 
racket e.g. C'est tou jours moi qui 
danse, I've got to foot the bill every 

C'est la cassation, s'il paye . . . 
le conseil de guerre, s'il ne r em- 
bourse pas. . . . D'une faon ou 
d'une autre, ses galons danseront (L. 
DESCAVES, Sous-Offs). 
dare-dare, adv. Quickly, in less than no 
time, like a shot, straight off e.g. 
Nous ferons joliment bien de nous y 
mettre dare-dare, We'll jolly well have 
to buck up. 

An imitative expression. E. Martin (Locu- 
tions et Proverbes, p. 122) thinks that it 
originally served to denote the sound of a 
quickly moving vehicle, as in the following 
quotation from Diderot's Neveu de Rameau : 
1 Dare, dare, dare. Voila un homme qui vicnt 
en cabriolet comme si le diable Pemportait'. 
Viendra-t-il, ce M. Martinel ? 
Je le crois, c'est un homme de coaur, 
mais il n'as pas pu lacher ainsi dare- 
dare sa femme et sa belle famille ! 
(MAUPASSANT, Musotte). 

Et dare-dare je rentrai a Fh6tel (J. 
RICHEPIN, La Miseloque). 
*datte,w./. *1. Desdattes ! Contemptuous 
expression of emphatic refusal e.g. 
Tu offres un verre de vin ? Oh ! des 
dattes I Are you standing me a glass of 
wine? You be hanged! C'esfcomme 
des dattes, There's nothing doing, 
Don't you wish you may get it ! 
Lit. ' date ' (fruit). The names of plants and 
fruits are often used in popular speech to 
indicate worthlessness, uselessness, nullity, 
and the like. Cp. anis, nfle. 

Tu sais, tu peux te palper (' You 
can whistle for it * : cp. se f ouiller), 
c'est comme des dattes pour etre regu 
au rapport (G. COFRTELINE, Les 
Gaietes de VEscadron}. 
*2. Ne pas en ficher une datte, Not to do a 

stroke (of work). 

dauber, vb. tr. 1. To beat, cuff, give a 
thrashing e.g. Dauber quelqifun d'im- 
portance, To give some one a good 



2. To speak ill of, make fun of, jeer at, 
quizz. Dauber sur is also used. 

Hommes et femmes s" 'entendaieni 
comme larrons enfoire (see Appendix 
sub larron) pour dauber les contre- 
maitres (J. K. HTJYSMANS, Les 
Soeurs Vatard). 
^dauphin, n.m. Pimp. 

Lit. ' dolphin *. By analogy with maquereau 
(q.v.), an extensive ichthyological nomencla- 
ture has arisen to designate the person in 

de, n.m, Tenir le de de la conversation, 
To engross the conversation, to have 
all the talk to oneself, to have the floor. 
Tenir le d6 means lit. * to hold the dice * in 
one's hand, ready to play, and so preventing 
the others from using them. 

M. et Mme. Morand-Fargueil 

avaient perdu 1'habitude de causer 

ensemble : c'etait leur fils Rene, 

ainsi que dans toutes les bonnes 

families frangaises, qui tenait ordin- 

airement le de de la conversation (A. 

HERMANT, Le joyeux Garcon). 

*d6bagouler. *1. vb. tr. To utter, come 

out with insults e.g. Debagouler des 

injures, To utter abuse, to call names. 

From the Old French bagoul&r, 'to speak 

inconsiderately ' (goul& = gueule, ' jaw ') ; 

cp. bagpu. 

La-dessus il debagoule des hor- 
reurs idiotes et que je ne vous re- 
peterai pas (H. DUVERNOIS, Edgar). 
*2. vb. intr. To vomit. 
d6barbouiller, se. 1. To wash one's face. 
2. = se d&brouiller. 

dSbarquer, vb. tr. To dismiss from service, 
to kick out, to give the sack. Debar- 
quer un ami d'autre/ois, To give an old 
friend the go-by. 

Lit. ' to discharge ' (e.g. a cargo or passen- 

Quand elle nous aura lasses, nous 
la debarquerons (H. BATAILLE, Le 

d6barras, n.m. Bon debarras/ e.g. II 
est parti ; bon debarras ! He has gone ; 
good riddance ! 

d6bauclier, vb. tr. (Jokingly) To take a 
person away (from his work, habits, 
studies, etc. in order to go to some 
entertainment, etc.) e.g. Je viens vous 
debaucher, I have come to take you out 
a bit. 
*dbec(que)ter, vb. tr. *1. To vomit, shoot 

the cat. 

*2. To disgust e.g. Ils me debecquetent or 
Je les debecquete (pron. debecte), I'm 

fed up with them, They make me 
sick. C'etait debecquetant, It was dis- 

*3. Se debec(que)ter de, To get tired, sick of. 
dSbinage, n.m. Calumny, slandering, 
See dbmer 1. 

dbine, n.f. Straitened circumstances, 
destitution e.g. Eire dans la debine, 
To be hard up for money. 
See note to d6biner. 

Les jours de debine, eUe avait 
decousu le matelas, ou elle prenait 
des poignees de laine, qu'elle sortait 
dans son tablier et vendait dix sous 
la livre (ZOLA, UAssommoir). 

See faueM (Bernard), 
d^biner. 1. vb. tr. (Of persons or things) 
To speak ill of, disparage, run down. 
Monsieur mtembe'te (' gets on my 
nerves '), et je lui en veux de (' I am 
vexed with him for s ) m'avoir, par 
lachete, debinee si grossierement de- 
vant Madame (0. MIRBEATT, Le 
Journal d'une Femtne de Chambre). 
II a refuse le manuscrit et a fait 
debiner la piece par cet excellent 
M. Paul de Saint-Victor (FLAUBERT, 
Correspondance) . 

*2. Se debiner, To make off, run away 
e.g. Je suis presse, je me debine, I'm in 
a hurry, I must be off. 

II entrait, m'apercevait, faisait : 
*' Oh ! . . . pardon ! . . . Je me 
trompe ", et se debinait sans de- 
mander son reste (P. VEBER, Les 
Couches profondes). 

A metaphor drawn from vine-growing, in 
which Mbmer la mgne is 'to dress the 
vine a second time in order to rid it of weeds *. 
From this use of the verb popular speech 
derived the notion of ' decline and ruin ', 
physical or moral ; hence the word came to 
signify (a) ' to grow weak or ill ' ; (b) * to 
fall off', 'decline' whence define ; (c) 'to 
depart '. To these has been added the more 
recent meaning of ' to speak ill of * ; cp. 
bcher and jardtner (SATN^AN, Langage 
parisien, pp. 38, 423). 

d6bord6, past part. Eire deborde (de 
travail), To be snowed under with 
work, to be up to the eyes in work. 
Lit. ' to be flooded (with work) '. 
d6bott6 or dSbotter, n.m. Au debotte (de- 
botter), At the moment of arrival 
e.g. Je Vai attrape au debotte (debotter), 
I caught him as soon as he came home. 
Lit. ' at the moment when one takes off one's 

Et puis, ces cinq kilometres a 
faire au debotte . . . go, va lui 




paraitre excessif tout de meme ! 
(GYP, Miche). 

debout, adv. Ne pas tenir debout, (fig.) 
Not to hold good, not to hold water 
e.g. Get argument ne tient pas debout, 
That argument won't stand examina- 
tion, fafis to the ground, won't hold 

Tout cela, si vous voulez mon avis, 
n'est que du verbiage ; tout cela ne 
tient pas debout (M. PE^YOST, VAr t 

See fichtrement (Croisset). 
dSboutonner, se. To unbosom oneself, 

to disclose one's secret feelings. 
d6brouHlard, adj. Applied to one who has 
a mind fertile in resource, in ways and 
means to get on in the world, or to 
extricate himself from difficulties, one 
who is smart* resourceful, spry, dodgy, 
up to snuff, who knows what's what. 
See se a&brouillei. 

dSbrouiller, se. To shift for oneself, to 
manage to get out of some difficulty or 
fix by one's own means, as best one 
can, to muddle through, to find one's 
way about, 

II faudra pourtant bien qu'il .se 
tire $ affaire, car je ne Taiderai pas. 
Qu'il se debrouille ! (MAUPASSANT, 
Monsieur Parent}. 

de"camper, vb. intr. To make off e.g. 
Veux-tu decamper d*ici / Clear out ! 
Lit. * to decamp % * break up camp '. 

See SOU 3 (Balzac). 

*de"eaniller, vb. intr. To make off, clear 
out (generally against one's will) e.g 
Veux-tu decaniUer de la! Get away 
Clear put ! Be off ! 

A provincialism (Lyonnais) ; from canilles in 
the sense of * legs' (lit. 'little cannes* 
'sticks ') (SAOTta, LanffOffeparisien, p. 307) 

Allez-vous bientdt decaniUer, 
plus vite que ca \ (* and be quick 
about it ') (MATTPASSANT, Un> 

de*carcasser, se. To give oneself much 
trouble, to * kill * oneself, to slave. 
Lit. ' to pull one's carcasse (body) to pieces ' 
tTaimerais mieux rester toute ma 
vie a deux mille quatre que de m 
decarcasser comme lui (MAUPASSANT 
*de'earrer, vb. intr. To go away, leave th 

An old argot term which, has passed intc 
provincial and popular speech ; from carrte 
popular for * room % * house * (lit. place -wher 
the cooking is done on a boat). 

de*eatl,a$?. (Of persons) Altered (by age) 
no longer young or handsome e.g, 
Elle a ?air bien decati, She looks very 
See se decatir. 

La Banban faisait tout pour re- 
pincer ( c to win back ') le chapelier, 
mais lui ne voulait plus d'elle, la 
trouvait decatie (ZoLA, UAssom- 

d^catir, se. (Of persons) To lose one's 
freshness or bloom. 

Properly *to sponge', 'to take the gloss 
off cloth '. 

de"eave* > n.m. and adj. Ruined, on one's 
uppers, cleaned out, stony-broke, clean 
broke e.g. Un (fiomme) decave, A 
ruined man, a ruined gamester, one 
who has done his money in. 
From cave, in the sense of the sum of 
money a gambler places before him when 
beginning to play. 

Si on les trouvait tous les poches 
vides, tous decaves, cela ferait du 
tort a la maison (E. DOEGBLES, 
Le Promeneur nocturne). 
See fauehe (Bernard). 
de"eesser, vb. intr. Used familiarly for 
cesser, c to cease ', especially in the 
form ne (pas) decesser de . . ., to keep 
on . . . e.g. 11 ne decesse pas de 
parler, He keeps on talking. 

EUe me baisa sur les deux joues, 
tantdt riant, tant6t pleurant, et ne 
decessant de m'accoler (F. EABEE, Le 

dechanter, vb. intr* To come down a peg or 
two, to lower one's tone, to sing small 
e.g. Je le ferai bien dechanter, I'll 
make him lower his tone. 
Cp. the expressions changer de ton, changer de 

Enfin je re9us la lettre que voici 
et qui me fit un peu dechanter (V. 
CHBEBTJLIEZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

deche, n.f. Impecuniosity, poverty, stony- 
brokedness e.g. Etre (or Tomber) dans 
la deche, Battre la d&che, To be hard up, 
stonybroke, at low tide, in poverty. 
A provincialism (Anjou), with the same 
meaning, denoting primitively 'congenital 
defect or disease ' (SAiNto, Langage pari- 
sien, p. 287). 

II est des pretres qui sont a cette 
heure dans une deche noire parce 
qu'ils ont fait leur devoir sans avoir 
personne derriere eux pour les sou- 
tenir (GYP, Les Froussards). 

Elle avait dit a Pauline que je 


battais la ddche treize mois sur douze 

See mouise (Donnay). 

*d6eliire", adj. Elle n'est pas trop decMree, 

She is not so dusty. 

Said of a woman who is still attractive in spite 

of her years, and only used in negative 


*d6eoller. *1. vb. intr. (a) Ne pas decol- 

ler, To stick, to be a sticker. 
(6) Sans decoller, Without stopping, at a 


*2. Se decoller, (a) To become old, feeble, 
rickety, to be in a bad way ; (b) To 
die, to kick the bucket. 
Lit. * to become nnglued '. 
de*eoudre, vb. intr. En decoudre, To come 
to blows, to fight it out (either in a 
duel or with natural weapons). 
Lit. ' to rip up each other's skin*. 

Le prince Natti passait pour 1'une 
des premieres lames de 1'Italie, et 
on le savait homme a en decoudre 
pour un non ou pour un oui (V. 
CHEBBXTLIEZ, Miss Rovel). 
de"erasser, vb. tr. To rid a person of his 
coarse ways. Cp. decrotter. Se de- 
crasser, To get rid of one's coarse ways 
e.g. Depuis qu'il va dans le monde il 
commence a se decrasser, Since he has 
been mixing with society he is begin- 
ning to acquire a little polish. 
Lit. " to rid of crasse % * filth % * dirt '. 
de*eroeher, fl&. tr. 1. To redeem an article 
from pawn. Cp. aeeroeher. 
Lit. ' to unhook ', ' take down '. 
2. To attain a difficult object, to manage 
to get hold of. 

De jeudi en huit la mairie, ven- 
dredi 1'eglise. Qa sera tres chic. 
On a fini par decrocher l'eve*que de 
Nancy (H. LAVEDAN, Le nouveau 

Avant de mourir, il a decrocM la 
croix de guerre et deux citations 
(GYP, Oeux qui s'en f . . .). 
dScroehez-moi-sa, n.m. 1. Clothes bought 
at a second-hand shop, reach-me- 
downs, hand-me-downs. 
Lit. ' unhook that for me *. 
2. Shop where such clothes are sold. 
d6erotter, vb. tr. = de*erasser. 

Lit. * to rid of crotte *, * dirt % * mud ', 
*de"euiter, vb. tr. and intr. To make sober, 
to become sober. 
3?rom cuite. 

dedans, adv. 1. Mettre (ficher, fiche, 
fourrer, foutre) quelgtfun dedans, (a) 
To deceive a person, take in, cheat, 

swindle, let in e.g. On Va mis dedans, 
He was taken in. Eire mis dedans, To 
be let in, to be bested. Se laisser 
mettre dedans. To allow oneself to be 
taken in. 

On the model of donner dedans, ' to fall into 
the snare, trap'. 

Comme la plupart des paysans, il 
est extremement mefiant, il evite de 
se livrer aux autres, car il croit qu'on 
veut le mettre dedans (0. MIRBEAU, 
Le Journal d'une Femme de Ohambre). 
Vous avez essaye" de me mettre 
dedans. Eh bien ! je ne vous en 
veux pas ('I do not bear you a 
grudge 5 ). Non. Parole! Meme,je 
vous admire : vous avez joue serre 
(* acted cautiously *, * left nothing 
to chance ') (J. EIOHEPIN, Flam- 

To put in clink, to run a person in. 
Halte la ! ... Qui vive ? Qu*- 
est-ce qui te prends, toi (* What's the 
matter with you *) ? Qui vive ? 
Je m'en vais te foutre dedans, tu sais ? 
Je suis encore ton lieutenant, je sup- 
pose ? (C. FARBEBE, Quatorze His- 

'2. Eentrer dedans a qudgu'un, To go for, 
pitch (slip) into a person. 

d^faitisme, n.m. The poHcy and opinions 
of those in Prance who, during the War, 
were doubtful of victory or considered 
defeat preferable to prolonging hostil- 

defaitiste, n.m. and adj. Connected with, 
or a partisan of, the policy of defait- 
isme. By extension, the word is used 
of one who believes a thing is doomed 
to failure e.g. Les defaitistes de la 

*defiler, se. To make off, run away, leg it. 
Se defler en douce, To slip away 
quietly. Cp. filer 1 (a). 
*defriser, vb. tr. To disappoint, to dis- 
please, to put out e.g. Voila qui me 
defrise, That's what I don't like about 
it. Si $a te defrise, ... If it doesn't 
suit you, . . . 
Lit. "to put out of curl*. 

Si Ton s'accoutume a tout, on n'a 

pas encore pu prendre 1'habitude de 

ne point manger. C'e"tait unique- 

ment la ce qui defrisait Gervaise 

(ZOLA, L*Assommoir). 

degaine, n.f. (Pejorative] Gait, general 

appearance of a person, get-up e.g. 




Elle en a une degaine ! What a fright 
site looks ! Je in? (time pas so, degaine, 
I don't like the cttt of Ms jib. 
Lit. the way in which one ' unsheathes * one's 

degamir, se. To become bald. 
degele"e, n.f. Dressing-down, thrashing, 
Lit. * thaw '. 

Tu recevras une degelee qui t 
cuira encore dans tes vieux jours 
(J. H. ROSNY, Dans les JKues). 
*de"gobillage, n.m. Act of vomiting. 
*d6gobiUer, vb. tr and intr. To cat, puke, 
From gtibw , ' to swallow down *. 

En voila un qui degobille. Et 
celui-la, il arrose les pissenlits (ZoLA, 
L'Assommoir) . 

degoiser, vb. tr. and intr. To speak with 
volubility, to rattle on, spout, spin a 
yarn, to patter away. 
Connected with gosier, ' throat '. 

Mais je vous en degoise, des 
balourdises ! Je parie qu'aucun de 
vos flirts de Paris ne vous a jamais 
tenu tin langage pareil (M. HARRY, 
La divine Chanson). 

See balan$oire 1 (Brieux). 
d^gommer, vb. tr. To dismiss from ser- 
vice, to 'ungum' e.g. II $*est fait 
degommer or On Va degomme, He's got 
the sack, He's been cashiered, 'un- 
gummed '. 

On Fa degomme pour donner sa 
place a un ami du cabinet qui 
venait d'arriver au pouvoir (GYP, La 

Un de mes voisins de garni 
(* lodgings *), un ancien officier 
degomme, avait oublie chez moi un 
pistolet charge (J. VALL^S, Le 

*d6goter or degotter, vb. tr. *1. To find 
out, obtain, perceive, discover. 

Us se sont Men garde's de donner 
leur adresse. Mais j'ai reussi a la 
degotter quand mime (* all the same ') 
(J. PBLLBEnr, La Dame de leurs 

See fourM 2 (Hirsch). 
*2. To excel, beat, lick. 

Je suis gironde (' pretty') a les de- 
goter toutes . . . et j'aurai 1'homme 
que je voudrai (C. H. BJESOH, 
Le Tigre et Goquelicot). 

Tu ais, mon vieux, pour la sculp- 
ture, y en a pas beaucoup qui pour- 

raient le degoter (BBIETJX, Resultat 
des Courses}. 
*3. To supplant, oust, knock off one's 

Prud'homme admire le Khin de 
Musset et demande si Musset a fait 
autre chose ? Voila Musset pass6 
poete national et degotant Beranger 
(FLAUBERT, Correspondance). 
Degoter, which is a provincialism (Anjou), 
denotes primarily, in a particular game, * to 
knock out of its got or hole % by means of 
one's own marble, the opponent's marble 
(SAW&AN, Langage parisien, pp. 61-4). 
*dgouliner, vb. intr. To trickle down, 

A provincialism (Anjou), another form of 

the verb dfaouliner, * to drip ' (of a spring 

or overfull vessel),* to glide down' (a slope, 

on ice, etc.) (lit. ' to glide down a colline % 

'hill') (SAOTto, Langage parisien ) p.28'7). 

Celine baissa la tete, alors Tautre 

baissa aussi la tete et une grosse 

larme M degoulina des oils (J. K. 

HTTYSMANS, Les Sceurs Vatard). 

degourdi, adj. AHve, wide awake, up to 


See d6gonrdir. 

degonrdir. 1. vb. tr. To sharpen up a 
person, to sharpen a person's wits a bit. 
Lit. ' to take away the numbness or stiffness *. 
2. Se degourdir, To become degourdi. 

, n.f. Disgusting person or 
thing e.g. Une degotitation d'homme, 
A disgusting fellow. 

Une degofitation, cette femme t 
juge celle-ci, indignee (C. H. HIRSOH, 
Nini GodacJie). 

, adj. 1. fastidious e.g. Faire 
le degotite, To put on airs, to be fas- 
tidious, dainty. 

2. Ne pas itre degodte e.g. Si fetais 
millionnaire, je serais content. Vous 
n'etes pas degotite / If I were a million- 
aire, I should be satisfied. You don't 
want much ! 

Used ironically of a person who expresses a 
desire for something considered to be exces- 
sive or too good for him ; also of one who 
selects, for himself, the most dainty bits. 
*dgringoler, vb. tr. To kill, murder. 

This use of the word (lit. 'to tumble down*) 
belongs to the vocabulary of the apaches. 
Cp. deseendre. 

*dgrouillard, adj. = delbroufllard. 
*degrouiller, se. *1. = se de"brouiller, 

Je lui ai appris a conduire les autos 
et a les reparer pour qu'il ait au 
moins une corde a son arc et puisse 
se degrouiller un peu (T. BERNARD, 
Les Pnares Soubigou). 



*2. To make haste, get a move on. Cp. 

se groutller. 

d^guerplr, vb. intr. To clear out, make 
off, skedaddle. 

Deguerpir, from the Old French guerpir, ' to 
abandon % ' avoid *, is an old legal term 
signifying *to give up (some property) to a 
creditor*, *to leave some property unlaw- 
fully occupied'. 

*degueulade, n.f. Vomit, act of vomiting. 

*degueulasse, adj. Repulsive, disgusting, 
filthy, rotten (lit. and fig.) e.g. C'est 
un type degueulasse, He's a chap who 
makes you sick. 
Also written dfyueulas. 

C'est degueulasse, ces deux oreilles 
qui pendent (H. BARBTTSSE, Le Feu). 

*degueiilasserle, /. Something which is 

*de"gueuler, vb. tr. and intr. To cat, puke, 


de"ja, adv. Two special uses of deja (lit. 
* already ') merit careful attention : 

(a) As in Ce rfest deja pas si bete / It isn't 
really so silly. 

Dfyd is thus used in negative replies con- 
taining a word like si, bien, tanto, fact 
which implies . . . quevousdites, . . . qu'on 
croit. The value of dijd is to be explained 
as follows : the speaker formulates in his 
mind some such objection as 'You, who 
already think that it is silly, are too incon- 
siderate, too hasty in jumping to a con- 
clusion ; I, on the contrary, think that it 
is not so siUy as you seem to believe ' and 
the association of the two ideas produces 
the above construction. 

Alors, tu vois bien qtfil n'est pas 
deja si mal que ga,, Pepete, puisqu'il 
y en a tant qui lui courent apres ! 
(L. BERTRAND, Pepete le JBien-Aime). 
Et puis . . . c'est une sortie . . . 
pour toi . . . une distraction. Tu 
n'en as pas deja tant ici (0. MIRBEATT, 
Les Affaires sont les Affaires). 

Vous devez avoir plus de vingt 
ans, dit-elle enfin, mais pas beau- 
coup plus. J'en ai vingt-quatre. 
Eh bien ! vous voyez . . . Oela ne 
fait deja pas une si grande difference 
entre nous (A. THETTRIET, Sauva- 

(b) As in Comment s'appelle-t-il, deja? 
What did you say his name was ? 
What on earth is his name ? " Let's 
see " or " Now " seems a near trans- 
lation. (Shopping) Combien est-ce, 
deja ? Let's see, how much is it ? or 
How much is it, now ? 

In this case the addition of dfya to a query 
asking for information about a thing one has 
forgotten is due to the fact that the speaker, 

as it were, mentally reproaches himself as he 
speaks ; as he formulates the question, the 
following thought passes through his mind : 
* I have already forgotten his name ; I shall 
have to ask what it is % and this already slips 
into the spoken question. It should be noted 
that the dejd, ends the question, and in writing 
is separated from what precedes by a comma, 
representing the slight pause in speech due 
to the after- thought. 

Pourquoi se battent-ils, deja ? On 

me Fa dit. Je ne me rappelle pas 

(H. LAVEDAN, Viveurs). 
Au revoir, mademoiselle . . . 

mademoiselle . . . comment, deja? 

Lucienne (A. CAPUS, Notre Jeun- 

Ah ! oui, votre petite mixture. . . . 
Qu* est-ce que c'est, dejd? (H. BAT- 
AILLE, Le Masque). 

dejete', adj. (Of persons) Deformed, of 
poor build, worn out by age e.g. ne 
pas etre trop dejete, To be still pre- 
Lit. * warped ', ' crooked *. 

Apres s'etre frictionne au gant de 
crin, il alluma une lampe electrique 
devant une glace et il s'admira : 
Pas trop dejete, hem ? (H. DTJVEE- 
NOIS, Gisele). 

d^licatesse, n.f. Etre en delicatesse avec 
quelqu*un, Not to be on very good 
terms with a person. 

Juancho etait en delicatesse avec la 
police pour ses vivacites de couteau 
(T. G-AUTIER, Militona). 
d61it, n.m. Un flagrant delit e.g. Mre 
pris (or pince) en flagrant delit, To be 
caught in the very act, red-handed. 
From the Latin in flagrante delicto. 

Qa n'est pas difficile de passer pour 
fort, va ; le tout est de ne pas se 
faire pincer en flagrant delit d'ignor- 
ance (MAUPASSANT, Bel- Ami). 
d&naneher, se. JSe demancher pour ob- 
tenir quelque chose, To give oneself 
much trouble, to take great pains, to 
go to any amount of trouble in order to 
get something. 

Lit. 'to dislocate oneself (from manche, 

demander, vb. tr. 1. Je vous demande un 
peu / Just think of it ! Did you ever 
hear such a thing ! 

Et dire ('And to think ') qu'ils ont 
voulu f aife de moi un prof esseur de 
philosophie ! Je vous demande un 
peu / (A. DATTDET, Le Petit Chose). 
Bon Dieu ! dit G-osseline, de mau- 
vaise humeur. En voila une mus- 




ique ! (* What a fuss ! '). Parce que 
tu as tu6* Julot, je te demande un 
peu I (A. HERMANT, Coutras, Soldat). 
2. Je ne demande pas mieux, I should like 
nothing better or Nothing I should like 
better, That is just what I want, 
Nothing would give me greater pleas- 

Oui, il t'aime profondement, et il 
ne demandemit pas mieux que de te 
rendre heureuse (H. CEARD, Les 

See cuttler (Hirsch). 
3. Si on vous le demande, vous direz que 
vous n'en savez rien, A stock retort to 
an inquisitive or obtuse person. 

Pourquoi est-ce drole ? Si on 
vous le demande, vous dtrez que vous 
n*en savez rien (GYP, Geux gui s*en 


demarrer, vb. intr. To leave a place, to 
start e.g. Ne demarrez pas de la, 
Don't budge from there. 
Lit. * to leave her moorings * (of a boat). 

On allait demarrer quand mon 
beau-pere est pris d'une idee (H. 
LAVEDAN, Le nouveau Jeu). 
d&ne'nager, vb. intr. To be crazy, cracked, 
daft, barmy. 

Variants: Sa raison (or Sa Ute] dtmdnage 
(lit. "His reason (head) is removing*). 

See gaga (Bernstein). 
demeure, n.f. 1. A demeure, Perman- 
ently, for good and all. 

Les Loutrel y vivaient a demeure, 
depuis de longues annees (R. BAZIN, 
De toute son Ame). 

Sur le poele de fonte, mijote on ne 
sait quel ragout, qua semble a de- 
meure (0. MiRBEAtr, Dingo). 
2. Mettre quelqu'un en demeure (de faire 
quelque chose), To lay a person under 
the necessity or obligation (of doing 
Properly a 
to do 
for an 

Elle s'occupait trop de lui, elle le 
mettait trop souvent en demeure de 
lui dire " merci ", elle 1'importunait 
de ses soins (J. RENARD, Les Clo- 

Mis en demeure de parler, il parais- 
sait emu, surtout embarrasse (0. 
MIRBEATJ, Dingo). 

*demi-cerele, n.m. Pincer (or Eepincer or 
Rattraper) quelqu'un au demi-cerde, To 
catch (come upon) a person unawares, 

to get one's own back, to get even with 
some one. 

A metaphor borrowed from fencing, the demi- 

cercle being a kind of parry. Cp. arqpepineer. 

Bah ! tant pis ! Mira bien qui 

rira le dernier : je le repincerai au 

demi-cerde (G. COURTELESTE, Le 

Train de 8 h. 47). 

demi-mondaine, n.f. Woman of the 


demi-monde, n.m. The world of women 
on the outskirts of society, of doubtful 
reputation and standing. 
From the title of a play by Dumas flls (1855). 
*demi-portion, n.f. Small, undersized per- 

*demoiselle, n.f. Half a bottle of red wine. 
Cp. fille, fillette, mominette, dame 

*demolir 5 vb. tr. *1. To thrash soundly, 
to knock down, to knock into a cocked 

*2. = deseendre. 

dmonter, vb. tr. Ne pas se (laisser) 
demonter, Sans se (laisser) demonter, To 
be nowise put out, to remain quite cool, 
not to be upset. 

II comprit qu'il avait lache une 
betise, mais il n'etait pas homme a 
se laisser demonter (E. ABOUT, Le 

Tout le monde la toisait seVere- 
ment, mais elle ne se demonta pas 
(R. DoRGELiis, Partir). 
demordre, vb. intr. Ne pas en demordre 9 
To stick to (an opinion, line of con- 
duct, etc.), hold fast to, not to go back 
on, not to give way e.g. II n'en 
demordra pas, He will not abate an 

Lit . ' not to let go with one's teeth * (from 
mordre, 'to bite'). 

Et depuis trois mois ils en res- 
taient la, sans en demordre 1'un et 
Tautre, reprenant, une fois par 
semaine, la meme discussion (MAU- 
PASSANT, Le Pere Amable). 
dent, n.f. 1. A belles dents, Hungrily, 
ravenously, fiercely e.g. Manger (Cro- 
guer) a belles dents, To eat ravenously. 
Mordre a belles dents, To take great 
bites. Dechirer guelgii'un a belles 
dents, To tear a person's reputation 
to shreds, to criticize a person 

II tirait de sa poche des friandises 
du dessert mises de cdte pour moi, 
et s'amusait a me les voir croquer a 




belles dents (A. DAUDET, Le 
*2. Avoir de la dent, To have preserved 

one's good looks, to be still young. 
*3. Avoir la dent f To be hungry, peckish, 
to have a twist. 

4. Avoir les dents tongues, To be very 

5. Avoir une dent contre quelqu'un (or 

Garder une dent a quelqu'un), To have 
a grudge against some one e.g. J*ai 
une dent contre Iui 9 I've a bone to pick 
with him. 

C'est bien fait, dit Robin Pousse- 
pain, qui gardait une dent a Quasi- 
modo ; cela lui apprendra a rudoyer 
les gens (V. HUGO, Notre-Dame de 

6. Faire ses dents, (of a child) To cut one's 


7. Ne pas desserrer les dents, Not to speak 

a word, not to open one's lips. 

Madame Bovary mere n'avait pas 
desserre les dents de la journee 
(FLAUBERT, Madame Bovary). 

8. Sous la, dent e.g. N'avoir rien a se 

mettre sous la dent or N*avoir pas de 
quoi se mettre sous la dent, To have 
nothing to eat. 

" Madame, dit Jeannette, v'l, 
de quoi vous mettre sous la dent" 
C'est en ces termes qu'eUe annon9a 
1'irruption d'Eugenie, accompagnee 
de ses marmots (' brats *) et tenant 
dans ses mains un panier d'oeufs 
frais (P. MARGTJBRITTE, UEmbus- 

9. Sur les dents e.g. Etre sur les dents, To 

be (quite) done-up, dead-beat. Mettre 

quelqu'un sur les dents, To tire a person 


By allusion to a horse which, is said to be sur 

l&s dents when, tired out, it hangs its head and 

rests its teeth on the bit. 

Bans ses furies de travail, il met 
parfois son gendre sur les dents (V. 
CHERBXTLIEZ, Le Gomte Kostia). 

d^passer, vb. tr. To baffle, to astonish 
greatly, ,to outstrip one's understand- 
ing e.g. Cette nouvelle me depasse, 
This news flabbergasts me. Cela me 
depasse, That's beyond me, that beats 
(licks) me. 

d&piauter. 1. vb. tr. To skin, flay. 

From piau, a dialect form of peau, ' skin *. 
*2. Se depiauter, To undress, to e peel *. 

deplalre, vb. intr. (Qu'il) Ne vous en de- 
yplaise, With your permission, If you 

don't mind, If you'll allow me, By 
your leave. N'en deplaise a . . ., 
With . . . *s leave. 
Often used ironically, Whether you like it 
or not*. 

deplume, adj. Bald e.g. Avoir le caillou 
(le coco) deplume, To be bald, to have a 
bladder of lard. 
Lit. * plucked of its feathers '. 
dplumer, se. To get bald, 
''deput^, n.m. Avoir un depute dans Vurne, 
To be in the family way. 
A popular humorous euphemism for etre 
enceinte ; cp. poliehinelle, 
derailler, vb. intr. To talk nonsense, to 
rave, to be off one's nut. 
Lit. * to run off the rails *. 

Elle me defend de regarder, elle te 
defend de partir . . . tu vois, elle la 
bat (= elle bat la campagne) com- 
pletement, elle deraille (H. LAVED AN", 
Le nouveau Jeu). 

diaper, vb. intr. 1. To set off, to be off. 
Lit. a nautical term ; * to pull the anchor 
up', also 'to skid'. 

2. Sans deraper, Without stopping, at a 
stretch e.g. Travailler un mois sans 
deraper, To keep on working for a 
whole month. 

dernier, adj. Le dernier des . . ., The 
vilest, most contemptible, lowest e.g. 
Le dernier des nommes, La derni&re des 
femmes, La derniere des creatures. 

Ma tante, qui etait la derniere des 

femmes, m'a vendue, ou a peu pres, 

a un n6gociant de Marseille (F. 

COPPEE, Bonnes Fortunes). 

des, partitive article. The plural partitive 

article is sometimes used with the 

meaning of c as much as * to imply 

approximate or repeated quantities, 

periods of time, groups, or sums. 

This use is not confined to familiar style, and 

goes back to the Classical period e.g. * Jelui 

ai bien fait entendre que vous n'6tiez point 

une dupe, pour vous demander des cinq, ou 

six cents pistoles ' (MoLnSuiE, Fourberies de 


II vous restait des dix heures sur 
ses gros livres (A. DATJDET, Le petit 

Si je lui deplaisais, est-ce qu'elle 
me recevrait, comme elle fait, des 
trois ou quatre fois par semaine ? 
(P. BOTJBGET, Pastels). 

Le menage plagait des vingt francs 
et des trente francs a la Caisse 
d'epargne (ZOLA, UAssommoir). 
de'sargente', adj. Hard up for money. 

IJal en point et dfaargentes, ils 




etaient alors reduits a braconner 
(A. THETJBIET, La Ghanoinesse). 
*deseendre, vb. tr. To kill, murder. Op. 

Lit. ' to bring down ' by snooting. This use of 
the word belongs originally to the vocabulary 
of the apaches. 

Les pirates . , . descendirent 
quelques sentinelles et une demi- 
douzaine de permissionnaires isoles 
(G. FARR&RE, Dix-Sept Histoires de 

d&espoir, n.m. En desespoir de cause, 
As the last extremity, as a last re- 
source, despairing of success. 
By allusion to a barrister who, finding himself 
at a loss for arguments when defending a case, 
is said to be en desespoir de cause, or to despair 
of winning his case. Thus faire quelque 
chose en desespoir de cause is to do something 
without hope of success, in the last resort. 

"Des lampions et des drapeaux, 
o'est tres Men, disait-il; mais je 
voudrais quelque chose de mieux." 
L'autre reflechit longtemps, mais 
ne trouva rien. Alors M. Patissot, 
en desespoir de cause, acheta trois 
drapeaux avec quatre lanternes 
(MAUPASSANT, Les DimancAes d*un 
Bourgeois de Paris). 
desfcaMIage, n.m. Ill-natured literary 

criticism, * slating '. 

d6so!6, adj. Je suis desole (de . . .), I am 
very (extremely, fearfully) sorry (for 
. . .) e.g. Je suis desole de vous avoir 
fait attendre, I'm fearfully sorry for 
having kept you waiting. 
*dessale, adj. Wide awake, cute, up to 


*dessaler. 1. vb. tr. To sharpen the wits 
of, to put one up to a thing or two, to 
put one up to snuff. 

*2. Se dessaler, To grow cute, knowing, 

Des vieux disaient : " Eh ! il com- 
mence a se dessaler, le petit gars," 
en clignant de Foeil (E. PSICHARI, 
L'Appel des Armes). 
dessous, n.m. 1. Avoir le dessous, To get 

the worst of it. 

2. GonnaUre (tous) les dessous or Gon- 
naitre le dessous des cartes, To be in the 
secret, in the know. 
Lit. ' to tanow the underneath of the cards ', 
which should be hidden when the cards are 
being cut or dealt out. 

Un rude malin, ce docteur Meer- 
graf. II vous a des yeux qui se 
moquent de tout et qui ne prennent 
pas des vessies pour des lanternes. 

II connait tous les dessous, celui-la 
(V. CEDERBTJLIEZ, UAventure de 
Ladislas Bolslci). 

Daguet, dit-il, je ne suis au 
courant de rien, nioi, dans le pays. 
Renseigne-moi, veux-tu, puisque tu 
connais le dessous des cartes, toi (M. 
BOTTLANGER, Le Pave du Roi). 
3. Ifitre (enfonce) dans le troisieme dessous 9 
(fig.) To be in a very bad way (in one's 

The space beneath the stage of a theatre is 
called les dessous and is usually divided into 
three floors; hence $tre dans le troisieme 
dessous is tantamount to 'to be as low as 
possible '. 

Grace au f eminisme et au divorce 
... les hommes, qui s'estompent 
deja au second plan, finiront par 
disparaitre dans le troisieme dessous 
(G-YP, Oeux qui s'en /...). 
dessus, n.m. 1. Avoir le dessus, To get 
the best of it. 

2. Prendre le dessus, To gain the upper 

Loin de Madame, il n'est plus le 
meme. Sa figure s'eclaire, son ceil 
luit. . . . Son caractere, naturelle- 
ment gai, reprend le dessus (0. MIE- 
BEATT, Le Journal d'une Femme de 

3. Le dessus du panier, The pick (best) of 
the basket (lit. and,/igr.). 

Similarly U dessous du panier, ' the refuse '. 

Eux, Us avaient des Mauser, des 
Mannlicher, des Winchester, et tout 
le tremblement (' the whole bag of 
tricks ') de ce qu'on fabrique de ' 
rupin ( ( fine % e Al ') chez les 
Pruscos, les Belgicos et les Ostro- 
goths . . . le dessus du panier, quoiJ 
(C. EARRISRE, Dix-sept Histoires de 

d^tailler, vb. tr. (Theatrical slang) e.g. 
Detailler un role, To bring out all the 
best points of a part in a play. De- 
tailler le couplet, To sing with appro- 
priate expression the different parts of 
a song. 

detaler, vb. intr. To run (dash) away, 
make off. 

Lit. the opposite of Staler, ' to display one's 
goods for sale * ; hence, ' to bring in one's 
goods ' ' to shut up shop *, which implies 

dteler, vb. intr. To give up all thoughts of 
love, to renounce the pleasures of love. 
Lit, ' to unharness ". Just as a man un- 
harnesses his horse when the journey is over 
and he has reached his destination, so, fig. he, 



is said to d&eler when lie has finished with 
youth and its pleasures and settles down. 
Also used of women. 

Comme les femmes restent jeunes, 
par le temps qui court (' nowadays '), 
c'est leur unique preoccupation de 
ne pas vieillir, de ne pas engraisser, 
de ne pas deteler (M. DONBTAY, La 

Larzac : Je detelle. Le cure, sans 
comprendre : Vous detelez ? Lar- 
zac : Oui, monsieur le cure". Je 
renonce aux femmes, a toutes les 
femmes, d'une fa$on irremediable, 
definitive (R. DE PLERS ET G-. A. DE 

detente, n.f. Mre dur a la detente, To be 
close-fisted, stingy, slow in paying up. 
By allusion to a fire-arm, which is said to be 
dur A la detente when the trigger is hard to 

On serait plutot mort qne de 
s'adresser aux LoriUeux, parce qu'on 
les savait trop durs a la detente 
(ZOLA, VAssommoir). 
d6traque, adj. Crazy, barmy e.g. II est 
un peu detraque, He hasn't all his 
buttons on. 

Lit. 'put out of order', 'out of gear'. 
Elliptical for avoir le cerveau dft,ragu6. 
deuil, n.m. Faire son deuil d'une chose, 
To submit in advance to the loss of a 
thing, to give something up for (as) 
lost, as a bad job, to say good-bye to a 
thing e.g. J'en aifait mon deuil, I am 
resigned (or I have resigned myself) to 
the loss of it, 
Lit. * to be in mourning for a thing *. 

Enfin, je peux faire mon deuil de 

tous mes projets, de tous mes es- 

poirs ? (H. BERNSTEIN", Le Marche). 

deux. I. Deuxs'amusen^troiss'embfaent, 

Two's company, three's none. 
2. Maintenant, a nous deux ! Now I will 
settle with you ; Now's the time for a 
private explanation ; Now to business. 
*3. Nous deux is used in popular speech as a 
kind of formula to replace the two pro- 
nouns moi et toi or wo* et lui (die) ; and 
if the second of the two persons is not 
specified beforehand, the name is 
added to nous deux e.g. nous deux 
Jean = nous deux, Jean et moi. 

Sais-tu ce que nous faisons en ce 
moment, nous deux Blondard ? (H. 
DTTVERITOIS, Faubourg-Montmartre). 
On est des camarades, nous deux 
Mimi d'ArtMs (0. H. HIESOH, 
" Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 

devant, n.m. *1. Bdtir sur le devant, To 
grow corpulent. 
Lit. ' to build on the front '. 
2. Prendre les devants, (a) To start (forge) 
ahead ; (b) To forestall e.g. 11 faut 
prendre les devants, One must be first 
in the field. 

Really a hunting term : when the dogs are in 
fault, to seek the track of the beast in front 
of the spot where the fault occurred. 

M. Eyssette etait deja & Lyon de- 
puis une semaine. II avait pris les 
devants avec les gros meubles (A. 
DATJDET, Le petit Chose). 

Mais lui, prenant les devants, 
tourna au bout de trente pas, et 
penetra dans le cimetiere (R. BAZINV 
De toute son Ame). 
*devanture, n.f. Woman's breasts. 

Lit. * shop front '. 

d^veine, n.f. Bad luck, constant ill-luck, 
run of bad luck. Avoir la deveine or 
Eire en deveine, To be down on one's 
Cp. veine. 

*devider, vb. tr. and intr. To speak e.g. 
Devider le jars, To talk slang. Ma- 
thurin divide le jars, Jack Tar is spin- 
ning a yarn. 
Lit. 'to unwind*. 

devoir. 1. vb. tr. Vous me devez bien 
cela, It's the least you can do for me. 
2. n.m. JSe mettre en devoir de, To set 
about doing a thing. 

Juancho s'approcha, et, sans mot 

dire, se mit en devoir de relever la 

charrette (T. GATTTIEK, Militona). 

de"volu, n.m. Jeter son devolu sur, To fix 

one's choice upon, to set one's heart 

upon, to have designs on (a person or 

A I6n6ftc6 vacant par dtvolu was a benefice 
the nomination to which had fallen into the 
hands of the Pope on account of the un- 
worthiness of the holder or the nullity of 
his claim. Jeter un dfoolu sur un bn4ftce 
meant to obtain a benefice by invoking 
canonical reasons which would prove that 
it was vacant par ddwlu, and so the ex- 
pression jeter un (and, later, son) dfoolu sur 
quelgue chose came to mean : to show one's 
intention of obtaining something. 

L'autre, qui jeta son devolu sur 
Maximilien, etait la plus empana- 
chee du bal (A. HEEMANT, Cadet de 

Je lui promis d'accepter les yeux 
fermes 1'homme de son choix* 
EHe jeta son devolu sur un brave 
gargon qui s'appelait George Rich- 




ardet (V, CHERBULTEZ, L'Aventure 

de Ladislas BolsTci). 

(liable. (A) n.m. 1. Air de porter le 

(Liable en terre e.g. (7 s est un air de 

porter le diable en terre, It is an air to 

conjure up the devil. 

Moi, ce qui me navre, c'est 
qu'il ait toujours Pair de porter le 
diable en terre. . . . Ah ! les jeunes 
gens d'aujourd'hui ! . . . On dirait 
qu'ils n'ont qu'un souci . . . celui 
de ne pas casser leur devant de 
chemise (BRIEUX, La petite Amie). 

2. A la diable e.g. Faire guelque chose a 

la diable, To do a thing "anyhow, in a 
slipshod way, slap-dash, to botch 

Lorsqu'elle eut sa petite capote, 
elle la noua a la diable (GYP, Le 
Monde a Cdte). 

C'etait tin vraf journal de voyage, 
redige a la diable (0. PBTJILLET, 
Julia de Trecoeur). 

3. Au diable e.g. C'est au diable ! It's a 

devil of a way, miles away ! Envoyer 
quelqu'un au diable (or a tous les 
diables), To send a person to the devil, 
to Jericho. Allez au diable f Go to 
blazes ! 8*en aller au diable, To go to 

Est-ce loin, 1'Italie ? Oh, je 
crois bien, dit M. Rambaud, c'est 
la-bas, derriere Marseille, au diable 
(ZoLA, "One Page $ Amour}. 

Que chacun vive a sa fantaisie et 
que les mecontents aillent au diable 
(E. SODTESTRE, Au Coin du Feu). 

4. Au diable vauvert (corrupted into au 

diable auvert, au diable au vert, au 
diable vert) e.g. Aller au diable vau- 
vert, To go very far away, a devil of a 

The mansion of Vauvert (or Val-vert, i.e. 
* green vale *), near Paris, in the direction of 
the barrttre d'Enfer, had been inhabited by 
Zing Philippe- Auguste after his excommuni- 
cation, and since that time had acquired the 
reputation of being haunted by ghosts and 
demons. Saint Louis, in order to exorcise 
the evil spirits, gave the mansion to the 
Carthusians in 1257. It was probably because 
of these associations that the name of Enfer 
was given to the street which led to it and 
which was formerly called chemin de Vauvert. 
II m'entrafna dans la campagne, 
au diable vert (E. ABOUT, Le Turco). 
II avait vecu deux ans avec les 
Touareg, sous la tente, au diable 
vauvert (P. BENOIT, L'Atlantide). 

5. Avoir le diable au corps, To be exceed- 

ingly active, energetic, to be feverishly 
excited, to have the devil in one, (of a 
child) to be a mischieveous young dog, 
a regular romp, to be uncontrollable, 
quite unmanageable, never still. 

II fallait positivement avoir le 
diable au corps pour faire du tennis 
a cette heure de la journee et par 
une temperature pareille (A. ALLAIS, 
L' Affaire Blair eau). 

6. C'est le diable! It's difficult, It's the 
very devil. C'est la (or Voild) le diable, 
There's the rub, That's the trouble. 
Le diable, c'est que . . ., The diffi- 
culty is that . . . Qa (or Ce) n* est pas 
le diable t It's not so very difficult. 
C'est le diable a confesser, It is terribly 
hard to do, It is almost an impossi- 

Je crois que la pairie vous irait 
comme un gant (see Appendix sub 
gant). Ah ! croyez-vous ? Mais, 
voild le diable ! vous ne faites partie 
d'aucune categorie . . . vous n'etes 
pas encore de 1'Institut (AuoiER BT 
SANDEATJ, Le Gendre de M. Poirier). 

Le diable, c'est g"&'une annee 
compte aussi bien pour moi que pour 



7. Du diable si . . ., I'll be blowed (I'm 
jiggered) if . . . e.g. Du diable si je le 
sais ! Cp. 13. 

8. Du diable or De tous les diables, Exces- 

sive, extreme, devilish e.g. Un bruit 
du diable (or de tous les diables), A hell 
of a noise, the deuce of a racket. 
Aller a une vitesse du diable (or de tous 
les diables), To scorch like hell. Se 
donner un mal du diable, To take no 
end of trouble. 

J'avais un trac (' fear ') de tous les 

diables (G. COTTBTELHSTE, Madelon 9 

Margot et Cie). 
La premiere fois elle a eu un 

chagrin de tous les diables (BsiETrx, 

La petite Amie). 
Mais il y a des chevaux qui ont 

une peur de tous les diables des 

eclairs (GYP, Une Passionnette). 

9. Faire le diable a quatre, To make (kick 
up) a dreadful (terrible, tremendous) 
row, to play the very deuce, to play all 
sorts of tricks, to play old Harry, to 
be utterly unmanageable, to make a 
hullabaloo e.g. Ces enfants font le 
diable a guatre quand le pre est absent. 




This expression originated at the time of the 
mediaeval miracle plays, when la diablerie 
denoted the racket made by the actors who 
took the parts of the devils ; for la petite 
diablerie there were two devils, for la grande 
diablerie four. 

Elle reprit son hausse-col, sa go- 
dille et sa casaque, fourbit sa flam- 
berge et fit encore le diabie a quatre, 
tant qu'enfin le diabie 1'emporta 
(G. DESCHAMPS, La Vie etles Livres). 

10. Le diabie et son train. Endless diffi- 
culties or A very great number of 
diverse things. 

De la regrets, mecontentements, 
parfois reproches, le diabie et son 
train (C. DE BEBKELEY, Instinct du 

11. Loger le diabie dans sa bourse. To be 
hard up, penniless, in Queer Street. 
Cp. 14. 

This figure of speech goes back in allprobability 
to the time of Louis IX at least, when coins 
were stamped on one side with a cross, which 
served to keep the devil away. Accordingly, 
as soon as the purse was empty, the devil 
could safely take up his abode there. 

12. Quand on parle du diabie, on en voit les 
cornes, Speak of the devil and you're 
sure to see his horns. 

" Tu nous invites, neanmoins, a 
recevoir M. Carbolle ..." Le tim- 
bre de 1'entree coupa la parole au 
pere. La petite soeur la saisit, 
pour emettre un dicton : " Quand on 
parle du diabie, on en voit les comes " 
(C. H. HIESCH, Le Oceur de Poupette}. 

13. (Que) le diablem* emporte si . . ./ May 
I be blowed if . . . ! The deuce take 
me if . . . ! 

Similar in force to 7. 

14. Tirer le diabie par la queue, To be 
always hard up for a living, to lead a 
struggling existence, to struggle for a 
living, to find it hard to make ends 
meet, to be in Queer Street. 

Lit. 'to pull the devil by Ms tail', which 
suggests the picture of a poor man who, in 
his plight, calls upon the devil to help him, 
but who, just before concluding the pact 
whereby he will sell his soul in exchange 
for wealth, hesitates, lets the devil depart 
and then runs after him, pulling him by 
the tail in the hope of coming to some 

Sans mon genie, car j'ai du talent 
comme parfumeur, nous serions de 
petits detaillants, nous tirerions le 
diabie par la queue pour joindre les 
deux bouts (BALZAC, Cesar Birotteau). 

15. Un diabie, applied to a person. The 
word diabie having lost much of its 

original force , it is not surprising that 
it is not always disparaging when 
applied to persons e.g. un bon diabie, 
a man whose qualities on the whole 
outweigh his defects, not a bad fel- 
low ; un pauvre diabie, a poor devil 
(worth of sympathy) ; un grand 
diabie, a tall fellow. 

(B) Inter j. Diabie / or Que diabie ! The 
deuce I Hang it all ! 

On ne va pas se brouiller, que 

diabie J ajouta-t-il. Errare humanum 

est, quoi 1 (G. COTJIITELINE, jBoubou- 


diablement, adv. Deucedly, excessively. 
dieu,w.m. I. A Dieuneplaise! God for- 
bid ! 

Vous ne 1'avez pas mise au cour- 

ant ? A Dieu ne plaise I (E. Es~ 

TATJNIE, ISInfirme aux Mains de 


2. Dieu me pardonne / Well, I never I 
Well, upon my word ! 
An interjection denoting surprise on the 
part of a person who sees aether appear 
unexpectedly, or witnesses a thing for which 
he is quite unprepared. The speaker, as it 
were, feels some hesitation about uttering 
what he is going to say ; he is afraid he may 
be mistaken, he can hardly believe his eyes, 
and in order to protect himself in case he 
is mistaken, he calls upon Heaven to forgive 

C'est, Dieu me pardonne I Paul 

qui se dispute avec Bijou 1 (GYP, 

Mais qni vient la ? Di&u me par- 
donne, c*est madame Guerin (E. 
ATTGIEB, Matire Gueriri). 

3. Donner le bon Dieu sans confession a 

quelqu'un e.g. On lui donnerait le bon 

Dieu sans confession, One would take 

him at his own estimation. 

e bon Dieu here denotes * communion *, and 

the phrase is said of one who has an innocent 


Pourquoi la jeune personne a qui 
Von aurait donne le bon Dieu sans 
confession etait-elle accusee d'em- 
poisonnement sans pouvoir prouver 
son innocence ? (IF. COPSE, Un 
nouveau Tantale). 

4. Est-il (or Est-ce) Dieu possible? Ce 

n'est pas Dieu possible ! Dieu is often 
introduced in familiar speech before 
possible for purposes of stress in excla- 

Stands for: Mon Dieu, comment est-il (or 
Mon Dieu, il n'est pas) possible! Popular 
form : G'est-y Dieu possible. 

Mtait-ce Dieu possible d'en etre 




reduit & cette misere ? (ZoLA, Ger- 

5. Jurer ses grands dieux, To swear by 
all one's gods, '-t by all one holds 
sacred, to vow and swear, to affirm 

Le maire et le juge de paix jurerent 
leurs grands dieux que le citoyen 
Baujard n'avait jamais mis les pieds 
a Souilly (A. THEURIET, La Chanoin- 

*6. Manger le bon Dieu, To go to com- 

Et tfest du propre d'aller manger le 
bon Dieu en guignant les hommes 
(ZoLA, L'Assommoir), 
. Mon Dieu ! a very mild interjection, 
in no way profane, equivalent to : 
Heavens I Good gracious ! Pear me ! 
Bless me \ 

There is a vast difference between mon Dieu I 
aad nom de Dieu ! a violent oath of which, a 
sfcill more forcible form is sacr & nom de Dieu ! 
see nom 2). 

M on Dieu, si vous saviez combien 
tout cela m'est egal ! (V. CHERBTJLIEZ, 
Dldee de Jean Teterol). 
difficile, adj. Eire difficile, To be particu- 
lar, hard to please, over-dainty, trying. 
laire le difficile, to be very particular, 
to turn up one's nose. II n'est pas 
difficile, He is easily pleased. 

See better (Gyp). 

*digue-digue, n.f. *L Eire en digue-digue, 
(a) To be mad, crazy; (b) (more 
rarely) To be drunk. 

2. Tomber en digue-digue, To have a 
fainting (or epileptic) fit. Un batteur 
de digue-digue, A tramp who pretends 
to be seized with a fit. 
dinfle, n.f. Silly woman, goose. 

Lit. ' turkey-hen '. 
dindon, n.m. 1. Silly man, fool, dupe. 

Mt. ' turkey-cock '. 

2. Sire le dindon de la farce, To be the 
dupe, the butt, the laughing-stock. 
In the farces or comedies of the Middle Ages 
the appellation of p&es dindons was applied 
to the rdles of dupes or simpletons, by 
allusion no doubt to the proverbial stupidity 
of turkeys. 

diner, n.m. Un diner prie, A regular 
dinner-party, for which formal invita- 
tions are sent out. 

*dingo or dingue, adj. inv. Daft, barmy, 
potty, dotty. 

IProm the Lorraine patois, in which dingot = 
* cracked '. 

Pour s'emb$ter dans ce bas monde, 

ilfaut tre dingo \ (V. MARGUERITTE, 
La Oarconne). 

See abruti (Barbusse). 
*dinguer, vb. intr. Envoy er dinguer, (a) To 
fling (throw) away (with contempt or 
in disgust), to chuck up. 
(b) To send packing, to the devil, to the 
deuce. Cp. envoyer promener. 

Envoyer dinguer comes from the game of 
spinning-top, and means ht. ' to send the top 
spinning along a wall'. The verb dinguer 
is properly a provincialism : in the Vosges 
it denotes *to rebound with a ringing 
sound ' ; in Lorraine, * to ring ', * to tinkle * 
(SAIN^AN, Langage parisien, pp. 113, 303, 

Le forgeron s'etait offert pour lui 
montrer, mais 1'autre V avail envoy e 
dinguer, en accusant la science de 
maigrir le monde (ZoLA, UAssom- 

dire, vb. tr. 1. A qui le dites-vous (or fe- 
tu) ? Am I not perfectly aware of it ? 
Don't I know it ? 

Un prison, mon cher monsieur 
Bluette, n'est pas un casino. A qui 
le dites-vows ? (A. ALLAIS, V Affaire 
Blair eau). 

Enfin quel metier n'a pas ses 
risques ? A qui le dites-vous ? . . . 
Mon pauvre mari . . . qui <tait 
dans une scierie ... (0. H. HIESOH, 
" Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 

2. Cela ne me dit rien, That has no effect 
upon me, I have no desire for it, That 
does not appeal to me. Si cela vous 
dit, If you feel like it ( = Si le cceur vous 
en dit ; see COBUT 10). 

Quand $a me dit de voir un 
camarade, je le vois ; quand $a ne 
me dit pas, chacun chez soi (H. 
LAVEDAIT, Le nouveau Jeu). 

Nous recommencerons quand $a 
te dira (MAUPASSANT, Bel-Ami}. 

3. Gela va sans dire, That goes without 

saying, That is taken for granted, Of 
course. Cp. Gela va de soi, under 
aller 4. 

4. G^est dit I or Voila qui est dit / Agreed ! 
That's settled ! 

5. G*est tout dire, Need one say more ? 
That tells a tale e.g. JEst-il riche ? 
II vient de s^ojfrir deux autos. C'est 
tout dire. Is he rich ? He has just 
treated himself to two cars. 'Nuff 

6. Ce tfest (or G'est) pas pour dire, I don't 
like to say it, but . . ., Well, I must 
say . . . e.g. Ce n'est pas pour dire. 




mats vous n'etes pas poli ! Excuse my 
saying so, but you're not very polite ! 
Ben (= Eh bien), c'est pas pour 
dire, fit la petite, vous avez manque 
faire un beau coup ! (GYP, Miche). 
Chacun fait a son idee. C*est pas 
pour dire, mais 9a manque d'organi- 
sation (R. DOBGELES, Le Cabaret de 
la belle Femme). 

7. (Et) Dire que . . ., To think that . . . 

The exact English equivalents Penserque . . . 
and Songer que . . . are also used e.g. * Ah, 
docteur, penser que c'est vous la cause de cet 
absurde souper ! * (P. BOUKGKET, Nouveaux 
Pastels) . ' Et songer qu'il s 'e"tait cruhabile ! ' 
(ibid.). < 

Dire que, depuis le matin, mon- 
sieur Homais, ils ont peut-etre fait 
quinze parties et bu huit pots de 
cidre ! (FLATJBEET, Madame JBovary). 
C'est tout de meme une beUe fille. 
Et dire gw'il ne s'en etait pas apercu 
jusque-14 ! (MAUPASSANT, La Mar- 
See demander I (Daudet). 

8. Dis (or Dites) done I I say ! 

9. Je ne vous le fais pas dire, You admit 

it yourself. 

10. Je ne vous Venvoie pas dire t I tell you 
that to your face. 

11. Cen'est rien de le dire or C'est rien de le 
dire, It's not the word for it ! Not 
'arf ! 

Ah ! mon pauvre ami ! . . . ce 
que le r^gisseur de votre pere est 
embetant, c'est rien de le dire/ (Gyp, 

See crevant 1 (Aicard). 

12. Comme dit ?autre : see autre 2. 

13. Comme gui dirait, So to speak, as it 
were, a sort of e.g. C'est comme gui 
dirait un fou 9 He is more or less mad. 
Lit. ' as if one should say '. Qui here has 
the value of the Latin siguis, as frequently 
in Old French. This use of gui is also 
retained in the old proverb Tout vient d point 
gui sait attendre (Everything comes to the man 
who waits), which is sometimes modernized 
into Tout vient d point d gui sait attendre by 
writers who fail to see a survival of the old 
language in this use of gui. 

Une cousine a elle, qui est re- 
ligieuse & Lyon, 1'a decidee a la re- 
joindre. Elle sera, la-bas, soeur con- 
verse, comme gui dirait servante (IF. 
COPPEE, Bonheur mangiie). 

14. II ne croyait pas si bien dire, He did 
not know he was right to that extent, 
He did not know he had hit the mark. 

Eh ! serais.-tu de" j& Douche" ? a cette 

heure-ci ? cria le professeur en riant. 
II ne croyait pas si bien dire. 
Sebastien se leva ... (A. CAPUS, 

15. II tfy a pas a dire, There's no denying 
that, It's no use objecting or denying, 
You can't get away from that, There's 
no gainsaying that, There is no doubt 
about it. 

Elliptical for : tt n'y a pas d dire, cela est ainsi. 
In popular speech the shortened form II n"y 
a pas or Y a pas is often used. 

C'est gentil chez moi, il n*y a pas a 

dire (H. LAVEDAN, Le nouveau Jeu). 

T a pas a dire . . . pour une belle 

langue, c'est une belle langue . . . 

(Gyp, Les Froussards). 

11 rfy a pas a dire, ces messieurs 
pretres sont joliment forts (F. 
CoppiE, Le Tableau d*$glise). 

See Jbranehe 1 (Gyp), lanc 2 
(Capus), retourner 1 (Hirsch). 

16. Je ne dis pas, I don't say that, I 
won't commit myself. 

Au lieu de re"pondre simplement 
qu'il ne partait pas du tout, qu'il 
n'avait jamais eu Fintention de 
partir, le pauvre Tartarin la pre- 
miere fois qu'on lui parla de ce 
voyage fit d'un petit air evasif : 
"He! ... he! ... peut-etre . . . 
je ne dis pas." (A. DAUDET, Tar- 
tarin de Tarascon). 

17. Je ne vous (or te) dis que $a (or cela), 
You mark my words, I can tell you, 
Take my word for it. 

May also have the force of * I cannot tell 
you any more, but it is a fact '. 

Joseph est prevenu, il nous pre- 
pare des regalades . . . je ne te dis 
que $a ! (H. LAVEDAN, Nocturnes). 

C'est un type, mon vieux, un 
type qui vous forme, je ne te dis 
que cela (M. ABLAND, Les Ames en 

See besogne (Margueritte), cMpie 2 

18. On m'en a dit sur lui r I've heard some 
fine tales about him (ironical). 

On m'en a dit sur lui . . . qui ne 
me porterait pas a le frequenter 
(C. H. BJESOH, "Petit" Louis, 

19. Quand je vous le disais ! or Je vous le 
disais bien / or Je vous ravais bien dit / 
I told you so ! Didn't I tell you so ? 
What did I tell you ? 

"e vous disais de vous 




mefier des Algeriennes ! (A. DATTDET, 

Tartarin de Tarascon). 

20. Qu'est-ce a dire'/ What do you mean 

by that ? What is the meaning of 


*21. Qu'il dit, So he says or Says he. 

Popular abbreviation, in the first case for d ce 
qu'il dit, 'according to him', and in the 
second popular substitution for dit-il. 

II s'agit qu'il fasse de la boxe, 
Feraande ! Qu'il dit, maman ! . 
Avant qu'il ouvre le bee, tu lui 
donnes raison, d'abord ! (C. H. 
HIRSCH, " Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 

22. Se le tenir pour dit, To bear in mind 
that there is nothing more to be said 
e.g. Tenez-vous-le pour dit / Don't let 
me have to tell you again ! Je me le 
suis tenu pour dit, I took it for granted. 
Qu'il se le tienne pour dit i Let him 
consider that as settled, Let him con- 
sider himself as warned, Let him be- 
have himself. 

Au besoin, je saurais apprivoi- 
ser un homme, lui repondis-je. Le 
baron se le tint pour dit. II baisa la 
main de Mme de Lievitz et se retira 
(V. CHERBULIEZ, L'Aventure de 
Ladislas Bolslci). 

Ce mariage se fera, tenez-vous-le 
pour dit (id., Miss Hovel), 

23. Tout n'est pas dit, The last word has 
not been said in the matter, The case 
will come up again, We have not heard 
the last of it yet. 

24. Vous m*en direz tant! This expres- 
sion, which is often used ironically, re- 
sembles the English ' Really ! * in its 
various shades of meaning. It ex- 
presses astonishment, sometimes min- 
gled with doubt, and may be rendered 
by : That alters the case ! Now I 
understand, why did you not say so at 
first ? Now you're talking ! There's 
no going against such a reason as that ! 
You don't say so ! 

J'ai montre son ordonnance a 
madame Langlois. La concierge ? 
Elle a et6 garde-malade. Tu m'en 
diras tant / (BRIETJX, Les Hannetons). 

Un verre de limonade ? Nbn, 
merci. Un petit verre de rhum ? 
Vous rtfen direz tant / (H. DTJVER- 
isrois, Edgar). 

Elvidemmentc'etaitaprevoir. . . . 
Elle s'appeUe Simone, a propos . . . 
Alcala, tres gravement, sourit : j 

Vous m'en direz tant! (C. FARRERE, 
Quatorze Eistoires de Soldats)* 
25. Laissezdire, Let people say what they 


*disque, n.m. Siffler au disque, To solicit 
a thing (in vain), to have to whistle for 
a thing. 

In reference to the disque, ' signal ', on rail- 
ways ; siffler au disque means lit. ' to whistle 
in order to find out if the line is clear '. 

Rien a faire de cette femme-la. 
J'ai siffle au disque assez longtemps. 
Pas meche ( l Nothing doing '). La 
voie est barree. Pardieu ! vous, 
Axel, nous savons votre facon de 
siffler au disque, dit Christian, quand 
il eut compris cette expression pas- 
see de Pargot des mecaniciens dans 
celui de la haute gomme (* dandies ') 
(A. DATJDET, Les Rois en Exil). 
divette, n.f. Woman who sings in an 
operette or at a cafe-concert. 
Diminutive of diva, ' famous singer % prima 
dix, adj. Je vous le donne en dix : see 

donner (A) 7. 

dix-liuit, n.m. Se mettre sur son dix-Jiuit, 
To put on one's best clothes, to dress 
(tog) up. Cp. se mettre sur son 

There is probably no special reference in this 
use of dix-huit, which in this case merely 
implies a great number of things (cp. trente- 
et-un, trente-six). Some, however, see in it 
the result of a play on words : a dix-huit is a 
somewhat worn garment which has been 
turned inside out and is therefore deux fois 
neui ('twice new"), just as dix-huit is deux 
fois neuf ('twice nine*) (ROBERT, Phrasfc 
ologie, p. 251). 
dodo, n.m. 1. Sleep, by-by. Faire dodo, 

To sleep. 

2. Bed. Aller au dodo, To go to bed, to 
go to by-by. 

The word belongs to children's speech ; cp. 
the lullaby : Dodo, I' enfant, do! (' Hush-a- 
by,babyl'). L'enfantdormirabientdt. Dodo, 
dodinette! Dodo, dodino! 

Tu resteras tranquiUement a m'at- 

tendre dans le dodo (MAUPASSANT, 

Une Soiree). 

doigt, n.m. 1. A deux doigts de . . ., 
Within an inch of . . . e.g. A deux 
doigts de la mort, Within an ace of 
death, at death's door. 

II s'etait trouve jadis a deux 

doigts de sa perte (A. FRANCE, Le 

Mannequin d* Osier). 

2. Au doigt et a Vceil e.g. Obeir a guel- 
qu'un au doigt et a Vo&il, To be at 
somebody's beck and call. Similarly 




Mener quelqu'un au doigt et a I' ceil, To 

rule one with a rod of iron. 

From the old phrase d I'ceil et au doigt, i.e. 

* by sight and touch '. 

Quant a ces braves garQons que 
j'ai amenes ici, ils m'obeiront au 
doigt et a Vosil . . . je reponds d'eux 
comme de moi (A. THEUEIET, La 

3. Donner sur les doigts a quelqu'un e.g. 

Je lui ai donne sur les doigts, I rapped 
his knuckles for him (lit. and J?#.). On 
lui a donne sur les doigts, He was given 
a rap on the knuckles, He was severely 
reproved. Similarly A voir (Recevoir) sur 
les doigts, To be punished, to receive a 
rap on the knuckles. 

4. laire toucher quelque chose du doigt 

e.g. On le lui a fait toucher du doigt, He 
was shown his mistake. 

5. Faire un doigt de cour a une femme, To 
court a woman a little e.g. II lui a 
fait un doigt de cour, He had a little 
flirtation with her. Cp. 11. 

Je te prie d'etre aimable avec elle, 
de lui f air e un doigt de cour (BBIETIX, 
La Petite Amie). 

6. Fourrer le doigt partout e.g. II faut 
qu'il fourre le doigt partout, He must 
have a finger in everyone's pie, He 
pokes his nose into everything. 

A more familiar variant is Fourrer le nez 
partout ; see nez 9. 

7. Mettre le doigt dessus, To put one's 
finger on the spot (fig.) e.g. II a mis 
le doigt dessus,^ He has guessed aright, 
He has hit it, hit the (right) nail 
on the head, He has touched the 

8. M cm petit doigt me I' a dit, A little bird 
told me (so). 

In reference to the custom of jokinglyFmakiag 
pretence of listening to one's little finger. 
Inutile de vous defendre I Mm 

petit doigt m'a tout conte (H. BEBN- 

STErs, Le Detour). 

9. Se mettre (or Se fourrer) le doigt dans (jusqu'au covde), To be grossly 
mistaken, to labour under a delusion, 
to be quite out. 

Je suis sur que vous croyez a cette 
prediction absurde . . . et qu'elle 
vous inquiete, Vous vous fourrez 
le doigt dans V&il. D'abord, je 
n'y crois pas. . . . Ensuite, quand 
mSme j'y croirais, 9a ne m'in- 
quie'terait pas (GYP, La Oinguette). 

See gourer 2 (Duvernois). 

10. S'en mordre les doigts , To repent what 
one has done, to rue bitterly. 

11. Un doigt de e.g. Un doigt de vin f a 
toothful of wine. See 5. 

Lit. ' a finger-breadth '. Used to denote an 
undetermined quantity, which may be big 
or small, according to the circumstances 
e.g. Tin doigt de rouge sur lesjoues may imply 
a thick coat of rouge on the cheeks. 

*domino, n.m. *1. Tooth. Le jeu de 
dominos, Teeth, c ivories '. Jouer des 
dominos, To eat. 

Lit. * domino*. Op. the English slang 
* domino-box ' for mouth. 

*2. Bone, in the expression Boite a dominos, 

Coffin, * cold-meat box *. 
done, conj. The following uses of done 
(lit. * then % * therefore *, * consequent- 
ly ', e so *), which often have no exact 
equivalent in English, should be care- 
fully noted : 

1. Done serves to show that an exclama- 

tion is brought about by attendant cir- 
cumstances cp., for example, Qu'il 
est ignorant / and Qu'il est done ignor- 
ant J 

Qu'il doit etre beau en uniforme. 
Que tu es done enfant pour ton 
age ! (E. AUGIEB, Maitre Guerin). 

2. Similarly, with an imperative, done 

serves to show that the injunction is 
provoked by attendant circumstances, 
and in this case the addition of done 
also serves to impart urgency to the 
commaDd cp., for example, Venezj 
and Venez done f Do come! laites 
done attention / Do look where you're 
going I 

Votre pere a eu confiance en 
moi . . . il m'a devoile sa position, 
il m'a dit . . . Achevez, achevez 
done 1 (BALZAO, Mercadet). 

3. Done is sometimes added, ironically, to 
an imperative, to imply that the con- 
trary is meant. 

L'air doux, reserve^ timide mme, 
fiez-vous done aux jeunes filles ! (H. 
MALOT, La belle madame Donis). 

4. Added to a question, done marks im- 

patience e.g. Que disait done la le 
petit ? What was the youngster talking 
about ? Ou est done Pierre ? Where- 
ever is Peter ? Qu'avez-vous done ? 
Why, what's the matter ? 

5. Done may also be introduced in a reply 

to indicate impatience, annoyance, 
surprise, or incredulity. In this case 
it always comes at the end of the 


phrase, and has the force of 'natur- 
ally ', * of course ', * why ! * 

Oil allons-nous ? A la musique, 
done ! voir mes amis (R. BAZIN, De 
toute son Ame). 

Et puis, voil^i que tout d'un coup 

. . . arrive M. Robert. Qui ca, M. 

Robert ? Robert Hargand, done I 

(O. MIBBEATJ, Les mauvais Mergers). 

6. Finally, done, becoming more and more 

colourless, may be added to a word as 

a kind of support in order to complete 

the thought of the speaker or that of 

the person he is addressing. In this 

case its force is similar to that of ca in 

qui ca ? pourquoi ca ? See $a 2, 

Pour le moment, allons souper, tu 
dois avoir f aim ? . . . Et sommeil, 
done ! (H. MALOT, La belle Madame 

Ah, non ! . . . une raseuse ( e bore " ), 
ellel . . . et son Gozlin de mari, 
done ! (GYP, Joies d? Amour). 
dondon, n.f. Stout woman ; usually in 
the phrase une grosse (or forte) dondon, 
a big fat wench. 

Les soldats regardaient sortir les 
filles, de fortes dondons aux corsages 
voyants (R. DORGELES, Les Groix de 

donner. (A) vb. tr. *1. To give away, 
blow the gaS on. Cp. vendre. 

Si jamais tu me donnes, tu seras 
tue (J. H. Rosmr, Marfhe). 

2. Oela (me) donne a penser, That arouses 
my (one's) suspicions. 

3. C'est a vous a (or de) donner, It is your 
turn to deal (the cards). See 6tre 2. 

4. C'est donne, It's simply giving it away, 
It's dirt-cheap. 

J'espere que vous f erez payer cher 
pour voir ca ? Cinquante francs les 
places assises. C'est donne I (GYP, 
Le Baron Slnal). 

5. Donnant donnant, Give and take, 

Pair's fair, Nothing for nothing. 
See Mais (Richepin). 

6. Quel dge lui donnez-vous ? How old do 
you take him (her) to be ? On ne lui 
donnerait pas trente ans, You would 
not take him (her) for thirty. Mle se 
donne vingt ans, on lui en donnerait 
davantage, She says she is twenty, but 
one would take her for more. 

On pouvait lui donner environ 
trente-cinq ans ; aussi nous le re- 

144 aonner 

gardions comme un vieiliard (P. 

MEBIMEE, Le Coup de Pistolet). 

7. Je vous le donne en cent (or dix or mille), 
I give you a hundred (ten, a thou- 
sand) guesses, It is a hundred (ten, a 
thousand) to one against your guessing 
it, I bet you'll never guess. 
Elliptical for Je vous le donne d deviner (' to 
guess *) en cent, etc., fois. 

Qui done la voit ? Et qui voit- 
elle ? Je vous le donne en cent (R. 
BOYLBSVE, Les nouvelles Lemons 

8. S'en donner, To give oneself to, to go 

in for, to have one's fill of, to have a 
good time e.g. J'ai passe une semaine 
au bord de la mer et je m'en suis donne, 
I spent a week at the sea- side and I 
had a jolly good time, I thoroughly 
enjoyed myself. 

Elliptical for se donner du plaisir or du Ion 
temps. The plirase implies excitement 
or activity. Cp. s'en donner d co&ur joie 
(sub eceur 1) and s'en payer (sub payer 4). 
(B) vb. intr. 1. (Of troops) To charge, 
attack e.g. Le regiment a donne, The 
regiment has attacked, engaged. La 
garde avait donne avec vigueur, The 
Guards had attacked vigorously. 
Elliptical for donner I'assaut. 

Derriere die, Fartillerie des forts 
entamait la canonnade. Sur tout 
1'horizon en avant, le tonnerre se 
repercuta. Cette fois, on allait 
donner (P. ET V. MABCHJERITTE, Les 
Trongons du Glaive). 

2. Donner dans, (a) (of persons) To go in 
for, to give oneself up to, to believe in, 
to be partial to, fond of e.g. 11 donna 
dans le luxe, He gave himself up 
to luxury ; (6) To fall into e.g. 
donner dans le pitye, to fall into the 

(a) J'ai peur que vous ne voyiez 
depuis quelque temps mauvaise 
compagnie, et que vous ne donniez 
dans la frequentation des bourgeois, 
pour m'accuser de pareilles choses 
(T. GAUTIEB, Jean et Jeannette). 

3. Donner, (of the sun) To shine e.g. Le 

soleil donne de ce cdte, The sun falls on 
this side. Le soleil lui donne dans les 
yeux, The sun is shining in his eyes. 
Le soleil donnait en plein sur ma tete, 
The sun was shining hot right above 
my head. 
Elliptical for donner sa lumidre. 

C'etait un petit carr6 de terre 
grand comme un mouchoir et en- 


145 dos 

toure de maisons, si hautes, que le 
soleil y donnait seulement pendant 
deux ou trois heures par jour (MATT- 
PASSANT, Les Dimanches (Tun Bour- 

4. Donner sur, (a) (of a window ; elliptical 
for donner vue or jour sur} To look out 
on to, to overlook e.g. Cette fenetre 
donne sur la rue ; (b) (of a door ; 
elliptical for donner acces sur) To open 
on to e.g. Cette porte donne sur le 
vestibule ; (c) (of a ship) To strike on 
e.g. Le navire a donne sur un recif, 
The ship struck on a reef. 

Cette fenfire donnait sur les jardins 
d'un vaste hotel du voisinage (T. 
GATJTIEK, Jean et Jeannette). 
dorinlr, vb. intr. 1. A dormir debout e.g. 
Des contes (or histoires) a dormir debout, 
Long, tedious, nonsensical stories, old 
wives' tales. II rfy a pas un mot de 
vrai : c'est un conte a dormir debout, 
There's not a word of truth in it : it's 
a cock-and-bull story. 
Lit. tales so nonsensical that one could fall 
asleep standing by listening to them. 

II acceptait pour argent comptant 
les histoires a dormir debout que les 
militaires lui contaient (G. COTJRTE- 
LTO:, Les Gaietes de VEscadrori). 

See ailtre 1 (Farrere). 
2. Qui dort dine, Sleeping is as good as 

eating, Sleep is as good as a dinner. 
dos, n.m. 1. Avoir bon dos e.g. II a bon 
dos, He has a broad back (fig.}, His 
back is broad enough to stand a good 

Les magistrats ne purent rien 
de'couvrir et Us abandonnerent 
1'mstruction, definitivement. . . . 
Leur opinion 6tait que le coup avait 
ete execute* par d'experts cam- 
brioleurs de Paris . . . Paris a bon 
dos (O. MIRBEATT, Le Journal ffune 
Femme de Ohambre). 

2. Donner (or Faire) froid dans le dos a 

quelqu'un, To send cold shivers down 

a person's back. 

Elle me donnait froid dans le dos 
quand elle s'amusait a faire tour- 
ner ses bagues devenues trop larges 
pourses doigts amaigris (F. CORPSE, 
Bonnes Fortunes}. 

3. En avoir plein le dos, To be sick and 
tired of, to be fed up with (a person or 
thing) e.g. J'en ai plein le dos, I'm 
fed up (with it). 

This stands for the less familiar Avoir (or 
Porter] quelqu'un (quelque chose) sur son dos. 

Entre nous, je crois quails ont de 
la guerre plein le dos et qu'ils ren- 
treront bientot chez eux (A. THEU- 
EIET, La Chanoinesse), 

La vie est une froide plaisanterie, 
trop froide et pas assez plaisante. 
J'en ai, quant a moi, plein le dos 
(FLAUBERT, Correspondance). 

4. Faire le gros dos, To show joy at being 

cajoled or flattered. 

Lit . of a cat, * to arch its back *. 

Et les quatre temoins donner- 
ent des tapes sur les epaules du zin- 
gueur qui faisait le gros dos (ZoLA, 
U Assommoir} . 

5. Mettre quelgue chose sur le dos a quel- 
qu'un, To cast the blame or responsi- 
bility upon somebody e.g. II m?a mis 
cela sur le dos, He threw the blame on 

6. N* avoir rien a se mettre sur le dos, To 
have nothing to wear, to put on. 

Elle declara avec impatience : 
Que veux-tu que je me mette sur le 
dos pour aller la ? II n'y avait pas 
songe ; il balbutia : Mais la robe 
avec laqnelle tu vas au theatre 
(MATTPASSANT, La Parure}. 

7. Ne pas y alter avec le dos de la cuiller, 

(a) To go it strong, to go at it hammer 

and tongs, not to do things by halves ; 

(6) To natter unduly, to lay it on thick. 

Lit. * not to go at it with the back of the spoon ' . 

Cp. ne pas y aller de main morte, sub main 12. 

Ah ! elle rfy alia pas avec le dos de 

la cuiller ; efle le mit tout nu sur le 

tapis, son ccaur (G. COTTRTELINE, 


8. Scier le dos a quelqu'un, To importune, 
bore, plague, annoy a person e.g. II 
me scie le dos, He bores me to death. 
Ne me sciez pas le dos / Don't bother 
me ! 

Like a burden which is heavy and troublesome 
to carry, and which, as a result of the move- 
ments of the body, works up and down the 
back in the manner of a saw. 

H n'y a que vous que je regret- 
terai; les autres me scient le dos 
(BALZAC, Le Medecin de Oampagne). 
Je viens d'avaler tout 1'odieux 
Joseph de Maistre. Nous a-t-on 
assez scii le dos avec ce monsieur-la ? 
(FLAUBERT, Correspondence}. 

9. Se mettre quelqu'un a dos, To make an 

enemy of a person e.g. Vous vous le 
mettrez a dos, You will set him against 




you. II se met tout le monde d dos, He 
turns everybody against him. 
By allusion to the military phrase avoir 
V&nnemi d dos, ' to have the enemy ready to 
attack from behind ' ; or possibly in reference 
to the fact that people who have fallen out 
turn their backs on each other. 

a serait trop bete, de nous mettre 
Gibolle d dos 9 pour une bonne f ernme 
(C. H. HIRSCH, "Petit" Louis, 

*10. Un dos-vert or Un dos or TJn dos -fin, 
Pimp, bully, ponce. 
Un dos-vert, often abbreviated into dos, is 
synonymous with maquereau (q.v.), ht. 
'mackerel', a fish with a very dark bltie- 
green bach. Tor dos-fin, cp. dauphin. 

II essaya de rire : " Allons, ne 
fais pas ta poire " (* Don't put on 
airs '). Elle lui tourna les talons en 
declarant : Je ne frequente pas les 
dos verts (MATTPASSANT, Bel- Ami). 
*douWard or double, n.m. *1. Sergeant- 

Probably by allusion to the sergeant-major's 
double stripe. 
*2. Be-enlisted soldier. 
War-time military slang. 

S, adj. Un . . . double d'un . . . 
e.g. Un savant double d'un artiste, A 
scholar and an artist at the same time, 
in one. 

Lit. 'lined with* e.g. un manteau doubtt de 
fourrure, ' a fur-lined cloak '. 

Le veritable emissaire, disait-il, 
est un lion double d'un renard (V. 
CHEEBUUEZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

doublure, n.f. 1. (Theatrical) Under- 

Lit. 'lining *. Cp. doublet un rdle t ' to under- 
study a part ". 

2. Les doublures se touchent, To be stony- 


Lit. * the linings (of one's pocket) meet '. 
douce, adj. (fern, of doux). *1. A la douce 
e.g. Comment ca va ? Qa va tout a 
la douce, How goes it ? So-so. 
*2. En douce or Un douce $oil$oil, Quietly, 
cautiously, furtively, on the Q.T. 
e.g. Vas-y en douce 1 Easy does it ! 
Gallons en douce! Let us hop it 
quietly ! 

A familiar form of en douceur, 'gently*, 
' calmly '. 

Apres, les fauteuils du salon, qui 
etaient en acajou, y ont passe en 
douce (H. BABBUSSE, Le Feu). 
See gazer 1 (Carco). 

3. Se la couler douce ; see collier 2. 

doucement or doneettement, adv. Moder- 
ately well, only so-so e.g. Les 
affaires vont doucement, Business is 
only so-so. Comment va le malade ? 
Bien doucement, How is the patient ? 
Only so-so. 

douceur, n.f. 1. Des douceurs 9 Sweet 
things, dainties e.g. Les enfants aim- 
ent les douceurs, Children are fond of 
sweet things. 

II possedait maintenant une petite 
epargne, pouvait accorder quelques 
douceurs &, sa chere vieille femme de 
mere (P. COPPEE, Les Fiances de 

2. Conter (or Dire) des douceurs d une 
femme,, To whisper sweet nothings to 
a woman, to spin a woman the yarn (in 
order to gain her graces). 
*douille, n.f. *1. Money. 
*2. Les douilles, Hair. 

Both meanings of the word (which ht. 
'soft', 'delicate*) have passed from old 
jargon into popular speech. 

douloureuse, n.f. 1. Beckoning or bill to 
pay in a restaurant. 

2. Beckoning generaEy. 

This word, recalling the pain and sorrow, 
when comes the dreaded quart d'heure de 
Rabelais, owes its popularity to a play by 
Maurice Donnay (La Douloureuse, 1897), of 
which F. Sarcey wrote : " Et la Douloureuse ? 
Pourquoi ce titre ? La douloureuse, c'est 
Faddition qu'ilfaut qu'on paye au restaurant. 
Eh bien, dans la vie, il faut de rngme qu'on 
paye toutes les fautes que Ton a commises, 
tousles plaisirs illicites que Ton a gofites." 

doyen, n.m. Le doyen (d > dge) f The oldest 
or senior member. Je suis votre doyen, 
I am older than you. G'est notre 
doyenne, She is the oldest of us. 

drag6e, n.f. *1. Bullet. 

In irony ; lit. ' sugar- almond '. Cp. prune, 

2. Tenir la dragee haute d quelqu'un, To 
make a person wait a long time for 
what he desires or To make a person 
pay dearly for what he wants e.g. 
Vous lui tenez la dragee haute, You are 
keeping him a long time in suspense or 
You are making him pay a high price. 
Tenez-lui la dragee haute! Make him 
wait for it or Ask him a big price. 
This may be an allusion to tenir la dragde 
haute d un chien, lit. ' to hold a sugar-almond 
on high to a dog'; to force the dog to 
jump; in order to seize it. The phrase is used 
particularly of a woman who keeps a man 
dangling on a string ". 

Je pourrais te citer de nombreux 
exemples de femmes qui en tenant la 
dragee haute d leurs amants ont 




reussi a se faire epouser (V. CHER- 
BTJLIEZ, Miss Hovel}. 

La comedienne s'etait dit qu'au 
lieu de satisfaire betement tin 
caprice, il y avait plus gros a gagner 
en tenant la dragee Tiaute a Jean 
Tremereuc et en le rendant serieuse- 
ment amoureux (A. THETJRIET, 
Marie- Ange). 

-tt.m. Eire (Se mettre) dans de beaux 
draps (ironical), To be (To get) in a 
fine (regular, nice, pretty) pickle (mess, 
fix) e.g. Me voild dans de beaux draps > 
I'm in a fine (pretty) mess (pickle) ! 
Here's a pretty go ! Mettre quelqrfun 
dans de beaux draps, To place some one 
in a very awkward situation, in a fine 
mess, etc. 
Sometimes jdlfo is substituted for beaux, or 
less frequently the non-ironical adjectives 
mauvais, sales, vilains. 

Remerciez ce brave J3aujard, sans 
lequel nous serions dans de beaux 
draps (A. THETJEIET, La Ghanoin- 

AJh, ! vous nous mettez dans de jolis 
draps et vous m&tne vous pouvez 
vous attendee a etre poursuivi pour 
abus de confiance (C. VATJTEL, Mon 
Cure chez les Pauvres). 
drapeau, n.m. 1. Etre sons les drapeaux, 
To be (To serve) in the army (or 

*2. Planter un drapeau, To run up debts in 
a place (especially at a marchand de vin) 
and not to show oneself again. 
droguer, vb. intr. To wait a long time, to 
grow tired waiting for a person. Faire 
(or Laisser) droguer quefyu'un, To keep 
some one waiting e.g. II m'a fait 
droguer une heure, He kept me kicking 
my heels for an hour. 
From the game of drogue, a card-game played 
in the barracks and also among sailors, in 
which the loser has to wear on his nose a 
little wooden clip not to be removed until he 
wins a game ; during this time he is said 
to droguer, (SATNlta, Langage parisien, 
p. 390). 

Aussi pourquoi Vavait-on laisse 
droguer sur la route de Saint- 
Denis ? (ZOLA, ISAssommoir). 
droit, n.m. 1. A qui de droit e.g. Re- 
mettez ceci a qui de droit, Give this to 
the proper person, to the person whom 
it may concern* 

I/affaire sera denoncee a qui de 
droit (J. RICHEPIST, Flamboche). 

The abbreviated form qui de droit is also 
used with the same meaning as a 
direct object to a verb. 

Cela suffit, Monsieur. Si vous ne 
vous remettez pas imme'diatement 
au travail, j'aviserai qui de droit (M. 
ARLAND, Les Ames en Peine). 
2. Faire son droit, To study the law, to 
be a law student, to be reading for 
the bar. 

Dumanet, proper name. Nickname for an 
artless, gullible soldier. 
The name appears for the first time in La 
Cocarde tricolore (1831), a vaudeville by the 
brothers Cogniard, in which 'Dumanet, a 
young soldier, is made to believe the most 
improbable yarns. 

dur, adj. 1. Goucher sur la dure, To 
sleep (or lie) on bare boards, on the 
bare ground. 
Elliptical for sur une coucM dure. 

Qu'irais-tu faire dans cette galere ? 
Es4u settlement de force a te priver 
de quoi que ce soit, a coucher sur la 
durel (V. CHERBTTLIEZ, ISAventure 

2. En voir de dures, To suffer many hard- 
ships, to have a bad time e.g. Nous en 
avons vu de dures, We have had a 
rough time of it. En faire voir de 
dures a quelqu'un, To give somebody 
a bad time e.g. Je lui en ferai voir 
de dures, I'll give him beans, I'll put 
him through it. Similarly En dire (or 
servir) de dures a quelgvlun, To give 
somebody the rough side of one's 

Some feminine noun, like cTioses, aventures, 
dpreuves, etc., is understood. 

Nous en avons vu de dures, 

n'est-ce pas, d'Avol? (P. ET V. 

MARGUERITTE, Les Trongons du 


See paf (Bernstein). 

*3. Ne pas etre dur, (a) To be a good-tem- 
pered chap, easy to get on with, not 
hard to please ; (6) (in irony) To be 
cheeky, to want a lot e.g. Lui prater 
cent francs? II n'est pas dur / Lend 
him a hundred francs ? What cheek ! 
or He doesn't want much ! 
4. Un dur a cuire, A hardened, strong, 
determined man, a tough *un. 
Lit. 'hard to cook*. 

On pretend meme que ce sont de 

bons militaires, des " dur a cuire " 

et de gais compagnons (M. HARRY, 

La divine Chanson). 





eau, n.f. 1. Aller a van Veau e.g. Tout 
va a vcm I* eau, All is going to rack and 
ruin, to the dogs. 
Lit. * with tlie current *, * down the stream '. 

2. Aller aux eaux f To go to a watering- 
place, to a spa. Similarly Prendre l&s 
eaux, To drink the waters. 

3. C'est porter de Feau a la mer (or a la 
riviere), It is carrying coals to New- 

4. Croyez cela et buvez de I'eau, Swallow 
that if you can ; You will be a fool if 
you swallow all that ; Do not believe 
that, I know it is not true ; Surely you 
are not simple enough to believe that 1 
This expression, used to deride credulous 
persons, implies that the fact or story is 
like something which sticks in the throat 
and needs a deal of water to wash it down. 

5. D'ici la, il pass era (or coulera) bien de 

I' eau sous le(s) pont(s), It will be a long 
time before that happens. 
*6. Eire tout en eau (for the more usual fare 
(tout] en nage), To be bathed in per- 
spiration, to be dripping with sweat. 

Tate pour voir, Titine, dit-elle, 
et elle porta a son front la main 
de Mile Titine. Celle-ci temoigna : 
C'est vrai, qu'elle est en eau \ (C. H. 
Hmsaxi, Le Tigre et Goguelicot). 

7. II n'est pire eau giie Veau qui dort, Still 
waters run deep. 

8. Les eaux sont basses chez nous, We are 
hard up, in low water, on the rocks, 
short of cash. Cp. fonds 2. 

9. Mettre de Veau dans son, win, To modify 
one's tone, to lower one's pretensions, 
to come down a peg. 

JJit. 'to dilute one's wine with water*. 

Je le trouve un peu change, ton 
p&re, depuis quelque temps. II 
vieillit, n'est-ce pas ? Je ne veux 
pas dire $a. II est moins a crin, 
voila tout. Ah ! il a mis de Veau 
dans son vin . . . (H. BATAILLE, 
Maman Golibri). 

10. Nager entre deux eaux, To run with 
the hare and hunt with the hounds, to 
be a trimmer. 

11. jS'en aller (or Finir or Tourner) en eau 
de boudin, To collapse utterly, to come 
to nought, to fizzle out, to end in 

Said of an affair or enterprise which fails 
although It seemed to have everything in its 
favour. Possibly suggested by the fact that 
the water, produced when the blood in a 

boudin or black-pudding is decomposed, is 
thrown away as worthless. 
12. Tomb&r dans I'eau, To fall flat (fig*) 
e.g. (7' est tombe dans Veau, It was 
not a success. L'affaire est tombee dans 
Veau, The project has fallen through. 
berluer, vb. tr. To astound e.g. Etre tout 
eberlue, To be struck all of a heap, to 
be dumbfounded, flabbergasted. 
A provincialism (Normandy), meaning 'to 
dazzle ', ' to give the berlue * (..). 
Sbourlffant, adj. Amazing, extraordinary, 
incredible e.g. un succes ebouriffant, 
une nouvelle ebouriffante. 

L' enterprise est tentante. . . . 
Hardie, ebouriffante . . . mais ten- 
tante. . . . Seulement . . . les con- 
sequences ? (H. BERNSTEIN, Sam- 

6fooiraffer, vb. tr. To amaze, astound, 
flabbergast e.g. Cette nouvelle Va> 
ebouriffe, The news struck him all of a 

Lit. * to ruffle (hair) '. 
6ehalas, n.m. 1. Very tall, thin person 

e.g. C'est un veritable echalas, He is a 

regular telegraph-pole. 
2. Des echalas, Thin legs, ' spindle-shanks '. 

Lit. 'pole*, 'stake* (for supporting vines or 


6ehapp6, n.m. Un echappe de Charenton, 

A crazy fellow ; see Charenton. 
6eharpiller, vb. tr. Sefaire echarpiller, To 

get a terrible thrashing, to get knocked 

into a cocked hat. 

From Sharper, ' to cut and slash ', * to cut to 

6ehasses, n.f. pi. Thin legs, * spindle- 
shanks *. 
Lit. 'stilts*. 

6ehelle, n.f. 1. Apres lui ilfaut (or il ri*y 
a plus qu'a) tirer Vechelle, One cannot 
do (or No one could have done) better 
than he does (or has done), He beats 
the record, takes the cake, No one can 
come up to him in that. Aprls cela (or 
ca) ilfaut tirer Vichelle, Nothing could 
have been done better, That cannot be 
improved upon, That takes the cake 
(the biscuit), That puts the tin hat on 

Lit. 'after him (or that) one must take 
away the ladder '. Possibly a reference to 
the practice that when there were several 
criminals to be hanged the worst character 
was strung up last, after which the ladder was 
removed ,* the saying originally implied * the 
worst ', ' the most] conspicuous ' to a pejora- 



tive sense, and. later ' the most conspicuous * 
in a favourable sense. It Is more probable, 
however, that the phrase has a less specific 
origin : the person who has climbed up the 
ladder has done the necessary job, and as it is 
useless for another to go up after him, the 
ladder can now be removed. 

2. Faire monter quelqu'un a Vechelle, (a) 

To mystify a gullible or credulous per- 
son, to make a fool of a person, to pull 
some one's leg; (b) (by extension) To 
get some one into a rage by teasing or 
badgering, to rile a person. 
It seems impossible to discover exactly in 
which milieu this phrase originated ; ana- 
logous expressions (e.g. laire monter a 1'arbre, 
'to mystify') incline one to believe in a 
general signification without any clearly 
professional character. Compare, however, 
monter d Vdchelle in its slang meaning of ' to 
be guillotined' (i.e. monter d I'dcfiette de 

II s'assombrit, n'aimant pas bieii 
qu'on le mystifiat et qu'on le fit 
monter a I'echelle (G-. COTJRTELINE, 
Le Train de 8 h. 47). 
See lascar (Courteline). 

3. Faire la courte echelle a quelqu*un, (a) 

(lit.) To give some one a leg up, to help 
one to climb up ; (b) (fig.) To help 
some one (to get on in the world), to 
help a lame dog over a stile. 
Lit. ' to make a short ladder for some one ', 
i.e. to allow some one to climb on one's 
shoulders or back in order to scale a wall, etc. 
6eMner. 1. vb. tr. To criticise sharply, 
to run down. 

Lit. * to break a person's fahine (spine) '. 
2. jS'echiner, To knock oneself up, to 
work oneself to death. 

C'est pas pour notre manger a 
nous qu'on s'echine le plus, c'est 
pour le manger des betes (BRIETJX, 
Le Bourgeois aux Champs.) 
eeMneur, n.m. Sharp critic. 
*6elairer, vb. tr. and intr. To stump up, 
plank down, shell out e.g. As-tu 
eclaire la defense? Have you paid 
what's owing ? Tu me dois trois 
francs, eclaire! You owe me three 
francs, stump up (fork out) ! 
This use of the verb comes from card-games 
in, which folairer is *to lay down one's 
stake ', and stands for gclairer le tapis, i.e. to 
expose to view one's stake on the table. 
From this application of the verb is derived 
the use of allumer (q.v.) in thesenseof *topay 
up ', and of bcwgie with the meaning of * five- 
franc piece* (SAINJBAN, Langage parisien, 
p. 235). 

Elle Hi eclaire plus ! Plus de pes- 
etas tant qu'il ne sera pas depute 
(P. VEBEB, Les Couches profondes). 
6elat, n.m. Eire aux eclats, To roar with 

laughter, to split one's sides with 

ecole, n.f. Faire Vecole buissonniere, To 
play truant. 

An allusion to schoolboys who go bird's- 
nesting in the bushes instead of going to 
school. Also used of those who stay away 
from their office, occupation, etc. 

See eaner 2 (Frapie). 
conomie, n.f. 1. Poire des economies de 

bouts de chandelle ; see bout 8. 
2. 11 n'y a pas de petites economies, A 
penny saved is a penny earned ; Take 
care of the pence and the pounds will 
take care of themselves. 
eeoper, vb. tr. and intr. To suffer damage, 
misfortune, bad luck, imprisonment, 
insults, blows, etc., to catch it, to i cop ' 
it, to go through it e.g. A-t-il ete 
blesse ? Oui, U a salement ecope, Was 
he wounded ? Yes, he was badly 
hit. II ecope toujours pour les autres, 
He always gets the blame due to 

A borrowing from the vocabulary of sailors, 

in which the verb means ' to bale out water* 

with an fcope or ' scoop '. The word passed 

into the slang of printers with the meaning of 

' to drink ', and this sense led to that of 

'receiving reproaches, blows*, etc. (cp. 

trinquer) (SAINMN, Langage parisien, p. 169). 

Quand on ecope une pareille 

rdclee (' thrashing '), on est ou un 

homme pas brave ou un homme pas 

fort (J. EL. HUYSMANS, Les Sozurs 


Le matin meme, il avait ecope de 
deux jours (' he had got two days* 
C.B.') sur le terrain de manoeuvres 
(G. COTJBTELDOI, Le Train de 8 h. 

Scorcher, vb. tr. 1. To speak badly, to 
" murder " e.g. ecorcher lejrangais, to 
murder the French language. 
2. To charge an exorbitant price, to lay it 
on, to fleece e.g. A cet hdtel on ecorche 
les gens, They fleece you at that hotel. 
Lit. 'to flay', *to skin*. 
eeornifler, vb. tr. To sponge, cadge. 

SainSan (Sources indigenes, If, p. 326) does 
not see in this verb, as do Littre' and the 
D.G., a derivative of ^corner (' to diminish ' 
e.g. one's income), but a fusion of ^corner 
and nifler (== renifter, ' to sniff '), whence the 
double force of * to get hold of somebody's 
money * and to * sniff out * a good meal. 
6eouter. *1. vb. tr. Je vous ecoute! (Je 
fecoute/) This exclamation has the 
same force as Je vous (te) crois / (see 
eroire 1), Just so 1 Quite so ! I should 
so ! Not half 1 




Et tu lui as tourne la tete, a 
cet homme ? Ah, je tiecoute I (P. 
VEBTUB, Que Suzanne). 

Attends un peu ce quails te pas- 
seront comme blagues (' You wait and 
see how they'll chivvy you '), a 
Patelier ! Oui, je fecoute! (C. H. 
HIESCF, " Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 
2. S'ecouter, To be over-anxious about 
one's health, to coddle oneself e.g. II 
s'ecoute trop ! He is a regular molly- 

Qan'etait peut-tre qu'une colique, 
il ne fallait pas s'ecouter pour un 
mal de ventre (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
Au fond tu avais besoin de la 
chanson pour te remettre. Erreur. 
Bile ne m'a pas remis, la chanson. 
Tu fecoutestrop / (H. LAVEDAN, Noc- 
eeralboiiiUer, vb. tr. To crush, to reduce to 

The initial meaning of the verb is ' to crush a 
cockchafer' (called escarbelh in the Gascon 
patois) or other small living being, then to 
crush or squash generally (&AIN&AN, Sources 
indigenes, I, pp 118-19). 

Le papa Coupeau . . . s'etaitecra- 
bouille la tete sur le pave (ZoLA, 

*eeraser, vb. tr. En ecraser, To sleep 
(soundly), to c hog it '. 
Lit. 'to crush some of them ' (i.e. ' fleas '), 
when one lies in bed ; cp. pucler. Military 
"War-time slang. 

J'ecoute le ronflement d'un eam- 
arade qui en ecrase dans son trou (B. 
DORGELES, Les Croix de Bois). 
toaseur, n.m* Scorcher, road-hog. 
*ecrevisse,?z../. *1. Avoir uneecrevisse dans 
la tourte Avoir une araignee dans le 
plafond ; see araignee. 
Lit. ' to have a crayfish in the pie '. 
^'2. Une ecremsse de rempart, An uifantry- 
man, foot-soldier, * beetle-crusher '. 
Lit. ' rampart crayfish * ; by allusion to the 
French soldier's (formerly) red trousers. 
egal,acfy". 1. Celam? est egal, That is (It's) 
all the same to me, I don't care. C'est 
$a qui m'est egal, par exemple! Much I 
care, indeed ! 

Mol, qu'on soit }uif , catholique ou 
protestant, a m'est egal / (GYP, Le 
Baron Sinai). 

See dieu 7 (Cherbuliez), gages 

2. C'est egal, Anyhow, however, yet e.g. 
C y e$t egal, je regrette de ne pas voir ca I 
All the same, I'm sorry I shan't see it ! 

elle, pronoun. Elle is used with neuter 
force in several expressions belonging 
to familiar speech, and represents some 
feminine noun like Mstoire 9 plaisanterie, 
chose, etc. e.g. Mle est raide, celle-la ! 
or Elle est bien forte ! That's too bad ! 
Elle est bien bonne ! That's a good 'un ! 
Ah ! non, elle est trop drtile ! 
begayait Loubet, la bouche pleine, en 
agitant sa cuiller (ZOLA, La Debacle). 
emballage, n.m. (In athletics) A spurt, 
burst e.g. Faire un emballage, To put 
on (To make) a spurt. 
emlball6, adj. Keen, enthusiastic e.g. 
Eire emballe sur (or pour) une chose (or 
une personne), To be keen on, (clean) 
gone on, dead nuts on, nutty on some- 
thing (or some one). 
See emballer 2. "Un cheval embalU is a horse 
that has taken the bit in its teeth and bolted. 
Le voilt emballe a fond sur 
Madame Guerande (GYP, Le Baron 
emballement, n.m. The action of s'em- 

Tballer ; see emfealler 2. 
emfcaller. 1. vb. tr. *(a) To arrest, appre- 
hend e.g. Se faire emballer., To be run 

Lit. ' to pack up *, and so, fig., ' to bundle off *. 

Une heure plus tard elle etait 

emballee par les fliques (* coppers ') 

pour vol ( J. EIOHEPIN, Truandailles). 

(b) To rouse one's enthusiasm e.g. 
Emballer la salle (or le public). To 
bring down the house. 

Venise ne m' emballe pas du tout ; 
j'ai eu une grosse desillusion (M. 
DONNAY, XSAj/ranchie). 

See chieM 2 (Bataille). 

(c) To tell a person off. Se faire emballer, 
To get 'ticked off'. 

2. S'emballer, To let oneself be carried 
away by anger, enthusiasm, etc., 
hence : to fly into a passion, to lose 
one's temper, to get excited, enthusi- 
astic, etc. e.g. Ne t* emballe pas / (Ne 
vous emballez pas J) Keep your hair 
on ! S* emballer sur (or pour ) quelgue 
chose or guelqrfun, To be keen, 
enthusiastic about a thing or person, 
to gush over. 
Lit. ' to bolt ', ' run away ' (of a horse). 

embarraS; n.m. 1. Avoir Vembarras du 
choix, To have too many alternatives, 
to be spoilt for choice e.g. Mile rfa 
que Vemb arras du choix, She has only 
too much to choose from, She has no 
lack of choice. 



2. Faire des (or ses) embarras, To make a 

fuss, to put on airs e.g. Nefaites done 
pas tant d'embarras, Don't make such 
a fuss. Hence : un faiseur (une fais- 
euse) d* embarras, a fussy person. 

3. Se trouver dans Vembarras, To be in a 
mess or in straitened circumstances. 

emb6gilin, adj. Infatuated. 

See bSguin. 
emberlifieoter, s". To get entangled (lit. 

II s* emberlificota dans les jupons 
qui lui barraient le chemin et faillit 
tomber (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
embtant, adj. Boring, annoying, sicken- 

See dire 11 (Gyp). 

embt6 5 adj. Worried, fed up, hipped, in 
the soup, in a hole. 

Je suis tres g$ne, tres emMte, en ce 
moment (H. DTJVERNOIS, Edgar}. 
emb@tement, n.m. Bother, boring thing, 
bore, nuisance, worry, trouble. On 
n'a que des embetements dans la vie, Life 
is one damn thing after another. 

See bazar (Zola). 

embeter. 1. vb. tr. (a) To bore, to weary. 
See 6paule 1 (Courteline), debiner 
1 (Mirbeau). 
(6) To harass, molest, plague, worry. 

Ms unique je suis, le beau fils 
unique a son pere. Ah ! pour ea, je 
ne peux pas dire qu'il m'embete, le 
mien ! (H. LAVEDAN, Nocturnes). 
2. tfembtoer, To be bored. 

Dans ces trous perdus de cam- 
pagne, les hommes s'embetent . . . 
Sis s*embitent profondement (GYP, 
Les Froussards). 

See dingo (Margueritte). 

embobeliner or embobiner, vb. tr. To 

wheedle, cajole, persuade or get round 

a person by flattery or endearments. 

Onn'etait pasbien etonne que Me 

Lasser se soit laisse embobeliner par 

lui et qu'il ait accept^ son fils dans 

Tetude (G. CHERATJ, La Maison de 

Patrice Perrier). 

Et son vieux commengait a la 

gaver d'argent. . . . Elle n*a mis 

que trois ans a 1' embobiner ! (L. 


emboneh^yOdj. Etremalembouche, To be 


The opposite is Men emboucM. 

Pourvu que cette personne ne soit 
pas trop mal embouchee avec les 

domestiques ! (A. SALMON, C'est une 
belle Fillet). 

See gueule 6 (France). 
embrasser, vb. tr. Qui trop embrasse mal 

elreint, Grasp all, lose all. 
embrouillaminl, n.m. Mess, muddle, con- 

From brouillammi (a corruption of tlie Latin 
genitive boli armenii, a formula used formerly 
in medical recipes), under the influence of 
embrouitter, *to confuse*. 

Elle n'avait rien compris du tout 
aux embrouillamini de cette phrase 
(J. BICHEFIN, Flamboche). 
embrouiller, vb. tr. Ni vu ni connu, je 
fembrouille, A stock familiar phrase 
used with reference to a thing which 
has remained unexplained, a person 
who has disappeared mysteriously, or 
any mysterious event or happening. 
Lit. 'neither seen nor known, I confuse 
(perplex) you '. The phrase comes from the 
patter of jugglers and mountebanks. 
enibusqu, n.m. and adj. One who has a 
soft (cushy) job, a Cuthbert, a shirker, 
See embusquer, 

Mais des rumeurs 1'obsedaient : on 
parlait de beaux gaillards, sains et 
drus, qui, proteges .sans doute ou 
astucieux, s'arrangeaient pour ne 
pas aller au Front, se f aisaient passer 
pour malades ou servaient sans 
danger dans des bureaux. Des 
" embusques " (P. MARGTTERITTE, 

See eaille (Barbusse), empoison- 
nant (Barbusse). 

embusquer. 1. vb. tr. To give some one 
an appointment in the army at the 
rear, to give some one a soft (cushy) 

2. S*embusguer, To get a soft job at the 
rear, to be a slacker, shirker. 
War-time military slang. Lit. Ho place 
oneself in ambush % ' to hide oneself '. 
em6eli6, adj. Slightly intoxicated or 
' elevated ', squiffy, half-sprung, tight, 
tipsy, half-seas over, maudlin, three 
sheets in the wind. 

By allusion to the mtcfie, ' wick ' of a lamp, 
soaked in oil ; cp. allumS. 

Un sous-officier de spahis emecJie 
Tapostropha : He ! lli, le petit 
lieutenant 1 (M. HARRY, La divine 

*eineri, n.m. Bouche a Tim&ri, emphatic 
form for boitehS. 

Lit. ' with an emery stopper ', the bottchon d 
Vtm&ri ensuring perfect stoppering, 




Sans blague, tu as 1'air louche a 
Vemeri, mon pauvre Pont ! (0. H, 
HIESOH, " Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 
*emmerdenieiit, n.m. Coarse form for 

*emmerder > vb. tr. Coarse form for em- 
bter. Similarly s'emmerder = s'em- 

*emmieller, vb. tr. Euphemism for em- 

merder e.g. Je Vemmielle, He can go 

to the devil for all I care. 

&notioimer. 1. vb. tr. To stir, excite, 


2. $' emotionner, To "be excited, in a 

Neologisms for dmouvoir and s'dmouvoir. 
*empaffer, s*. To get drunk. See paf. 
empalll, n.m. and adj. Awkward, 
clumsy, slow person, noodle, one lack- 
ing in energy, stick-in-the-mud. 
Lit. ' stuffed ' (e.g. like a stuffed bird). 

Nous faisons des mots, des petits 

chichis . . . nous avons Fair em- 

paillees (H. BATAILLE, PolicJie). 

empaumer^ vb. tr. 1. To get round a 

person, cajole, inveigle, take in, do, 

cheat. >e faire empaumer, To be 

cheated, taken in, done. 

Lit. * to strike with the palm of one's hand *. 

La verite, Monseigneur, c'est qu'il 

ra'a empaume en me disant : ** Ce 

que je vous donne, c'est pour vos 

pauvres " (0. VATJTEL, Mon Curechez 

les Pauvres). 

2. To arrest, apprehend, na"b. 
empSeM, adj. $tre bien empeche de . . ., 

To be greatly at a loss to ... 
enapcheiir, n.m. Un empecheur de 
^amuser en rond, A kill- joy, wet 
blanket, spoil-sport. 

C'etait, comme on dit r un em- 
pecheur de s'amitser en rond (G. 
LEBOUX, La farouche Aventure). 
empester, vb. Mr. To stink. 
empiffrage, w.m., or empiffrerie, nj. 

Gluttony, stodging. 

empiffrer, s\ To eat greedily, stuff, 

On s'empif/rait an fond des gar- 
gotes (' low restaurants ') ; par 
toutes les vitres eclaixees, on voyait 
des gens manger (ZOLA, UAssom- 

See btoer (Zola). 

*empiler, vb. tr. To rob, cheat, 'do*. 
Se faire emptier, (a) To be cheated ; 
(6) (less commonly), To lose money at 

cards (not necessarily by being 

A borrowing from the vocabulary of fisher- 
men, in which emptier des hameQons is to 
fasten the fish-hooks to the slender threads 
called empiles (SATN^AN', Lungage parisien, 
p. 179). 

empl&tre a n.m. Person without energy, 
Lit. 'plaster*. 

emploi, n.m. ffaire double emploi, to be 
a useless repetition e.g. Ce mot fait 

"empoignade, n.f. Dispute, violent dis- 
cussion, row. 
empoigner, vb. tr. I. To arrest. 

2. (Literary slang) To criticise vigorously. 

3. (Theatrical slang) To hiss, give the bird. 

4. S* empoigner, To quarrel violently. 
Lit. ' to clutch at each other *. 

Au dessert, M. Cardinal et le 
senateur $* empoigner ent sur le coup 
d'etat. Ce fut le bouquet I (L. 
HALEVY, Les petites Cardinal). 
'empoisoraant, adj. Very boring, rotten, 

Vous devenez empoisonnants avec 
vos histoires ftembusquis (H. BAB- 
BUSSE, Le Feu). 

empoisonner. *1. vb. tr. To bore e.g. 
Je $uis empoisonne par ce travail, This 
job bores me to death. 

Pour un homme empoisonne, pas 
d'erreur I il Tetait. . . . Faut dire 
qu'il y avait de quoi (C. 
X)ix~sept Histoires de Manns). 
2. Vb. intr. To stink (of). 

Tu empoisonnes Tail ! s'ecriait 

Mme Pontonnier, quand son n'ls re- 

venait. Quelle abomination / Pai- 

tes-lui croquer des grains de cafe 

et qu'il reste dans sa chambre (H. 

BTJVEENOIS, Monsieur). 

*empoivrer 9 s*. To get drunk, * screwed '. 

empot6, n.m. and adj. Awkward, clumsy, 

slow person. Une grande empotee, A 

big gawk. 

II y a quelque trois mois a peine 
Jotte n'6tait qu'une maniere de 
petit provinciale empotee (A. LIOH- 
TBNBEEGEB, Petite Madame). 
empress^, adj. Faire I'empressi aupres de 
quelqu^wn, To be assiduously atten- 
tive to a person, to be eager to please, 
to pay marked attentions to. 
eneaisser, vb. tr. 1. To receive (blows, - 
insults or affronts), to suffer, put up 
with e.g. Encaisser des coups, To re- 




ceive blows. Encaisser des insultes, un 
affront, To pocket insults, an affront. 
Encaissez $a ! Take that ! or Put that 
in your pipe and smoke it ! 

J*ai encaisse vingt jours d'arret a 
Zarzis parce que j'ai defendu a mon 
capitaine de prononcer votre nom 
(M. HABBY, La divine Chanson). 

Je ne comprends pas qu'il ** en- 
caisse" un tel coup sans protester 
(BEIETTX, Le Bourgeois aux Champs). 
2. Ne pas encaisser guelqu'un, To dislike 
somebody e.g. Je ne peux pas P en- 
caisser, ce type-la / I can't stick that 
chap ! 

Moi, les bourriques, je ne peux pas 
les encaisser. La derniere fois, ils 
m'ont/<zce : six mois (B. DOBGELIES, 
Le Cabaret de la belle Femme). 
enelume, n.f. JBtre (or Se trouver) entre 
Venclume et le marteau, To be in a 
dilemma, to have to run the gauntlet, 
to be between the devil and the deep 

Lit. 'to be between the anvil and the 
hammer *. 

encore, adv. The following idiomatic uses 
of encore are worthy of note : 

1. Mais encore? This query is equiva- 

lent to c I ask again, I repeat my ques- 
tion in order to insist * e.g. Dites vos 
raisons. Je ne veux pas. Mais en- 
core,? Tell me your reasons. I had 
rather not. But why, pray ? 

Enfin, combien te faut-il ? 
Beaucoup. Mais encore? (B. Coo- 
LTJS, Les JBleus de L* Amour). 

II ne s'est quasiment rien passe. 
Mais encore ? On s'est dit des mots 
(0. MIEBEATJ, Les Affaires sont les 

2. Encore, with the force of * besides ', 

'moreover', is often added to an 
exclamation without always referring 
to what precedes. 

J'ai commence plus tdt, moi qui te 
parle, et sans un centime encore I 
(E. BOD, L'Indocile). 

Et je ne compte pas les trois pains 
de monsieur, encore ! (ZoLA, ISAs- 

3. Encore is sometimes placed before an 

adjective in an ironical exclamation, 
expressing the speaker's surprise at 
something which is contrary to what 
he foresaw or presumed. 

Eh bien, dis-je, tu es encore aim- 

able, toi 1 Je ne cesse pas de courir 
ce matin ! Je n'ai pas pris le temps 
de dejeuner ! J'ai fait un voyage 
impossible ! Et voUA comment tu 
me remercies (A. HEBMANT, Heures 
de Guerre). 

Ah ! bien ! il est encore gentil, 
monsieur d'Auberive ! Qu*est-ce 
qu'il a fait ? demande Sylvanette 
(GYP, La Ginguette). 

4. M encore ! is used to express a restric- 
tion or incredulity e.g. Get objet vaut 
au plus mille francs, et encore / That 
object is worth a thousand francs at the 
most, if that. 

Toutes les forces sociales se font 
equilibre, a peu pres. Montrez- 
moi un peu ce qu'on pourrait bien 
changer. La couleur des timbres- 
poste, peut-etre. ... Et encore/ 
. . . comme disait le vieux Montes- 
suy (A. FRANCE, Le Mannequin 
tf Osier). 

endver, vb. intr. To be vexed, angry, 
driven wild. Faire end&oer quelqu'un, 
To drive a person wild, to plague, put 
one in a paddy. 

From Old French desver , ' to become mad *. 

Colombel, qui n'arrivait a rien 

avec elle, soutint son ami pour la 

faire endever ( J. K. HUYSMAUTS, Les 

Scaurs Vatard). 

*endormir, vb. tr. To kUl, murder, give a 
person his gruel, cook his goose. 
Lit. * to send to sleep *. 
*endroit, n.m. *1. Le bon endroit, The 
posterior e.g. Donner un coup de pied 
a guelqu'un juste au bon endroit, To 
kick a person's behind. 
Cp. f rapper au bon endroit, * to hit the right 
nail on the head % * to ait the mark *, ' to 
touch the spot '. 

2. Le petit endroit, Water-closet. 
enfant, n.m. 1. Un bon enfant, (a) A 
good sort; (6) A simpleton, a flat. 
Also used adjectivally. 

C'est un Alsacien qui a le nez 
rouge et 1'air bon enfant (A. DATJDET, 
Le petit Chose). 

See arriviste (Coppee). 
2. C'est un enfant de la balle, He is his 
father's son or He follows the profes- 
sion of his father. 

Un enfant de la balle originally denoted the 
child of a professional tennis-player, and then 
by extension a child brought up in his 
father's profession and consequently versed in 
all the tricks of the trade. 

II m'avait reconnu et s'etait dit : 




II est enfant de la, balle. Tel pere, 
tel fils (V. CHERBULIEZ, UAventure 
de Ladislas BolsJci). 

*3. $touffer un enfant de chceur, To drink a 
bottle of wine. 
Lit. 'to choke a choir-boy '. 
enfiler. *L vb. tr. (a) To deceive, rob, 
do. Se faire (or Se laisser) enfiler, To 
be done, to be robbed, (b) To take 
red-handed. Se faire enfiler, To be 
caught in the act of stealing. 
*2. S'enfiler, (a) To take, eat, drink, treat 
oneself to e.g. S'enfiler un verre de 
vin, To swallow (to down, to toss off) 
a glass of wine. $' enfiler un bon diner, 
To treat oneself to (to * get outside ') 
a good dinner. 

II voit, chez le marchand de vins 
d'en face, les cochers de fiacre de la 
station devorer des platees do bceuf 
aux choux et s' enfiler des litres (F. 
COPPEE, Les quarante SOILS du 

*(6j To undergo, to have to do, stand, 

suffer e.g. On s'est enfile quarante 

kilometres a, pied, We had to walk forty 

kilometres. On s'esl enfile dix heures de 

turbin, We had to do ten hours' work. 

enfonee, adj. Bone for, taken in, let in, 

ruined, outwitted, done brown e.g. 

La partie est perdue, nous voila enfonces, 

The game is up, we are done for. 

enf oncer. 1. vb. tr. To outwit a person, 

to * do * one, to * do for * some one, to 

cut a person out. 

2. Enfoncez-vous bien cela dans la tdtef 

Get that well into your head I 
*3. S'enfoncer = s'enfiler. 
*EngKche, n.m. = Angliehe. 
*engueulade n.f., or engueulement, n.m. 
Abuse in any but choice language, talk- 
ing to e.g. Eecevoir une engueulade, 
To get a good talking to, to be hauled 
over the coals. A toi V engueulade! 
You'll catch it \ 

*engueuler, vb. tr. *1. To abuse, slang, 

II parait que la rencontre des deux 

ennemis dans le cabinet du juge a 

efce quelque chose d'6pique. Ils se 

sont engueules comme des chiffonniers 

(0. MIRBEATT, Le Journal d'une 

Femme de Chambre). 

*2. To scold, jaw, reprimand, blow up 

e.g. II s* est fait engueuler par le patron. 

The boss gave him a talking-to. 

From gueule, ' jaw *. 

Mauvaise bete . . . Petit satan 

sans coeur . . . Grande rosse, va 

. . . C'est a, engueule-moi \ (CoL- 

ETTE, OMri). 

: engueuser, vb. tr. To deceive, to wheedle 

by flattery or fine words. 

Lit. to talk a person in, in the way that gueux 

or 'beggars* do. 
enguirlander, vb. tr. 1. To ensnare, 

wheedle, get round a person e.g. 

Enguirlander quelqu'un par de belles 

prowesses, To get round a person with 

fine promises. 

Faites attention, ma petite. . . . 
On commence a jaser sur vous dans 
le pays. II parait cju'on vous a vue, 
Tautre jour, dans le jardin, avec M. 
Lanlaire. . . . C'est bien imprudent, 
croyez-moi. . . . II vous enguirland- 
era, si ce n'est deja fait (0. MIB- 
BEAtr, Le Journal d'une Femme de 

2. Euphemism for engueuler 1. 
enleve", adj. Fine, spirited e.g. Un dis- 

cours (article) enleve, A spirited speech 

( article) . C" etait enleve, It was smartly 


See note to enlever. 
enlever, vb. tr. 1. To excite enthusiasm 

e.g. Enlever Vauditoire, To carry the 

audience away. Enlever une pi&ce, To 

play a piece with spirit, c go *. 

Used with reference to any work of art which 

is performed or dashed off brilliantly, in 

a bold, easy manner. 

2. To reprimand or reproach violently 
e.g. II s' est fait salement enlever, He got 
a rare talking-to. 

Ah I vous craignez les potins 
(' scandal ') ? Oh ! pas du tout ! 
. . . Mais j'ai peur que ma mere 
m'enUve^ si elle apprend a ! (GYP, 
Le Mariage de Chiffon). 

3. Enlevez-le / An exclamation denoting 
violent discontent against a person, 
* Chuck him out ! ' 

Variant : Sortez-U. 
enneml, n.m. 1. Eire tue a Vennemi, To 

be killed in action. 

2. C'est autant de pris (or de gagne) sur 
Vennemi,^ It is so much to the good, so 
much gained, That is so much snatched 
from (saved out of) the fire. 
Lit. ' it is so much taken from the enemy *. 

Tiens : la derniere cigarette. Tu 
la grilleras ( smoke ') en allant chez 
ta mere. Pas besoin, m'sieu' Cabet: 
une de morns, c?est deja autant de 




gagne sur Vennemi (i.e. because lie 
had made a promise to give up 
smoking) (C. H. HIRSOF, "Petit" 
Louis, JBoxeur). 
*enquiquiner, vb. tr. To importune, vex, 

irritate, get on one's nerves. 
enrage", adj. Violent, excessive, out and 
Lit. * rabid ', * mad ". 

II haissait le christianisme, mais 

socialement, il etait enrage catho- 

lique (A. HEBMANT, Cadet de Cou- 


enrageant, adj. Enough to make one 

mad, maddening, most annoying. 
enseigne, n.f. Mtre loge a la m&me en- 
seigne, To be in the same predicament, 
in the same boat, to be tarred with the 
same brush. 

Lit. ' to be lodged tinder the same inn-sign '. 

Je ne vous demande pas encore 

des nouvelles de votre mari.* Sans 

doute e*tes-vous logee a la meme en- 

seigne que moi qui ai mon fils, mes 

deux neveux et de nombreux jeunes 

amis professeurs a I'armee (P. MAR- 

GUEBITTE, UEmbusgue). 

ensemble, n.m. Poser V ensemble, is said of 

a model who sits for the whole figure 

i.e. who poses nude. 

II se rappelait, non sans degout, sa 
derniere maitresse, la grande Irma, 
qui posait I' ensemble chez les sculp- 
teurs (F. COPPEE, Bonheur manque). 
entendeur, n.m. A bon entendeur., salut, 
A word to the wise is enough ; Pore- 
warned, forearmed ; Verbuni sap. 
Variants : A bon entendeur peu de paroles ; A 
bon entendeur demi-mot suffit. 

Merci, mon oncle : a bon entendeur 

salut, dit Popinot, a qui la navrante 

exclamation de son patron fut alors 

expliquee (BALZAO, Cesar Birotteau), 

entendre, s*. 1. Gela s'entend, That's 

understood, It is obvious, Of course. 

2. S'entend (abbreviation of 1), Of course, 
I mean. 

Croyez-moi, vous etes un homme 
fini, politiquement, s'entend (V. 
CHERBUUEZ, ISAventure de Ladislas 

See passer 2 (c) (Gyp). 

3. 8' entendre a, To be skilled in, to know 
the ropes, to be a good judge of e.g. 
Vous ne vous y entendez pas, You do 
not know how to set about it, how to 
manage it. 

4. Je m'entends, I know what I am say- 
ing, what I mean. 

Non, monsieur le cure, je m? en- 
tends ; quand je dis Ganache, c'est 
Ganache (MAUPASSANT, Une Vie). 
entendu, adj. 1. (C'est) entendu/ That's 

settled ! Agreed ! Eight you are ! 
2. Faire V entendu, To put on a knowing 
look, to pretend to be clever, to pose as 
a knowing person, as a good judge. 
entente, n.f. A double entente. Equivocal, 
ambiguous e.g. Un mot a double en- 
tente, A word (or remark) with a double 

" Double entendre is the established English 
form, and has been in common use from the 
seventeenth century; the modern attempt 
to correct it into double entente suggests 
ignorance of English rather than knowledge 
of French " (H. W. FOWLER, A Dictionary 
of Modern English Usage). 

II repondit mediocrement aux 
pointes, calembours, mots a double 
entente, compliments et gaillardises 
que Ton se fit un devoir de lui 
decocher des le potage (FLAUBERT, 
Madame JB ovary). 

*ent61er, vb. tr. *1. To rob (especially of a 

From the slang word tole or taule, 'room", 
' house *. 

Un beau geste a son gousset 
(* pocket '), et Fumeron pere de- 
couvrit qu\7 await ete entdle par Vir- 
ginie ! (L. FRAPIE, La Figurante). 
*2. (Fig.) To rob, cheat, do, fleece e.g.* 
On vous entdle dans ce magasin-la, 
They fleece you in that shop. Sefaire 
entoler au jeu, To lose at cards (not 
necessarily as the result of cheating ; 
cp. se faire empiler). 

entortiller, vb. tr. To wheedle, get round, 
inveigle. Se faire (Se laisser) entor- 
tiller, To be taken in, to be deceived 
by specious talk. 

Tu connais le dilemme : ou se 
croiser les bras, en se laissant entor- 
tiller f rouler, gruger . . . ou sauver 
bravement la situation en mettant, 
comme on dit, la main a la pdte (S. 
COPEAU, La Maison natale). 
*entraver, vb. tr. To understand; only 
used, in this sense, in the expression 
n" 1 entraver que dalle or dal or couic or 
pouic, not to understand at all, not 
to twig in the slightest. See dalle. 
Entraver or enterver is an old jargon word with 
the meaning of 'to uaderstand *. In Old 
French enterver or entrever also had this sense, 
and in Anjou enterver is still used with the 



value of * to understand % * to seize ', ' to hear ' 
(SAJNfiAjr, Les Sources de I' Argot ancien, II, 
pp. 230, 337). 

T'entraves gue pouic a mon true, 
railla-t-il a voix basse (F. CAECO, 
Les Innocents). 

Mettez-y au moins des rimes, si 
vous voulez gue je les montre. Et 
puis, on rfy entrave gue, pouic (H. 

entree, n.f. Avoir ses entrees, To have the 
right or privilege of admission e.g. 
II a ses entrees a ce theatre-la, He is on 
the free list of that theatre. 
entrefilet, n.m. Short newspaper para- 
entreprenant, adj. Pushing,- bold (where 

women are concerned). 
entreprendre, vb. tr. (a) To tackle (of a 
person or thing) ; (b) To torment, to 

Laisse-la, cette petite ! . . . Tu 

Ventreprends depuis qu'on est a 

table . . . et elle ne dlt rien seule- 

ment (C. H. HIKSCH, Nini Godache). 

entrer, vb. intr. 1. On rfentre pas, No 


2. Je rfentre pas la dedans. Those con- 
siderations do not concern me, It is no 
concern of mine. 

3. Entrer pour e.g. Entrer pour guelque 

chose (pour beaucoup), To count for 
something (for much). N* entrer pour 
rien, To count for nothing, to have 
nothing to do with. 

Vous vous trompez, dit-il : ma 
sosur rfentre pour rien dans mon 
projet (E. EsTATnsriE, VInfirme aux 
Mains de Lumiere). 

4. Faites entrer I Show him (her, them) in ! 
eavie, n.f. Avoir une envie malade or une 

envie bleue de . . ., To have a violent 
desire to . . . e.g. Pen amis une 
envie malade (or bleue), I was just 
dying for it. 

Dites tout de suite que vous avez 

une envie bleue de retourner chez 

eux ! (H. LAVEDAN, Leur Cceur). 

envoyer. 1. vb. tr. (a) To say e.g. 11 

nous a envoy e toutes sortes de boniments, 

He told us all sorts of lies, fa c'est 

envoy e ! (< words or blows) That's the 

stufE to give them ! Cfetait envoye I 

That went home ! Bien envoy e I A 

good hit ! Well said ! 

On applaudit, on cria bravo : 
tfetait envoye, (Zoi/A, U Assommoir). 

(b) Envoyer promener (or paitre), To send 
one about Ms business, to get rid of a 
person, to send a person packing. 
*2. Wenvoyer = s'enfiler (a) and (b). 

Qu 5 est-ce qu'on va s* envoy er ? 

demanda Bille. La Poule ejacula: 

Du fort ! (J. H. R.OSNY, Dans les Rues). 

epatamment, adv. Toppingly, rippingly, 

stunningly, Al e.g. Je me suis amuse 

epatamment, I had a rattling good time. 

See Mcher (Bataille). 

epatant, adj. Extraordinary, splendid, 
astounding, flabbergasting, first-rate, 
stunning, absolutely it, top-hole, top- 
ping, rattling, clinking, tip-top, clip- 
ping, scrumptious, Al e.g. O^etait 
epatant, It was Al. Tin type epatant, 
A topping fellow, a corker, stunner, 
knock-out. Un diner epatant, A slap- 
up dinner. Une Jiistoire epatante, A 
ripping, rattling good story. Une idee 
epatante, A corking idea. 

Un cigare, alors ? Us sont epa- 
tants ceux-la, et pas trop sees (A. 
ALLAIS, V Affaire Blair eau). 

A part $a, la campagne est comme 
toutes les campagnes . . . elle n'a 
rien tfepatant (0. MIEBEATJ, Le 
Journal $une Femme de Chambre). 
See baver 2 (Buvernois), Ibonelion 
1 (Lavedan). 

Spate, n.f. laire de Vepate, To set out to 
astonish people, to cut a dash, show 
off, swank. 

H a voulu faire de Vepate et nous 
accompagner & cheval (H. BATAILLE, 

^patement, n.m. Amazement, the state of 
one who is epate, or something which 

Spater. 1. vb. tr. (a) To amaze, astound, 
astonish, flabbergast, strike all of a 
heap, stagger, stun, etc. e.g. Qa, $a 
m' 'epate J Well, that beats me ! 
(6) To attract attention by pretentious 
display e.g. II a fait cela pour epater 
ses amis, He did that in order to show 
off before his friends. 

Et, en definitive, qu'est-ce qui 
rejouit surtout dans le fait de re- 
cevoir un cadeau ? C'est de pou- 
voir epater les autres (L. FBAPIE, La 
BoUe aux Oosses). 

Ce qui V epate surtout, c'est mon 
elegance (0. MIBBEATT, Le Journal 
ffune Jfemme de Chambre). 
See cheveu 1 (Gyp). 



2. S'epater, To be amazed, etc. e.g. Je 
ne ni'epate pas facilement, I am not 
easily astonished or impressed. 

J'ai dit tout bonnement qu'il ne 
faudrait pas trop s'epater si, de- 
laissee depuis un an par son mari, 
la princesse, un de ces quatre ma tins f 
se decidait a accepter les consola- 
tions d'un autre (WiLLY, Jeux de 

Lit. ' to break the foot (patte) of ' (e.g. a glass), 
and then ' to flatten ', and so by extension 
*to knock down with astonishment*. The 
phrase tpater le bourgeois., "to startle the 
worthy middle-class citizen', was much 
affected among the realistic authors and 
artists in Flaubert's time, and is still a 
favourite. The verb has produced such 
variants as tipastrouiller and tfpataroufter. 
epaule, n.f. 1. Un avoir par-dessus les 
epaules, To be fed up (with a thing). 
Op. tte 9. 

J'en ai par-dessus les epaules, et tu 
commences a m?embter (G-. COUETE- 
LIKE, La Paicc chez soi). 

2. Faire quelque chose par-dessus ? epaule, 
To do something carelessly, off- 
handedly, to scamp a thing. 

3. Preter Vepaule a quelqtfun, To give 
some one a lift, to come to the help of a 
person. Cp. donner un coup d* epaule a 
quelqu'un, to give some one a lift, a 

4. Megarder quelqu'un par-dessus Vepaule, 
To look scornfully at a person, to look 
down upon some one. 

e, n.f. 1. C'est son epee de chevet, (a) 
That is his bosom companion, his 
trusty counsellor, his vade-mecum ; 
(b) That is his favourite theme, what 
he is always talking about. 
Lit. ' the sword that he keeps at his ch&vet ' or 
* the head of his bed '. 

2 . Mettre (or Presser) Vepee dans les reins 
a quelqu'un, To press hard upon a per- 

By allusion to the military expression pour- 
suiwe I'ennemi V6p6e dans Us reins, ' to chase 
the foe before one ' (lit. ' with the sword at 
his loins'). 
*6picemar, n.m. Grocer. 

A jargonesque deformation of Jpitier. 

Spieler, n.m. 1. Man devoid of any 
artistic taste, a Philistine. Un gargon 
epicier, A man with narrow, vulgar 
ideas and tastes. 

2. Eire bon pour V epicier, is said of a 
worthless book. 

The implication is that it is only fit for making 
paper-bags ; an allusion to the fact that 
formerly grocers utilised old newspapers, etc., 
for making bags. 


i, n.f. 1. Store tire a quatre epingles, 
To be dressed (togged) up to the nines, 
to be neat (spick and span) in one's 
dress e.g. Elle est toujours tiree a 
quatre epingles, She is always dressed 
up to the nines, She always looks as if 
she has just come (stepped) out of a 

Originally used of the lower classes who wore 
a fichu or ' kerchief *. A woman was said to 
be tirde d quatre Epingles, i.e. careful in her 
attire, when the fichu was well fastened with 
four pins one at the back, two hi front and 
a fourth behind the neck. 

Figurez-vous un petit vieux, tire 
a quatre epingles, rase de frais et tout 
rose, ainsi qu'une poupee (0. MIR- 
BEATJ, Le Journal tftine Femme de 

2. Tirer (or Eetirer] son epingle du jeu, To 
get well out of a (ticklish) bad job, to 
save one's stake. 

Applied to a person who gets out of a deli- 
cate business without any loss, who overcomes 
successfully the difficulties he encounters. 
The phrase is derived from a game played by 
children, in which a number of pins are placed 
in a circle, each player trying to knock them 
out by means of a ball bounced against a wall. 
When a player has knocked out the phis he 
has staked, he is said to retirer son dpingle 
du jeu. 

Permettez-moi de m'etonner qu* 
avec votre talent, vous n'ayez pas su 
mieux tirer votre epingle du jeu (E. 
ATTGIEB, Le Fils de Giboyer). 

3. Chercher une epingle (or une aiguille) 
dans une botte de foin, To look for a 
needle in a haystack. 

Lit. ' to look for a pin (or a needle) in a bundle 
(bottle) of hay '. 

4. Une, epingle ne tomberait pas a terre, is 
said when there is a tightly-packed 
crowd of people. 

5. Une epingle de nourrice or Une epingle 
anglaise, A safety-pin. 

epluefeer, vb. tr. To criticise minutely, to 
pick (pull) pieces. 
Lit. ' to pick over ', ' clean ' (e.g. vegetables). 
Voila, en vous epluchant bien, tout 
ce que je trouve a dire de defavor- 
able (FLAUBERT, Gorrespondance). 
Sponge, n.f. Passer Feponge sur, To wipe 
'out, blot out, forget, forgive e.g. 
Passons Veponge la-dessus, Let by- 
gones be bygones, Let us forget all 
about it, Let us say no more about it. 
Lit. ' to pass the sponge over *. 
*6pousseter, vb. tr. To beat, dust a person's 
jacket for Mm, to give some one a 
* dusting J . 
Lit. *to dust'. 


preuve, n.f. A toute epreuve, Prooj 
against everything, tried, faithful (of 
persons or things) e.g. Un ami a tout 
epreuve, A weft-tried (trusty, faithful] 

Le doeteur avait raison : vous 

avez tux fonds de sante a toute 

epreuve (V. CHERBTTLIEZ, L'Aventure 

de Ladislas BolsTci). 

Sreintant, adj. Exhausting, very tiring 

e.g. Un travail ereintant, a grind. 
Sreintement, n.m. 1. Exhaustion, exces- 
sive fatigue. 
2. Scathing criticism, 'slating'. 

Ah! si Le Plus Fort etait d'un 
nationaliste ! . . . quel ereintement ! 
Dame/ . . . U ne Vaurait pas 
vole (' He would have deserved it '), 
le nationaliste ! (GYP, Les Frous- 

158 escarpef 

erreur, n.f. I. Sauf erreur, If I am not 


2. II rfy a pas d'erreur ! (Often in popular 
form of Y a pas d'erreur /), an expres- 
sion used to support an assertion 
* And no mistake 1 J 

Mon vieux, commen9ai-je rfy a 
pas d'erreur: j'etais une brute (0. 
FARRERE, Dix-sept Histoires de 

6reinter. 1. vb. tr. (a) To tire out, ex- 
haust, work to death, knock up e g. 
Qa m'ereinte ! It takes it out of mo ! 
Jesuis ereinte, I'm done up, dead beat, 
knocked up. 
Lit. ' to break tbe back '. 

(b) To beat mercilessly. 

(c) To spoil, smash up, ruin e.g. II mta 
ereinte ma becane, He has smashed 
up my bike. 

(d) To criticise cruelly, to run down, to 
' slate ' e.g. La piece nouvelle a ete 
ereintee dans les journautt, The new 
play has been badly * slated' in the 

Les journaux du matin vous 
ereintent (WILLY, La bonne Mait- 

2. S'ereinter, (a) To tire oneself out, to 
overwork, to knock oneself up ; (b) 
To criticise one another cruelly, to 
' slate ' one another. 

ergot, n.m. Se dresser (or Monter or Se 
lever] sur ses ergots. To ride the high 
horse, to get on one's high horse, to 
stand on one's dignity, to strut like a 
Bantam cock. 

By allusion to a cock which, when it is angry, 
Uve la crSte, monte sur ses ergots (lit. ' raises its 
comb, rises on its spurs '). 

J'etais condamne a raser chaque 
matin certain lieutenant d'artillerie 
a la moustache retroussee, a la taille 
de guepe, lequel faisait le fendant 
( * swaggered ') et se levait perpSt- 
uellement sur ses ergots (V. CHERBTJ- 
LIEZ, L*Aventure de Ladislas BolsJd). 

See empoisonner 1 (Farrere). 
*esbigner, s*. To make off, make tracks, 
skedaddle, mizzle. 

A borrowing from the Languedoc or Gascon 
s'esbigna, ' to decamp ', ' take to flight *. 

En arrivant a Saint-Blaise, les 
Erdeval n'apercurent pas, comme de 
coutume, " monsieur Anatole " sur 
le perron & cote" du marquis . . . 
Est-ce qu'^7 se serait esbigne ? . . . 
demandait Jean ravi (GYP, Miche). 
esbronf(f)ant, adj. Flabbergasting, in- 
credible, unheard of e.g. des succes 
esbroufants. Op. 6patant. 
esbrouf(f)e, n.f. Attempt to attract 
notice, pretentious display e.g. Faire 
de Vesbroufe (des esbroufes, ses es- 
broufes], To show ojffi, to put on airs, 
swank, bounce, make a fuss, a great 
ado, a commotion. Cp. epate. 
See note to esbrouf(f)er. 

Quand on est un petit manage qui 
perche dans un cinquieme de deux 
rm'Tle huit, on ne va pas se lancer 
dans le grand genre. Qa serait 
vouloir faire de Vesbroufe (A. LIOH- 
TENBERaER, Petite Madame). 
esbrouf(f)er. 1. vb. tr. To try to astonish 
people by showing off. Cp. 6pater. 
A Provencal borrowing ; esbroufa, ' to burst 
out into speech *, ' to make a fuss * (lit. ' to 
snort', of a horse). 

2. S'esbrouf(f)er, To be astonished or 
frightened by trifles or easily. 

On n*a pas idee de ce qu'ils sont en 
retard, en province. . . . Qa ne sait 
rien . . . ga ne voit rien . . . go, ne 
comprend rien . . . a s'esbrouffe de 
la chose la plus naturelle (0. MIR- 
BEATJ, Le Journal d'une Femme de 
esbrouf(f)eur, n.m. and adj. Swanker, 


^escarpe, n.m. Professional thief and mur- 
See esearper. 

^escarper, vb. tr. To kill (in order to rob), 
to murder. 



Old jargon term which has passed into 
popular speech ; from the Provencal escarpi, 
' to cut to pieces % ' to rend *. 
eselaffer, s 9 . To burst out laughing. 

See grlngalet (Richepin). 
*eseof(f )ier, vb. tr. To kill, murder. 

A relic from old jargon : lit. * to remove a 
person's coiffe *, and, with it, his head. 
eseogriff e, n.m. Tall, gawky fellow, gawk 
e.g. Un grand escogriffe, A big gawk, 
a great lout. 

A fusion of escroc, "swindler*, and griff e, 
'claw*, the emblem of a thief (SAIN^AJST, 
Sources indigenes, II, p. 330). 

Qa ne vous ennuie pas, dites, 
Madame, d'etre escortee comme a 
par un grand escogriffe (GYP, La 

*esgourde, n.f. Ear, lug e.g. Mets-lui un 
pain sur Vesgourde, Dot Mm a plug in 
tlie lug ! 
On the model of gourde , ' gourd ', * flask *. 

Tu ne viendras pas me le crier dans 
les esgourdes (J. H. EOSNY, Dans les 

espacer, vb. tr. To drop a person gradu- 
From the phrase espacer see visiles. 

On va, non pas precisement vous 
exclure, mais vous " espacer " (GYP, 
Le Baron Sinai). 

espece, n.f. 1. Espece de . . ., is used to 
emphasise any term of abuse e.g. 
JSspece d'idiot (tfimbecile) ! You. bally 

Esp&ce was formerly used as a term of con- 
tempt by people of quality to denote a man 
of low birth. 

All I tu ne descendras pas ! . . . 
menaga le conducteur. . . . Eh 
Men ! tu. vas voir ca . . . esp&ce de 
saligaud ( e you dirty dog ') (0. MIR- 
BEATJ, La Vache tachetee). 

Allons, entre . . . espece de brute 
. . . criai-je tout a coup (0. Mm- 
BEATJ, Le Journal d'une Fenfime de 

2. Payer en especes (sonnantes), To pay in 
(hard) cash. 

ISsp&ces here = * specie ', * coin ' . Some 
variants are payer argent comptant, payer en 
(or ck) beaux deniers comptants, payer en 
esp&s&s sonnantes et trfbucluintes. 
esperance, n.f. Avoir des espirances or 
Etre en esperance, To be in the family 
way, to be expecting. See situation 
and polichinelle. 

*esp6rer, vb. tr. To wait for (a person) 
e.g. On ne vous esperait plus, We had 
given you up. 
This popular use of espfrer, particularly 

common in the South of France and among 
sailors, is really an archaism ; cp. * Je lis, 
je me prom&ne, je vous esp&re' (Madame de 

Si nous filions ? (* How about 
making tracks ? ') ]$sperez-moi cinq 
minutes, que je xavale ma facade 
( S I make my face tip a little*), Ms- 
toire de ne pas ( s so as not to ') 
montrer ma debacle au monde (H. 

esprit, n.m. 1. Avoir I 'esprit aux talons, 
Not to be witty, to shine at the wrong 

Lit. 'to have one's wit in one's heels*. Also 
used of one who is absent-minded or pre- 
occupied or thoughtlessly makes a gross 

2. Avoir Vesprit de Vescalier, Never to 
think of the right answer at the right 

By allusion to one who does not think of the 
right answer till he is going down the staircase 
after having left the room. 

3. Avoir resprit de travers, To have an 
awkward temper, to be of a cantanker- 
ous disposition. 

Variant : Avoir l f esprit mal fait. Similarly : 
Avoir I'esprit Men fa%t, To be good-tempered. 

4. Les grands esprits se rencontrent f Great 
wits always jump together, Great 
minds think alike, We both said the 
same thing at the same moment. 

5. Ne pas avoir V esprit de suite. Not to be 
persevering enough, to stick at nothing 

6. II a, trop d' esprit pour vivre vieuas, is said 
jocularly of a person who is too witty. 
The phrase is generally used ironically, 
implying that a person is not over-talented. 

es^uintant, adj. = reintant. 
esquintement, n.m. = ereintement 1. 
esquinter. 1. vb. tr. &reinter in all its 
meanings e.g. un voyage gui esquinte ; 
esquinter quelgtfun a coups de batons ; 
esguinter so, sante; il -m'# esquinte 
(* smashed ') ma montre ; esquinter une 
piece (un auteur), 

II est venu cogner dans mon tacot 

( c ramshackle motor-car *) qu'il a 

pris par le travers en esquintant 

fegerement sa voiture (T. BEKNABD, 

Les Pbares Soubigou). 

2. & esquinter, (a) To tire oneself out, to 

overwork, to knock oneself up. Also 

s* esquinter le temperament in this sense. 

Quand on na!t pauvre, il faut 

travailler ; eh bien ! tant pis, on 

travaille ; mais quand on a des 

rentes, sacristil il faudrait tee 




jobard (*a flat') pour s'esguinter le 
temperament (MAUPASSANT, Pierre et 

See fad6 1 (Hirsch). 

(b) To land one another blows, to knock 
each other on the head. 

Dans le temps jadis, il y avait des 

chevaliers qui s 5 esguintaient dans les 

tottrnois, histoire de gagner la rose 

(H. DtrvERNOis, Edgar). 

3Trom the ProvenQal esquinta, * to tire out ', 

and also ' to tear ", ' rend in pieces ' 

essayer, vb. tr. Tu peux toujours essayer ! 

(ironical) Just have a try ! (implying : 

and you will find that you cannot do it). 

*estamper, vb. tr. To dupe, cheat, take in, 

do, o vercharge-^-e.g. On vous estampera 

dans ce magasin-&, They will c do * 

you in that shop. Be faire estamper 

dans les grandes largeurs, To be 

cheated thoroughly, to be done brown. 

Lit. * to stamp * (metal, leather, etc.). 

Des Juifs colporteurs avaient 
estampe, parait-il, quelques villages. 
Ceux-ci se vengeaient sur les Juifs 
qu'ils avaient sous la main (B. 
LECAOHE, Jacob). 

estomac, n.m. 1. Avoir Testomac (or 
Sentir son estomac or iSe sentir 
restomac) dans les talons, To be very 
hungry, ravenous, very peckish, to 
have an empty feeling. 
Lit. * to have one's stomach in one's heels *. 
Cependant Nana, qui disait avoir 
? estomac dans les talons, se jetait sur 
des radis qu*elle croquait sans pain 
(ZoLA, Nana). 

2. Avoir de ? estomac, (a) To be strong, 
energetic, plucky; (6) To have au- 
dacity, effrontery ; (c) To be able to 
stand heavy losses of money. 
Estomac here has the force of 'courage', 
* pluck ". 

Je 1'admire, je trouve qu*Z a de 
Vestomac ! (Gyp, Le Baron Sinai). 

3. Avoir un estomac ffautruche, To be able 
to digest anything. 

Lit. ' to have the stomach of an ostrich *. 
*estomaguer, vb. tr. To astound, flabber- 

Hein ? mon vieux Maurice, ta pro- 
vince en est estomaqueel ... On 
ne voit pas ca tous les dimanches, 
a Grasse ? (H. BATAILLE, Le /Scan- 

*estourbir, vb. tr. To kill. Se faire estour- 
bir, To get killed, to get done in. 
From the Provencal estourbi, ' to stun ', * to 
fell', 'to kill'. 

II me confie, en Bouffant de rire, 

que, ce matin, il a pris au collet le 

chat blanc des Lanlaire. ..." C'est 

le dixieme que je leur estourbis en 

douceur '*, s'ecrie-t-il, avec une joie 

feroce (0. MIRBEAXJ, Le Journal 

d'une Femme de Ghambre). 

et a conj. Et d*un(e), M de deux, etc. That 

makes one (two, etc.), That's number 

one (two, etc.). 

Vous les connaissez done ? "Un 
peu, monsieur ! Zoe Lamour a fait 
son noviciat pour etre religieuse. 
Et d'une. Eva Schourine a ete 
poursuivie comme incendiaire et re- 
connue folle. Et de deux . . . 
(MAUPASSANT, Les Dimanches tfun 
Bourgeois de Paris). 

etage, n.m. Debasetage, Of low degree - 
e.g. des gens de bas etage, low, vulgar 

La fortune cachee par eux passe 

entre les mains d'un viveur de bas 

etage qui la mangera avec des 

drdlesses (P. BOTTBGET, La Gachette). 

etaler, s*. To fall down, come a cropper, 

fo sprawling. 
it. * to stretch oneself out '. 

II battit un entrechat (' cut a 
caper'), et faillit s' etaler dans la 
boue liquide (C. PARK^RE, Dix-sept 
Histoires de Marins). 

etape, n.f. Bruler les etapes (or retape), 
To run (pass) through a (halting-) 
place without stopping, not to stop at a 
place. See brfiler 1. 

Madame la comtesse est sortie. 
Bile pensait que son Excellence 
arriverait par le bateau du soir. 
Le prince repondit : J*ai brule une 
etape (V. CHERBUXJDEZ, UAventure de 
Ladislas Bolslci). 

6tat, n.m. L De son etat, By trade, by 
profession e.g. II est menuisier de son 
etat, He is a joiner by trade. 

Un pauvre garcon tres ordinaire, 
courtaud de boutique (' counter- 
jumper') de son etat (T. GAUTIER, 
Jean et Jeanette). 
See souche 3 (Fromentin). 

2. En tout etat de cause, Whatever might 
happen, In any case. 

3. Etre (or Se mettre) dans tous ses etats, To 
be quite upset (with emotion, anger, 
etc.), to be in a state of extreme agita- 
tion, of great excitement, to be in a 
paroxysm of passion, in a furious pas- 




sion, in a dreadful way e.g. Pour un 
rien il se met dans tous ses etats, A mere 
trifle sends him into a rage. 

Pendant que j'y pense, qu'on ne 
lui parle plus de Mounet-Sully, ni 
de reciter des vers, cela la met dans 
tous ses etats (R. BOYLESVE, UEn- 
fant a la Balustrade). 

Votre mere devait bien souffrir, 
j'ai beaucoup pense a elle. Tout 
s'est bien passe. Maman est natur- 
ellement dans tous ses etats (P. 
SOTJPAITLT, Les Freres Durandeau). 
4. Etre dans un etat interessant Eire 

dans une position interessante. 
Sterniser, s*. To stay an endless time, for 
evermore, to stop for ever, to take root. 
Je connais Romeo ! Si je ne le 
congedie pas, il va s' eterniser (H. 
BATAILLE, Notre Image). 
Sternite, n.f. Une eternite or Des eternites, 
A very long time, ages. 

Au revoir, a bientot j'espere, et ne 
soyez pas des eternites sans venir (M. 
DONNA Y, L'Affranchie). 
*tienne, proper name. A la tienne, 
^tienne ! Stock rhyming phrase used 
for a toast : Here's to you, old chap ! 
Your health, old man ! Cheerio ! 

Les uns comme les autres trin- 
quent avec le patron : A la tienne, 
Etienne ! (J. RICHEPIN, Le Pave). 
etouffer, vb. tr. 1. To hush up e.g. 
etouffer un scandale. 
Lit. ' to stifle '. 

H est certain qu'au lieu d'etaler 
toutes ces choses qui ne peuvent que 
nuire a la societe, il vaudrait mieux 
. . . les etouffer ? (Gyp, Le Baron 

*2. To rob, pinch, bone, collar, scrounge. 
Properly, in the slang of card-sharpers, * to 
pilfer a part of the stakes '. Cp. asphyxier. 
On etouffe ce qu'on peut, on n'a 
pas tou jours une perle sous la main 
(A. HERMANT, Cadet de Coutras). 
*3. To drink entirely e.g. Etouffer une 
bouteille de vin, To finish off a bottle of 

I. Ce que c'est (que) de nous! A 
stereotyped phrase used, for example, 
at funerals, with reference to the 
fragility of human life : How short 
life is ! What poor (weak) mortals we 
are ! Such is the fate of man ! 

Ce pauvre Charles 1 Ce que c'est 
de nous, tout de meme ! (The 

speaker is referring to a dying friend) 

(MAUPASSANT, Bel- Ami). 
2. C'est a moi de . . ., It is my turn to 

. . . e.g. C'est d moi de jouer, It is 
my turn to play. 

Grammarians draw a distinction between 
C'est d vous de parler, ' It is your turn to 
speak ', and C'est Avous a parler, ' It is up to you 
to speak'. Littr6, however, has shown that 
there is no difference of meaning in the 
two constructions, and that, at most, the 
second belongs to sustained, or more ' correct* 
style, and the first to current speech. 

Soudain, je le vis tirer sa montre 

. . . et faire signe au garcon. Ah ! 

non, m'ecriai-je, C'est a moi de 

regler ! (E. ESTATJNIE, ISInfirme aux 

Mains de Lumiere). 

*3. C'est-i(l) que . . . ? is used in popular 
speech for Sst-ce que . . . ? and the 
same turn is imitated in children's 
talk and familiar speech e.g. C*est4l 
que vous lies malade ? Oil c*est-i qu'on 
a mis mes limes? Combien c*est-i? 
(i.e. Combien fait $a ? or Combien gtfga 
fait ? in asking the price How much is 

4. C'est que . . ., The fact is that . . . 
e.g. Vous n'avez pas achete le livre ? 
C'est que je n'ai plus d'argent, Didn't 
you buy the book ? The fact is that 
(or It's because) I have no money left. 

5. Comme si de rien n'etait, As if nothing 
had happened, As if nothing (at all) 
were the matter. 

Quand nous avons un grand 
chagrin, nous ne pardonnons pas a 
la nature d'etre impassible, au soleil 
de se lever et de se coucher a Theure 
dite, ni a 1'herbe de pousser comme 
si de rien n'etait (A. HERMANT, Cou- 
tras, Soldat). 

6. En etre. (a) En tire (de . . .), To 
have got as far as with . . . e.g. OH 
en sommes-nous (de noire lecture)? 
How far have we got (with our read- 
ing) ? J'en suis a la page trente, I 
have reached page thirty. Voila ou 
fen suis, That's how I stand (or as far 
as I have got). Void ee qui (or ce 
qu'H) en est, This is how the matter 
stands. En $tes-vous encore Id ? (fig.) 
Do you still believe that ? II n'en est 
rien, Such is not the case. Je ne sais 
plus ou fen suis, (a) I have lost the 
place where I left off; (b) I do not 
know what I am about. II en est de 
. . . comme de . . ., It is with . . . 
as with . . e.g. II en est de moi 





comme de vous, I am in the same boat 
as you. 

Voil& donc^o^l nous en sommes. 
Qui aurait jamais cm ? Le divorce ? 
Oh ! cela, non, jamais, jamais ! (J. 
LJEMA!TRE, Le Depute Leveau). 

Ma foi I ecoutez, vous avez 1'air 
d'un brave homme, j'aime roieux 
vous dire ce qu*il en est (A. DAUDET, 
Tartarin de Tarascon). 

See eMque 2 (Courteline), lade 2 

(b) En etre a, + infinitive. To be reduced 
to e.g. II en est a mendier son pain, 
He is reduced to begging for a living. 

(c) JSn fare pour . . ., To have done some - 
thing to no purpose, without any pro- 
fit e.g. II en est pour sa peine or ses 
peines (pour son argent) He has had all 
his trouble for nothing (He has lost his 

(d) J' en suis pour ce que faidit, I stick to 
-what I have said. 

*(e) En dtre, used absolutely, varies in force 
according to the context, but always 
implies : to be one of, to be concerned 
or to have a share in e.g. Elle veut en 
etre, She wants to be in the swim. In 
thieves' slang, en etre denotes to belong 
to the secret police, to the detective 

Tantdt, on en faisait un espion 
attache a la haute police ; mais 
Vautrin pretendait qu'il n'etait pas 
assez ruse pour " en etre " (BALZAC, 
Le Pere Goriot). 

7. Etre d. (a) Etre a -\- infinitive, To be 
in the act of . . . e.g. II est toujours a 
Jumer, He is always smoking. Cp. 
Pendant que vous y etiez, Whue you 
were at (about) it. 

On vous a derangee ? . . . Vous 
etiez a peindre, je parie ? (GYP, 
Une Passionnette). 

(b) C'est a +- infinitive, in exclamations, 
has the force of e It is enough to . . .' 
(Cp. II y a de quoi + infinitive] e.g. 
G'est a devenir fou, It is enough to 
make one mad. C'est a mourir de rire, 
It is enough to make you die with 
laughter. C*est a n*y pas croire, It 
passes belief, It's beyond all belief. 

(c) Je suis a vous (dans un "moment or d 
I'instant), I shall be with you in a 

(d} Je suis tout a vous, I am entirely de- 
voted to you, completely at your dis- 

posal. Tout d vous (in a letter), 
Yours devotedly, Yours sincerely. 
*8. Etre dans -f plural noun, To be in such 
and such a trade, 

Qu'est-ce qu'elle fait ? Elle est 
dans les pommes de terre (R. BEN- 
JAMIN, Les Justices de Paix). 

9. Etre pour -f- infinitive, To be of a kind 
to, to be capable of, to be enough to. 

Cette 6paisse nourriture etait pour 
Tetouffer, disait-il (A. FRANCE, Le 
Chat maigre). 

10. Ne pas etre sans + infinitive, Not to 
fail to ... 

Hussonet et Frederic ne furent 
pas, non plus, sans en eprouver un 
certain plaisir (G. FLAUBERT, L'JlJdu- 

11. On ne pent pas etre et avoir ete, You 
cannot eat your cake and have it too. 
This expression serves to remind a person 
that one cannot always remain young, 
beautiful, strong, etc. 

*12. Ueire e.g. II Vest, is said of a man 
who is deceived by his wife. 
Elliptical for 6tre eocu. 

13. Si fetais de vous, If I were you, If I 
were in your place. 

14. Voild ce que c'est (que} de . . ., That 
is the (natural) consequence of . . ., 
This is what comes of . . . e.g. 
Voild ce que c'est (que) de ne pas faire 
attention, That's what comes of not 
paying attention. 

15. Y etre. (a) To understand -e.g. J'y 
suis maintenant, I understand now, 
I've got it (right). Vous y ites, You 
have guessed right, You have hit it. 
Vous n'y etes pas, You do not under- 
stand, twig. Je n y y suis plus (du tout), 
I can't make head or tail of it, I'm 
all at sea. 

Alors, s'e*cria M. Schwendi, je n'y 
suis plus J . . . Non, je ne vois 
pas d'ou peut venir votre opposition 
(E. BOD, L'lncendie). 

Comprenez-vous ? Oui . . . oui 
... je comprends . . . J'y suis 
(0. MIEBEATJ, Le Foyer). 

See la 5 (Gyp). 

(6) To be at home, to be in e.g. Dites-lui 
que je rfy suis pas, Tell him I am out 
(not at home). Je n'y suis pour per- 
sonne, I am not at home to anybody. 
(c) Qa y est / varies in force according to 
the context e.g. Cette fois, ca y est J 
Now it is done, and no mistake ! Got 
it, this time ! That's done now ! 




We've (I've, You've, etc.) done it 
now ! (i.e. got into trouble, We're 
(etc.) in for it now ') 
Tlie expression is also used interrogatively 
e.g. Qa y est ? Have you done it ? 
Are you ready ? etc. 

Une auto qui precedait celle 

de Barnegues fit une embardee 

( e swerve ') violente : Qa y est ! 

exclama Claudie (J. H. E.OSKY, 

U Amour d'abord). 

(d) J'y suis, fy reste, Here I am, here I 
stop; Here I am and here I mean to stay. 
By allusion to the well-known reply made to 
General Biddulph by Marshal MacMahon 
after his capture of the Malakoff redoubt, 
Sept 9, 1855, when he was asked if he could 
hold the position. 

(e) Y lire pour quelque chose (or Eire pour 
quelque chose dans . . .), To nave 
something to do with a thing, to 
be in some degree (partly) respon- 
sible (answerable) for. Similarly n'y 
etre pour rien, not to have anything 
to do with a thing, not to be respon- 
sible (answerable) for, to have had no 
share in e.g. Vous y tes pour quelque 
chose, You have had something to do 
with this. Je n^y suis pour rien, I 
have (had) nothing to do with it, I 
have (had) no hand in it. 

Et c'est toi qui as eu cette idee- 
la ? Oui, papa. Toi tout seul ? 
Oui, papa. Ta mere n'y est- pour 
rien ? (H. DUVERNOIS, Monsieur). 

6trenne, n.f. (Ne pas) En avoir Vetrenne, 
(Not) To be the first to use or enjoy a 
thing, (not) to have the e wipe off ' 
e.g. Tu n'en auras pas Vetrenne, You will 
not be the first to use it. 
Lit. ' present ' (especially New Year's gift or 
Christmas box). 

etrenner. 1. vb. tr. To give a person his 
first sale of the day e.g. HJtrennez- 
moi / is the call of street hawkers, 
flower-girls, beggars, etc., inviting 
people to buy, and implying that the 
purchase will be the first of the day 
(the etrenne) and will bring the vendor 
good luck. 

2. vb. intr. (a) To make one's first sale 
of the day e.g. Je ri*ai pas encore 
etrenne t I haven't had a sale yet. 

(6) To receive a thrashing or a reprimand, 
to * cop it * e.g. Attends un peu, tu vas 
etrenner / Just you wait, I'm going to 
put you through it 1 

trolt, ad/j. Eire (or Se trouver) a Vetroit, 

(a) To be cramped (pinched) for room, 
to be ill at ease ; (b) To be pinched for 
means, to be in straitened circum- 

Plus tard, capitale d'un grand 
fitat, elle se trouva a Detroit dans ses 
remparts desormais inutiles (A. 
FRANCE, I? lie des Pingouins). 
*eustache, n.m. Clasp-knife. 

So-called after Eustache Dubois, an eight- 
eenth-century cutler of Saint- 6tienne. Ori- 
ginally the full name was used, but later the 
surname was dropped. 

Eve, proper name. Ne connaUre quelqu'un 
ni d'Eve ni d'Adam e.g. Je ne le con- 
nais ni d*Eve ni d'Adam, I have not 
the slightest acquaintance with him, I 
do not know him from Adam, 
executer, s*. (a) To decide to do some- 
thing, to comply (against one's own 
interest or inclination) e.g. II s'est 
execute de bonne grace, He complied 
with a good grace ; (b) To pay (un- 
willingly rather than otherwise), to pay 
up, to fork out. 

"AJlons, mon pere, reprit le 

comte, ne vous faites pas tirer 

Foreille (' don't require pressing '), 

et recitez-nous votre petite his- 

toire, sinon, je me chargerai de la 

raconter a ma fagon." Le bon 

pere se hata de s^executer (V. CHEB- 

BTTLIEZ, Le Comte Xostia). 

exemple, n.m. 1. Precher tfexemple, To 

practise what one preaches, to set the 


Si la chaleur et 1' eloquence man- 
quaient a sa parole, il prechait $ex- 
emple (P. ALBERT, La Litterature 
francaise au dix-huitieme Siecle}. 
2. Par exemple ! is a favourite interjection 
or exclamation, the value of which 
varies with the context. We may 
distinguish three mala uses : 
(a) To reinforce an affirmation, to stress 
what is excessive or exceptional in 
the thought expressed e.g. Ah, voila 
du Huge qui est blanc, par exemple/ 
Ah ! here we have linen that is white, 
and no mistake I Some possible Eng- 
lish equivalents are : One must own, 
one must admit, it must be said, to 
be sure, indeed, and no mistake. 

O'est loin, par exemple \ mais en 
revanche la promenade est belle (J. 
BICHMTN", Le Pave). 

Est-ce que vous allez vous 
battre ? II ne vous manquerait ylua 




que ca (* That would be the last 
straw*), par exemple/ (A. CAPUS, 
La Chatelaine). 

Ah 1 voila ce que je ne crois pas, 
par exemple ! (BE. LAVEDAN, Le 
Marquis de Priola). 

See Wague 3 (Mirbeau). 

(b) Sometimes surprise or astonishment 
may be accompanied by a degree of 
indignation which finds vent in the 
form of a protest and which is an- 
nounced by a f par exemple ' uttered 
forcibly. In some cases par exemple 
alone suffices to express this protest. 
Some English equivalents of this use 
of par exemple, which may also 
convey vehement denial, are: You 
don't (mean to) say so ! Fancy that ! 
Well now '. Bless me t The very idea ! 
Really ! Indeed ! Upon my word ! 
e.g. Par exemple, voila qui est fort (or 
c'est trap fort) ! Well now, I like that ! 

Ah ! tu ne sais pas, mon chapelier, 
. . . c'est un voleur. Par exemple t 
(LABICHE, Les Petits Oiseaux). 

Mais j'estime que tous leg torts 
n'etaient pas de son cote. Par 
exemple/ (H. BERNSTEIN, Le Ber- 

Le soleil ne va pas te gener, mon 
oncle ? Nbn ! par exemple / II y a 
si longtemps que je ne Fai vu (ZoLA, 
La Joie de vivre). 

Vous voulez lui dormer ma cham- 
hre ? Pourquoi pas ? Ma cham- 
bre ! Ah ! non, par exemple, ea 
c'est trop fort . . . je ne veux pas 
, . . , (FLEES ETCAILLA VET, UA ne de 

(c) In the above cases par exemple is used 
as an exclamation or as part of a reply. 
It also occurs in narrative style in 
which the author, as it were, adopts the 
familiar tone of conversation with his 
reader, and inserts the formula in order 
to forestall or contradict a possible 
objection or a thought on the part of 
the reader which might be contrary to 
what the author desires to express. 
By the addition of 'par exemple^ he 
aims at restricting the possibility of 
giving his statement too general or too 
affirmative a character. Let us take the 
following passage : * Une bonne grand' 
mere d'au moins soixante-dix ans. 
Encore jolie, par exemple, et encore 

fraiche' (P. Loti, PecTieur tflslande). 
The first part of this quotation would 
make the reader at once think, for 
example f of a frail, ugly, toothless old 
woman, and the author, foreseeing this 
e example ' which might cross the 
reader's mind, hastens to make a re- 
striction by adding in his more de- 
tailed description the par exemple 
which he imagines he has heard on his 
reader's lips. This restrictive par 
exemple can also occur in dialogue, and 
is used popularly to mark a contrast- 
e.g. n ne pouvait pas supporter les 
choux : par exemple, il aimait bien 
la choucroute. Some of its possible 
English renderings are : However, Be 
it noted, I assure you, I'd have you 

Sois tranquille, mon petit, je ne 
vais plus en gagner, de F argent ; 
mais, par exemple, je vais en de- 
penser, je t'en reponds (A. CAPTIS, 
Ulnstitut de Beaute). 

II ne voulait pas avoir Fair de 
quelqu'un qui s'evade. II allait au 
contraire d'un pas de flaneur et 
d'indifferent, Fosil au guet, par 
exemple, et les jambes pretes a un 
elan prodigieux (A, DATJDET, Jack). 
Je Faime bien : c'est une bonne 
petite fille ... n faudra refaire 
son education, par exemple; mais 
Fetoffe est excellente (E. HOD, 

exister, vb. intr. 1. To feel physically ex- 
hilarated, to experience a keen sensa- 
tion of physical enjoyment e.g. II fait 
bon id, on existe / It's cosy here, one 
feels jolly comfy ! 

2. @a U* existe pas / Phrase expressing 
contempt e.g. As-tu vu cette piece? 
Qa rf existe pas I Have you seen this 
play ? It's rotten, a wash-out, abso- 
lute rubbish, piffle. 

Ces gens-la, je m'en moque, ca 
rf existe pas ! (H. BEBJTSTEIN, Sam- 
expedier, vb. tr. To kill, murder, c polish 


extra, n.m. Faireun extra, To make a bit 
of a splash. 

Voila ce que c'est que de ne jamais 
s'offrir un petit extra. On ne sait 
jamais plus boire quand il le faud- 
rait (H. J. MAGOG, La Vente). 




faMquer, vb. tr. I, To do e.g. Qu'est-ce 
que tu fabriques la? What are you 
up to ? 

Tiens ! . . . Guibray ! . . . Qu'- 
est-ce qu'il fabrigfue ici ? (GYP, Une 

*2. To rob, steal, scrounge. 
*3. To deceive, dupe. 
*4. To arrest, nab. 

*fa$ade, n.f. Face. Faire sa facade, To 
paint one's face, to make up. 
Lit. ' frontage * of a building. 

See esp^rer (Duvernois). 
faeon, n.f. 1. De toute facon, In any 
case, at any rate e.g. De toutefa$on il 
a tort, Whichever way you look at it, 
he is wrong. 

2. Sans fa$on(s), Without ceremony, 
without fuss. Apres bien des fagons, 
After a great deal of fuss. Que de 
fa$ons / What a fuss ! Faire des 
fagons, (a) To stand on ceremony ; (6) 
To make a great deal of fuss. 

Chez nous, aux Stats-Unis, on 
n'y met pas tant de facons . . . un 
garon part, se marie. . . . Bien. 
Cours ta chance. . . . En France, 
vous mettez du sentiment partout 
(BRIETJX, Les Americains chez nous). 

3. Dire sa facon de penser, To speak one's 
mind e.g. Je lui dirai ma fagon de 
penser, I'll give him a piece of my 

*fade, n.m. Avoir son fade, (a) To have 
one's full share (of something un- 
pleasant e.g. illness, suffering, bad- 
luck, etc.) ; (6) To be drunk. 
Amongst thieves, the word denotes each 
accomplice's share in the proceeds of a 
robbery, his * whack * (see note to fader). 
*fad6, adj. Bind. past. part. *1. Etrefade de, 
To be in possession of, to be provided 
with, to have received one's whack of 
(a good or bad thing). 

Je mfesquinte \ C'est ce que je 
veux ! Alors, je peux dire que vous 
eles fade ! ( c You've got what you 
want 5 ) (C. H. HIESCH, "Petit 
Louis," Boxeur). 

*2. Etrefade, To be in a bad way (e.g. ill, 
wounded, bemauled, etc.) e.g. II est 
fade, He's done for, He's a goner. 

J'ai aussi une maladie de cceur. 
Ah ! je suis fade ! Oui, mon cher, 
voila ou fen suis (M. DONNA Y, La 

*3. Drunk, well oiled, screwed. 

See fader. 

*fader, vb. tr. *1. To beat, to kill, do for. 

Lui ou moi, y en a un qui doit 

fader 1'autre avant qu'on se piaule 

(' return home ') (C. H. HIESCH, Le 

Tigre et Coquelicot}. 

*2. To punish, treat severely, to give it 
some one hot e.g. Les juges Vont fade, 
The judges gave him a heavy sentence. 
Fader (from the Provengal fadd, ' to give *) is 
an old jargon word (meaning ' to divide the 
proceeds of a robbery ', and then * to share 
out ' generally) which has passed into popular 
speech with a number of more or less ironical 

*fafiot, n.m. Banknote. Fafiot male, 
Banknote for 1 ,000 francs. Fafiot fern- 
elle, Banknote for 500 francs. Fafiot 
en bas age, Banknote for 50 francs. 
Des fafiots, ' Flimsies '. Des fafiots a 
la manque, Forged banknotes. 
An old jargon imitative word suggesting the 
sound of something rustling. 

Une bonne affaire lui avait pro- 
cure plusieurs fafiots de cent francs 
(J. H. ROSNY, Marthe). 
fagot, n.m. 1. De derriere les fagots, Ex- 
cellent, of superior quality. 
Originally used of good wine which is placed 
in a cellar behind faggots and left to mature. 
Car il fallait que Jean fit des 
betises ! . . . Tous les Erdeval en 
avaient fait. II ne saurait mentir a 
la race. II serait un Erdeval de 
derriere les fagots (GYP, Miche). 

2. C'est un vrai fagot d'epines, He is a 
regular bear. 

Lit. ' a faggot of thorns '. Variant : II est 
gracieux comme un fagot d'tpines. 

3. II y a fagots et fagots, All men are not 

alike, There are men and men. Can 
also be applied to things, in which case 
English repeats the name of the thing 
in question e.g. e There are motor- 
cars and motor-cars *. 
This expression, implying that two persons 
or two things which are alike in nature may 
differ considerably in quality, merit or worth, 
originates in Moliere's Le M&tetin malgi6 
lui, I, 6. 

4. Sentir le fagot, (a) (lit.) To be tainted 
with heresy (and therefore to run the 
risk of being burnt at the stake with fag- 
gots, the usual fate of heretics in former 
days). Can also be said of things (e.g. 
books) ; (6) (jocularly, by extension} To 
be unorthodox, not to be quite honest 
or all one should be. 




In its extended use the phrase generally 
implies that one has no great confidence in 
the sincerity of a person's beliefs and above 
all in the regularity of his way of living. 
fagot, adj. Dressed like a guy, anyhow 
e.g. Comme vous voila fagotee ! What 
a fright (guy, frump) (or How dowdy) 
you look ! 
Sec fagoter. 

Regine est ridicule de faire voy- 
ager cette enfant fagotee comme eUe 
Test (BRIEUX, iSuzette}. 

See temps 6 (Bourget). 
fagoter. 1. vb. tr. To dress some one like 

a guy, without taste. 
2. Se fagoter, To dress in bad taste, to 
make oneself look like a guy. 
fagots which are badly made are said to be 
mal MbilUs (habiller originally having the 
force of ' to make suitable for % ' to dispose *, 
' arrange ') ; hence the comparison tore habilU 
comme un fagot, of a person dressed without 
taste, and the above use of the verb jagoter. 
Est-elle assez province ! A-t-on 
idee de se fagoter comme 93, J (HENNE- 
Qunr ET COOLTJS, La /Sonnette 

*faignant, n.m. and adj. Lazy person, 
lazy-bones, idle dog. 
A corruption of fain&tnt (from faire + ndant, 
* nothing ') 

EUe helait sa soeur, la traitait de 
faignante et de clampine (J. K. 
HTTYSMANS, Les Scaurs Vatard). 
faim, n.f. 1. Avoir une faim canine or 
une faim de loup, To be as hungry as a 

*2. 11 fait faim ; by analogy with expres- 
sions referring to the state of the atmo- 
sphere (e.g. il fail froid, chaud, etc.), 
popular speech has introduced 11 fait 
faim in the sense of ' I'm beginning to 
feel hungry, peckish '. 
faire, vb. tr. and intor* Faire easily comes 
first among all French verbs in the 
variety of its meanings and applica- 
tions. The following colloquial uses 
should be noticed : 
(A) 1. To * do '(a place of a commercial 
traveller or tourist) e.g. Un voyageur 
de commerce fait Rouen et Le Havre. 


2. To deal (at cards) e.g. A vous de faire ! 
Your deal. 

3. To charge (a price) e.g. Vous mefaites 
cet article trop cher, You are charging 
me too much for that article. Corn- 
Men faites-vous cette soie ? How much 
are you asking for this silk ? Cp. 
Combien cela fait-il? How much is 

that ? Cela fait six francs, That 
amounts to sis francs. 

4. To manage e.g. Comment me marier ? 
Je fais a peine a moi seul, How can I 
get married ? I can scarcely keep my- 
self. Comment faites vous? How do 
you manage (it) ? *Et comment gue tu 
feras? And how are you going to 
manage it ? 

J'ai o^uinze mille francs . . . 
quand mes fermiers me paient. 
EUe parut stupefaite. Comment 
faitetf-vous? . . . Vous avez un 
joli appartement ? (GYP, Le Baron 

5. To have (of illness) e.g. J'ai fait une 

longue maladie. 

6. To steal, prig, scrounge, e.g. Un 
voleur fait le portemonnaie d'un bad- 
aud t A thief steals an idler's purse. 
!For a thief a theft is an affaire or an ouvrage ; 
similarly in the next use of faire. Cp. 

s est un pickpocket ; il lui a fait 
sa montre et son portefeuille (HEN- 
NEQTJIN ET CooLiTS, La Sonnette 

*7. To Mil. Cp. fabriquer. 
*S. To arrest. 

*9. To pick up a person, make the conquest 
of e.g. Faire unefemme, To pick up a 
woman. Faire un type (un miche), 
To pick up a man (a mug) and get 
money from him (prostitutes* slang). 

EUe a fait un vicomte, je crois. 
Oh ! tres lancee ! Elle peut se 
ficker de nous tous (ZOLA, UAssom- 

10. Qa (Cela) me fait guelgue chose, (a) 
That matters to me e.g. Cela vous 
fait-il guelgue chose? Does it matter 
to you ? Qu*est-ce g[ue cela lui fait? 
What is that to him ? What does that 
matter to him ? Cela ne me fait rien, 
That makes no difference to me ; (b) 
That aflects me, stirs me, upsets me, 
gives me a shock. 

(b) Merci, je n'ai pas envie de 
fumer. Qa me fait guelque chose de 
voir $a (the speaker is referring to a 
murder) (MAUPASSANT, La petite 

Qa m* a fait guelque chose d'appren- 
dre ce mariage (BuiEux, La petite 

*11. pa n'a rien a faire! Stock phrase 
expressing refusal, scorn, denial 




There's nothing doing ! Don't you 

count on that 1 You can't Md me ! 

Tell that to the marines ! 

12. Qa (Cela) ne fait rien, It doesn't 

matter, Never mind ! Qu'est-ce que 

cela (ga)fait ? What does that matter ? 

Vous la connaissez peut-etre ? 

Non. Qa ne fait rien (0. Mm- 

BEAU, Le Journal d'une Femme de 


*13. Faire dans les . . . e.g. Cettemaison 
fait dans les cuirs, This firm is in the 
leather trade. II fait dans les autos, 
He is in the motor business. Cp. tre 

14. Faire du -f- numeral, To go at the 
rate of . . . e.g. tin automobiliste 
fait du cinquante & Vlieure, A motorist 
goes fifty (kilometres) an hour. 

Le duo de Coutras, qui n'avait 
point d* ordinaire I'association d'idees 
si prompte, fit cette fois du cent a 
Vheure (A. HERMASTT, Cadet de Cou- 

15. Faire son (sa) -f- adjective : the posses- 
sive adjective is used in familiar 
speech after faire in certain expres- 
sions in which faire practically assumes 
the force of contrefaire, * to imitate ' 
e.g. II fait son (Tu fais ton) malin, son 
tetu, son bebe, etc. This is an exten- 
sion of the use of faire + a descriptive 
noun or an adjective used as a noun 
with the force of ' to play the part of ", 
* to pretend to be *, * to ape ' e.g. 
faire le riche, to pose as a rich man ; 
faire le mort, to pretend to be dead ; 
faire le grand seigneur, to play the 

Ayez la complaisance, mon ami, 
d'aller a votre travail. Ne faites 
done pas votre duchesse. C'est inu- 
tile. Vous voulez m'humilier en af- 
fectant de me parler comme a un 
domestique (BEIETJX, Le Bourgeois 
aux Champs). 

Cette Jeannine ! C'est de la 
pose. . . . Mais oui, elle adore faire 
son interessante (H. BATAILLE, L'JSn- 

*16. Faites I or Faites done I A polite popu- 
lar formula used in answer to Pardon ! 
or a request. Cp. the English ' Carry 
on ! ' c Go ahead ! ' 

Et puis, je vous demande pardon, 
je m'attendris. Faites, faites (H. 
LAVEDAN", Nocturnes). 

17. II rfen fera rien, He will do nothing 

of the kind (sort). 

*18. II y a de quoi faire ! or Y a de quoi 
faire/ A popular formula expressing 
admiration, respect, politeness, etc., in 
the presence of a quantity of things 
belonging to the person addressed. 
Cp. the Americanism * Some stuff ! * 

Bob parvenait a lire : Situation 
serieuse. On offrirait de suite 
quarante francs a jeune homme 
(references) pour emploi de bureau. 
Y a d*guoi faire ! raillait Bob. 
Quarante balles \ v'la des gens 
qu'est pas des exploiteurs on j'sais 
pas (F. CAEOO, Bob et Bobette 
s y amusent). 

19. La faire a quelgu'un, To try it on with 
a person, to come it e.g. (II ne) faut 
pas me la faire, You must not try that 
on with me, It's no good trying it on 
with me. On ne me la fait pas, a moi, 
People can't cod me. 

Tu sais, vieux, il ne faudrait plus 
me la faire avec la chastete du sol- 
dat (A. HEEMANT, Cadet de Coutras). 
Oui-d& ! cause, mon bonhomme ! 
a d'autres / On ne me la fait pas, a 
moi / (C. FABBJ&BE, Quatorze His- 
toires de Soldats). 

See aecroire 1 (Hirsch), toobaid 

*20. La faire au (a la) + noun, To seek to 

impose upon by an affected show of 

some feigned sentiment e.g. La faire 

a la pose, To show off, to pose. La 

faire d la raideur, To put on a distant 

manner, to look * uppish *. La faire 

au chique, To pretend, to swank. 

Similarly La faire a VMroisme, a 

V innocence, a la vertu, a la modestie, etc. 

Ensuite, comme madame est bien 

connue pour son patriotisme, il la 

fait au patriote (G. LiROtrx, La 

farouche Aventure)." 

21. Laissez-moi faire, Leave it to me, Do 
not interfere with me, Let me alone. 
Laissez faire, Don't interfere. 

22. N* avoir gue faire de, Not to want, not 
to want to have anything to do with 
e.g. Je rfai gue faire de vos conseils, I 
do not want (have no use for) your 

Les demi-dieux n'ont que faire du 
bavardage des mortels ! (C. FAB- 
Quatorze Histoires de Soldats). 




23. Ne fais pas & autrui ce que tu ne veux 
pas qu>on te fasse, Do unto others 
as you would have others do unto 

24. Que faire ? What's to "be done ? 
What can one do ? What am I (are 
we) to do ? Pourquoi faire ? What 
for ? Comment faire ? What is to be 
done ? 

25. Que voulez-vous (veux-tu) que fy 
fasse ? How can I help it ? What 
would you have me do ? It is no busi- 
ness of mine, What do you suppose I 
can do about it ? 

26. Eien tfy fait, It is all of no use, all in 
vain, Nothing has any effect upon him 
(on it). 

Antoine la soigna de son mieux (' as 
best he could ') ; M. de Vornay et 
Marguerite 1'y aiderent. Meme un 
veterinaire fut mande. Rien n'y Jit 
(M. PREVOST, Le Pas relcve). 
*27. Savoir y faire, To be skilful, to know 
how to set about a thing, to be up to 
snuff, to be dSbrouillard. 

Sometimes abbreviated in popular speech to 
savoir yf e.g. 'Si tu te faisais prendrel 
T' en fais pas, on sait yf . . .' (K. Do 
Saint Magloire). 

Plus tard, ils se retireront a la 

campagne, vu que Phoineau sait y 

faire sous le rapport du betail et que 

Mile Arr6mere s'occupera des poules 

(H. DTJVERNOIS, Edgar}. 

28. Se laisser faire, To take it lying down 

e.g. II se laisse faire, He lets people 

treat him as they like. 

Tu veux encore me facher avec 

celui-la comme avec tous les autres. 

... Je ne me laisserai pas faire 

(BRIETJX, Les Hannetons). 

(B) Se faire. 1. Comment se fait-il 

que . . . ? How is it that . . . ? e.g. 

Comment se fait-il qu'il ne soit pas 

pret ? How is it that he is not ready ? 

Comment cela se fait-il? How 

that come about ? Why is that ? 

2. II sefait tard, It is growing late. 

3. Se faire a, To get used to, to accustom 
oneself to e.g. On se fait a tout, One 
gets used to everything. II faut s*y 
faire. One has to get used to it. Je 

fais, I am getting used to it. 
Octavie, ne pouvant se faire a 
1'idee que sa petite Miarka 1'eut 
quittee mechamment ... ( J. RICH- 
Epnsr, MiarJca). 
*4. S'en faire, To worry. Ne pas s 7 en 

faire, Not to worry e.g. // ne s'en 
fait pas, He takes it easy. (Ne) fen 
fais (Ne vous en faites) pas ! Don't 
worry ! Ne vous en faites done pas 
pour go, ! Don't you worry about that ! 
(II ne) faut pas s'en faire / Don't you 
worry ! 

Elliptical for se faire de la bile or du mauvau 

Pour ces gens-la, c'est comme si la 
guerre etait a Madagascar, j'te jure 
qu'^Ts ne s'en font pas pour la cam- 
pagne d'hiver (E. DOEO-EL^S, Les 
Croix de Bois). 

See eaille (Barbusse). 
faire-part, n.m. Circular announcing a 
birth or marriage or death ; wedding- 

Abbreviation of un Mttet (une lettre] de fairs- 
part (fctire part de quelque chose d quelqu'un == 
'to inform some one of something'). 

Done, en mars 1914, je recus un 
faire-part . . . Anselme Theodat y 
communiquait la nouvelle du deces 
de Mile Eeine-Vigile Theodat, sa 
sceur (E. ESTAUNIE, Ulnfirme any} 
Mains de Lumiere). 
faiseur, n.m. 1. Swindler. 

2. Intriguer, swaggerer. 

3. Une faiseuse changes, A woman who 
makes a living by baby-farming, or one 
who procures a miscarriage by unlaw- 
ful practices, an abortionist. 

Lit. ' maker of angels '. 

fait. (A) Pas* participle. *1. Caught 
e.g. Je suis fait, I'm nabbed. See 
faire 8. 

2. (Ten est fait de . . ., It is all up with 
. . . C^en est fait de moi, It is all up 
(over) with me, I'm done for. 

3. C'est bienfait ! See Men 4. 

4. Des gens faits, People of matured judg- 

5. Dressed (of women) e.g. Comme je 
suis faite f What a fright I am ! 

6. litre fait a la fatigue, To be inured to 

(B) n.m. 1. Dire son fait a quelqu'un, 
To tell some one (plainly or just) what 
one thinks of him (not complimentary) 
e.g. Je lui ai dit son fait, I gave him 
a piece (a bit) of my mind, I gave it 
him straight. 

Ce monsieur est un goujat et une 

crapule ! Je lui ai dit son fait une 

bonne fois ( e once and for all ') (P. 

VEBER, Les Rentrees). 

2. En fait or Au fait, As a matter of fact, 




in point of fact, in reality. Au fait 
sometimes merely = By the way. 
3. En fait de . . ., In the way (matter) 
of . . ., as . . ., in point of ... 

Je me demande si, en fait de 
surprise, Madame de Cheneval ne 
va pas, tout bonnement, nous an- 
noncer son mariage avec Sylvere 

4. Eire au fait (de) 9 To know how things 

stand, to be aware (of), to be thoroughly 
conversant (with). Mettre quelqu'un 
au fait (de), To inform a person (of), 
to tell a person all about a thing e.g. 
Mettez-moi au fait de ce qui s'est passe, 
Tell me what happened. Maintenant 
vous voila au fait, Now you know the 
long and short of the matter. Cp. 

Dix minutes s'etaient a peine 

ecoulees que j'etais au fait de tout 

le passe d'Anselme Theodat (E. 

EsTAinsriE, Ulnfirme aux Mains de 


5. Etre sur de son fait, To be sure of what 

one is saying, to know what one is 
(talking) about. 

6. Fait divers, Miscellaneous piece of 
news e.g. Les faits divers, (in a news- 
paper) News from here and there, 
Current events. 

Tinder the heading Faits Divers, newspapers 
publish reports of accidents, the latest 
scandals, etc. The reporter who has charge 
of this item is called un fait-diversier or some- 
times un fait- diver siste. 

Mais je vous fiche mon billet #w'il 
f audrait etre un menteur imaginatif 
pour inventer le petit " fait divers " 
que je veux vous mettre a mme 
<f apprecier (C. FARKERE, Dix-sept 
Histoires de Marins). 
See premier 4 (Coppee). 

7. Faits et gestes e.g. On epie ses faits 

et gestes, They spy upon his every 


On me reVeilla de fort bonne heure 
pour me faire subir un long inter- 
rogatoire sur mes faites et gestes 
pendant mon voyage (V. CHER- 
BTJLIEZ, ISAventure de Ladislas 

8. Prendref ait et cause pour quelqu'un, To 
stand up for a person, to take a per- 
son's part, to take up some one's 
quarrel, to side with a person. 

9. Prendre quelqu'un sur le fait, To take 
(catch) a person in the (very) act. 

10. Si fait.' Yes indeed! On the con- 
trary ! It's a fact, I assure you ! 

11. Venir au fait e.g. Venez au fait, 
Come to the point. 

falloir, vb. impers. Faut-il que . . . 
e.g. Faut-il que je sois bete! What 
a fool I am ! Faut-il qu'ils soient 
riches ! How rich they must be ! 

Tiens ! je ne 1'avais pas remarque, 
en effet. . . . Faut-il que je sois 
bte / . . . Ah ! mais, il est tres 
joli, tu sais . . . ravissant (O. MIR- 
BEATT, Le Journal d'une Femme de 

falot, n.m. Passer au(x) falot($], To be 
tried by court-martial. 
War-time military slang. The expression 
owes its origin to the fact that formerly 
officers who presided over a court-martial 
wore their k&pis with blue, white and red 
plumes. The accused compared these plumes 
to a row of jalots, i.e. paper lanterns with the 
French national colours used on public 
*falzar, n.m. Trousers, slacks. 

Variant: dalzar, n.m. The second syllable 
probably comes from bazar in the sense of 
' second-hand garment % but the origin of the 
initial syllables is obscure. 
fameux, adj. First-rate, great, ripping, 
topping, capital e.g. un fameux diner, 
a slap-up dinner. Un fameux im- 
becile, a bally fool. Un fameux coquin, 
A. precious rogue. 

famiile, n.f. La belle-famille, Relations- 

Le depart de son mari pour Salon- 
ique, en 1'obligeant d'aller plus sou- 
vent dans sa belle-famille, a seul in- 
terrompu son travail (P. BOUEGET, 

f anfan, n.m. and /. Little boy or girl ; 
also term of endearment little one, 

Child's talk for enfant. 

*fantabosse, n.m. Infantryman, foot- 

Combination of fantassin, ' foot-soldier ', and 
bosse, ' hump ' (by allusion to the hump made 
by the haversack). 

Au fait, oui, vous etes de la 
reserve de 1'active. Fantabosse et 
sergent, dit Pierre non sans orgueil 
(P. MARGTJERITTE, L'JSmbusque). 
fantastique, adj. Incredible e.g. un luxe 
fantastique, incredible luxury. Un 
prix fantastique, An unheard-of price. 
A familiar use of the adjective, which means 
lit. ' fantastic', 'fanciful'. 
faramineux, adj. Big, wonderful, stunning 
e.g. un rhume faramineux, a dread- 




ful cold. Un toupet faramineux, Awful 

This word, also spelt pTiaramineux, is a 
provincialism (Anjou), meaning 'horrible', 
'frightful', which has passed into popular 
speech with the attenuated force of ' pro- 
digious ', ' stupefying '. It is connected with 
a popular belief in Anjou, where faramine 
denotes a wild or harmful beast, and Mte 
faramineuse is the epithet applied to the were- 
wolf and other fantastic animals (SADrflAiT, 
Langage parisien, pp. 287-8). 
faraud, n.m. and adj. Vain, swanky, 
vulgar dude e.g. Faire le faraud, To 
swank, put on side. 
Used in popular speech of a common person 
who is dressed Tip in his Sunday best and 
puts on airs. In old jargon the word meant 

* coxcomb ' , ' dandy ' or ' lover ' , from the 
Provencal faraud, ' elegant ', 4 smart ' (SAIN- 
flAJT, Langage parisien, p. 17). 

II prit, en disant cela, ce que le 
peuple appelle un air faraud (A. 
HERMAOT, Cadet de Ooutras). 

Ceux qui ont touche les nouvelles 
capotes bleu horizon, font lesfarauds 
(B. DORGELES, Les Oroix de Bois}. 
farce. (A) n.f. 1. Faire une farce a 
quelqu'un, To play a trick on some one. 
2. Faire des (or ses) farces, (a) To play 
pranks, (6) to lead a fast life. 

Je parie, Celestine, que vous avez 
du en faire des farces a Paris ? . . , 
Hein, en avez-vous fait, de cos 
farces ? (0. MIRBEATT, Je Journal 
d*une Femme de Chambre). 
(B) adj. Very funny, comical. 

Elle se coiiait d'une fagon 
grotesque, avec de petits frissons 
vieillots tout a fait farces (MATT- 
PASSANT, Mile Perle). 
farceur, n.m. and adj. (a) Practical joker, 
funny fellow, wag; (b) Humbug, fraud. 

See ehoeolat (Veber). 
fard,%.m. Piquerunfard, To blush (with 
confusion or shame), to t lobster ' 

According to Saine'an (Langage parisien, 
p. 446) the original form of this expression is 
piquer un phare, which has the same meaning, 
and originated in school-slang, Piquer is a 
very common verb among school boys and 
girls with the force of ' to get ', * to make ', 

* to do ', etc. (cp. piguer un chien, un lalus, 
une s&che, un soleil). Thus pigiier un phare 
would have literally the force of * to resemble 
a light-house or search-light '. The substitu- 
tion of fard would suggest itself quite natur- 
ally, since fard denotes * paint ', ' rouge *. 

J'ai rencontre Antoinette souvent. 
Elle pique un fard chaque f ois. Moi, 
je rigole, je lui fais de V&il \ (3EL 
BERNSTEIN", La Gfriffe). 

farfoulller, vb. tr. and intr. To rummage 
about, to rummage among. 
Prom the Poitevm/ar/omZZe?", ' to walk in the 
mud *. 

La preuve, c'est qu'au lieu de 
partir, lui qui etait si presse tout a 
1'heure, il se met a farfouiller dans 
ses papiers, comme s'il cherchait 
quelque chose (A. LIOHTENBEEG-EB, 
Petite Madame). 

Faubourg, n.m. Le Faubourg is used 
elliptically for le Faubourg Saint- 
Germain, sometimes called le noble 
Faubourg, because it is the quarter of 
the old aristocracy. 

adj. and past part. Ruined, 
stony-brpke, cleaned out, on the rocks. 
See faucher. 

Je suis dans la debine \ Je suis 
dans la mouise ' Je suis decave ! 
Je suis fauche ! Je suis un purotin \ 
(T. BERNARD, Le Danseur inconnu). 
*faue!ier, vb. tr. (Of things) To rob, steal, 
scrounge, pinch ; (of persons) To clear 
a person out (of his money). 
Lit. * to mow ', by allusion to the green cloth 
of the gambling-table, the verb being origin- 
ally applied to one who loses all his money 
at gambling. 

On m'& fauche ma musette, c'te 
nuit (H. BARBTJSSE, Le Feu). 
fausse-eouehe, n.f. Man without energy, 
ill-shaped, weak fellow, one with no 
pluck, a failure, a wash-out. 
Lit. * miscarriage *. 

J'aurais ete toi, qu } faurais paa 
lache' quand tu m'tenais la gorge. 
. . . T'es un feignant . . . un* 
lavasse . . . un 9 fausse-couche de 
boiteux (C. H. HIRSCE:, Un vieux 

faute, n.f. 1. Faute de mieux, Por want 
(lack) of something better. 

Je me contente mairitenant d'une 

courte promenade apres d6jeuner. 

Par hygiene ? Faute de mieux, ce 

qui revient au mme (* which comes 

to the same thing ') (E. ESTATTNTB, 

Ulnfirme aux Mains de Lumiere). 

2. Ne pas se faire faute de + infinitive, 

Not to fail to, not to refrain from 

e.g. II ne se fait pas faute de se plaindre 9 

He complains freely. Ne pas se faire 

faute d'une chose, Not to stint oneself 

in a thing e.g. II ne se fait faute de 

rien, He denies himself nothing. 

Si Fon peut trouver a mordre sur 
cette personne-la, on ne s'en fait pas 
faute (G. SAOT>, La petite Fadette). 




*fauter, vb. intr. (Of a girl) To go wrong, 
to take the wrong turning e.g. Une 
fille qui a faute, A wrong 'un. 

Et ce quails me font suer (\how 

they make me sick '), ces honnetes 

gens, avec leurs airs dignes, leurs 

manieres vertueuses, leur mepris 

pour les filles qui fautent, et leurs 

recommandations sur la conduite 

et sur la morale ! (0. MIRBEATT, Le 

Journal d'une Femme de Chambre). 

failteuil, n.m. Arriver or Gagner (comme) 

dans un fauteuil : see Appendix sub 


faux, n.m. 8'inscrire en faux (contre). To 
deny completely (absolutely), to con- 
tradict flatly e.g. Je m'inscris en faux 
contre cette assertion, I emphatically 
deny the truth of that assertion. 
Properly a legal expression meaning 'to plead 
the falsity of % ' to undertake to disprove *, 
* to plead not guilty '. 
*fayot, n.m. Kidney-bean. 

A Breton sailors' word which has passed into 
the general language. 

f6e, n.f. C'est la fee Carabosse, is said of an 
ugly, spiteful, cantankerous woman 
She is an old hag. 

The * fairy Carabosse ' was wicked, old and 
had a hump (bosse), and her wand was the 
source of evil gifts. 
*f eignant, n.m. and adj. = f aignant. 

See f ausse-eouche (Hirsch), misere 
3 (Salmon). 

*flant, adj. *1. Side-splitting, killing. 
*2. = fipatant. 

Lit. 'cracking*. 

f16, adj. Crazy, barmy. Avoir le coco 
fele, To be a bit barmy in the crumpet. 
Lit. ' cracked '. 

femme, n.f. Quifemme a, guerre a, Peace 
is unknown in married life. 
On the model of : Qui terre a, guerre a, Much 
coin, much care ; Much land, many lawsuits. 
*fendant, n.m. and adj. Faire le fendant, 
To brag, talk big, to swagger. Prendre 
un air fendant, To put on a swaggering 

Probably by allusion to one who gives a 
fendant, or * sword-cut *, hence, a ' swash- 
buckler '. 

Tu faisais moms le fendant, mon 
cher, quand je n'avais qu'a siffler 
pour te faire ramper comme un 
chien (H. BATAILLE, Poliche). 

See poule 3 (Bataille), ergot (Cher- 

*fendard, n.m. Trousers. 
*fendart, n.m. Faire le (or son) fendart = 
faire le fendant. 

f endre, se. Se fendre (de), To pay down, 
fork out, stump up e.g. Je me fends 
d'une tournee, I stand drinks all round. 
II a fallu me fendre de cinq francs, I 
had to fork out five francs. 

II paya la robe de noce et se 
fendit meme de trois converts 
d'argent (F. COPPEE, Le Parrain). 

Je ne sais si Madame est avare ; 
en tout cas, elle ne sefend guere pour 
son papier a lettres. ... II est 
achete au Louvre (0. MIEBEATT, Le 
Journal tfune Femme de Chambre). 
f entr e, n.f. II faut passer par laou par la 
fen&tre, There's no alternative, It is 
absolutely inevitable, It's a case of 
Hobson's choice. 

This expression is used to indicate to a person 
that he will have to do something, however 
unpleasant it may be, or ' jump through the 
window ', i.e. commit suicide. 
fer, n.m. 1. II faut battre le fer pendant 
qu'il (or quand il, or tant qu'il) est 
chaudy You must strike while the iron 
is hot, One must make hay while the 
sun shines. 

2. II y a quelque fer qui loche, There 
is a hitch somewhere. II a toujours 
quelque fer qui loche r is said of a per- 
son whose health is not good He's 
always got something the matter with 

By allusion to a ' horseshoe * which is said to 
locher when it becomes loose. 

3. Ne pas valoir les quatre fers d'un cJiien, 

(of things or persons) Not to be worth 

a fig, a rap, to be a good-for-nothing. 

The phrase is tantamount to ' nothing*, since 

a dog is not shod. 

Jules, qui ne valait pas, comme on 
dit, les quatre fers d'un chien, devint 
tout & coup un honnete homme, un 
garcon de coaur (MAUPASSANT, Mon 
Oncle Jules). 

4. Tomber les quatre fers en Vair, (a) (lit.) 
To fall (flat) on one's back, to faE 
sprawling on the ground ; (6) (fig-) To 
be astounded, to be struck all of a 

Lit. of a horse, ' to fall on its back with its 

four hoofs in the air*. 

Toute la bande se rua alors sur 
Juancho, qui en envoya trois ou 
quatre rouler a quinze pas, les 
quatre fers en Vair (T. G-ATTTIEE, 
*fermer, vb. tr. La fermer (or Fermer sa 

botte, sa bouche, sa gueule, sa malle), To 

shut up e.g. Ferme ta boite \ (etc.) or 




La ferme ! or Ferine $a / or simply 
Ferme / Dry up ! Shut up ! Hold your 
jaw ! Chuck it ! 

Parler ainsi a un homme de mon 
age ! Homme de votre age, fermez 
$a ! cria 1'autre. Fermez $a, ou, 
parole d'honneur, je jette quelque 
chose dedans (G-. COURTELIITE, Mes- 
sieurs les Ronds-de-Cuir). 
ferr6, adj. Etreferre (oxferre a glace) sur 
(or en) un sujet, To be proficient, well 
up in, perfectly at home in e.g. II est 
ferre en mathematiques, sur la geo- 
graphie, He is weU up in mathe- 
matics, in geography. 
Ferrt d glace is used properly of a horse which 
is * rough-shod ' (to prevent it slipping on 
the * ice ')- 

Elle est ferree en theologie comme 
un docteur (H. DITVERNOIS, Cra- 

feru (de), adj. Struck, smitten, infatu- 
ated (with). 

Past participle of ftm, *to strike'; the 
only other part of the verb used now is 
the infinitive, in the phrase sans coup ftfnr, 
' without striking a blow '. 

La comtesse Espirat de la Tour, 
grosse dame extravagante et vani- 
teuse, feme de snobisme provincial 
(L. BERTEAND, L* Invasion). 
*fesse, n.f. *1. N*y aller que d'une fesse, 
To do a thing half-heartedly, without 
any spirit. 

Fesse = lit. ' bottom ', ' backside '. 
*2. Server les fesses, (a) To resist, to be re- 
fractory, to * kick ' ; (b) to be in a funk. 
*feston, n.m. Faire des festons, (of a 
drunkard) To reel about, to make zig- 
Lit. ' festoon '. 

*f estonner, vb. intr. = Faire des festons. 
f tard, n.m. One who likes to go on the 
See fte 4. 

Le marquis de Porcellet . . . une 
espece de panier perce (' spend- 
thrift') . . . un vieux fltard (0. 
MIRBEAU, Les Affaires sont les 
fete, n.f. 1. Bonne fete! Many happy 

returns (of the day) ! Cp. 7. 
2. Ce riest pasf$te tous les jours or Ce n'est 
pas tous les jours fete, Christmas comes 
but once a year, Life is not aE beer 
and skittles, One must work as well as 

3. Faire fete a quelqu'un, To welcome 
some one heartily, with open arms. 

4. Faire la fete } To go on the spree, to 
have a gay time. 

Vous buvez trois gorgees d'eau de 
Seltz et vous croyez que vousfaites la 
fete ! (H. LAVEDAN, Nocturnes). 

See piece 1 (Coppee). 

5. Nes'&rejamaisvuapareillefete, Never 
to have known anything so beautiful, 
so fine, etc. e.g. II ne s'etait jamais vu 
a pareille fete, He had never seen such 
a thing before. 

6. Se faire une fete de, To enjoy the idea 

of, to look forward with pleasure to the 
idea of e.g. // sefaisait une file d'avoir 
des vetements neufs 9 He looked forward 
with pleasure to the idea of having new 

Ces soirees de tete a tete etaient 
tres goutees de 1'un comme de 
1'autre epoux. Mme Morand-Far- 
gueil s'enfaisait d'avance une fete (A. 
HERMANT, Le joyeux Gargon). 

7. Souhait&r la fete a guelgu'un, To wish 
one many happy returns of the day. 
Cp. 1. 

feu, n.m. 1. Avoir le feu au derriere 
(or quelque part) e.g. II s'est sauve 
comme s'il avait le feu au derriere, He 
took to his heels as if his back was on 

Le bon cure se mit en route. 

" Ces Pansiens, se dit-il, semblent 

avoir le feu au derriere . . . Jamais 

je n'arriverai & faire ecouter la bonne 

parole par des gens aussi presses " (C. 

VATJTEL, Mon Cure chez les Pauvres). 

2. Avoir le feu sacre, To be enthusiastic 

over one's art. 

Le feu sacrd is an enthusiasm which has some- 
thing inspired about it_- 

Francis Pommeret n 9 avait pas le 
feu sacr6 ; il etait entre dans 1'ad- 
ministration forestiere, nori par 
gout, mais parce qu'il fallait choisir 
une carriere (A. THETJRIET, Sauva- 

See jQlanc 5 (Duvernois). 

3. Bruler a petit feu, To wait impatiently, 
to be on thorns. Cp. 9. 

4. Du feu, A light e.g. Donnez-moi du 
feu, s'il vous plait, Give me a light, 

Une allumette brUla. A sa lueur, 
j*aper9us la main de Theodat tendu 
vers moi. Du feu 9 Volontiers. 
. . . J'approchai ma cigarette (E. 




ESTAOTIE, ISInfirme aux Mains de 

5. Eire tout feu, tout flamme, To be all 

6. Faire feu des quatre pieds, To strain 
every nerve, to do one's utmost. 

Lit. of the sparks caused by horseshoes on the 
ground when the horse makes an effort to 

Le bidet fit feu des quatre pieds, 
allongea ses maigres jambes de cerf, 
et le char-a-bancs s'enfonga dans la 
route noire (J. RICHEPIK, Miarlca). 

7. Faire feu qui dure, To live a long life, 
to take care of one's health, to live 
temperately, to husband one's re- 

This phrase is used to advise some one to be 
careful with his wealth, health, etc. (lit. with 
his fuel). 

Je t'en prie, eteins un peu 1'ardeur 
de ton ame ; ami, menageons-nous 
et, comme dit Biccardo, le f orgeron, 
faisons feu qui dure (A. FRANCE, Le 
Puits de Sainte Claire}. 

8. Faire long feu, To last or stay a long 
time, to drag on slowly, The expres- 
sion is especially used negatively e.g. 
Son argent n'a pas fait long feu, His 
money was very quickly spent. Cette 
piece ne fera pas long feu, This play 
will not have a long run. 

Lit. ' to hang fire * (of a firearm or explosive^. 

Moi, vous savez, a votre place, je I 
ne serais pas du tout tranquille de 
sentir 9a chez moi. Chez moi, iln'y 
ferait pas long feu ! . . . mais chez 
mon pere, $a m'inquiete horrible- 
ment (GYT, Miche). 

9. Faire mourir quelqu'un a petit feu e.g. 

Vous me faites mourir a petit feu, You 
are killing me by inches, you are tor- 
turing me to death. 
Lit. ' by a slow fire *. Cp. 3. 

10. Jeter feu et flamme, To be in a great 
rage, to fret and fume, to storm and 

11. Mettre a feu et a sang, To put to fire 
and sword, to lay waste with fire and \ 
sword. | 

Finissons-en avec la revolution, j 
As-tu compris ? Oui. II faut tout 
mettre a feu et & sang. C'est ca. 
Pas de quartier (V. HTJGO, Quatre- 

12. N* avoir nifeuni lieu, To have neither 
hearth (or house) nor home, to be a 
vagabond. Sans feu ni lieu, Home- 

Le maitre d'ecole parlait de 1'in- 
consequence des lois, qui laissaient 
vagabonder ces gens sans feu ni lieu 
parmi les honnetes populations (J. 
EICHEPET, Miarka). 

13. N'y voir que du feu, Not to see or 
understand a thing (particularly if 
one is deceived by some trick or 
mystification) e.g. Jerty ai vu que du 
feu, I could not make head or tail of 
it, I could not see (find out) how the 
thing was done, I was none the wiser 
for it (i.e. because it was done so 
quickly or cleverly). 

An allusion to the fact that when we stare 
at a bright fire for some time we are dazzled 
to such an extent that on turning the eyes 
away objects cannot be distinguished; we 
still see, or imagine we still see, fire. 

Mais comment un banquier aussi 
avise laissait-il passer sous son nez, 
sans y voir que du feu, des sommes 
probablement tres fortes (A. HER- 
MANT, Souvenirs du Vicomte de Gour- 

Parlant de Beethoven avec des 
musiciens, 1'un de ceux-ci evoqua 
Fune des Senates. Franz se mit au 
piano comme s'il allait 1'executer, 
mais il joua 1'une de ses propres 
03u vres. L'artiste n'y vit qu e du feu 
et se confondit d'admiration (G. DE 
POTJRTALES, La Vie de Franz Liszt). 

14. Un feu d'enfer, A roaring fire. 
feilille, n.f. Feuille de chou, Inferior 

newspaper, gutter-sheet, rag. 

See me 2 (Gautier). 

f eve, n.f. Eendre five pour pois (a quel- 
qu'un), To give a person tit for tat. 
IM. 'to give back broad-bean for pea'. 
The form rendre pois pour f&ves is also used. 
fi, inter j. Faire fi de, To despise, to turn up 
one's nose at, to snap one's fingers at. 
Fi ! is an inter j. expressing blame or scorn. 
Ah ! Ah ! dit grand' mere, je vous 
ai averti des le premier jour, que 
vous auriez des ennuis ; vous avez 
paru faire fi de mes previsions (E. 
BOYLESVE, UEnfant a la Balus- 

See casserole (Willy). 

*fiaere, n.m. jRemiser son fiacre. To die, 
kick the bucket. 

Lit. ' to put one's cab away in the shed *. 
fieele, adj. Dressed (implying badly) 
e.g. Mre mal ficele, to be awkwardly 
dressed, dressed like a guy. Gomme le 
voild, ficele ! What a guy he looks ! 
Lit. * tied up * (like a parcel). 




Voila maman Vauquer belle 
comme un astre, ficelee comme une 
carotte (BALZAC, Le Pere Goriot). 
ficelle, n.f. 1. (Adj. also in this sense.) 
Cunning person, trickster ; cute, know- 
ing, cunning e.g. C'est une vieille 
ficelle. He's an artful dodger. Eire 
ficelle, To be tricky, to be an artful 

AUons, vieille ficelle, rien qu'une 
anecdote, je vous rendrai 1'equiva- 
lent (L. FBAPIE, Les Obsedes). 

Tu iras loin avec les femmes, si 
tu restes toujours aussi ficelle (EL. 
LAVEDAN, Nocturnes). 

2, Trick, cunning move, dodge e.g. 
Connaitre lesficdles, To be up to snuff, 
to know the ropes. 

Pour la malice, pour la, ficelle, pour 
la poigne aussi, je ne crains personne 
(MAUPASSANT, Le Champ d'Oliviers). 

3. (Theatrical slang.) Hackneyed trick, 
used to produce an effect. 

By allusion to the ficelles or ' strings ' used to 
work marionettes. The meanings under 1 and 
2 are extensions of this use of the word. 

Vous employez de mauvais 
moyens de comedie, des ficelles aux- 
quelles vous etes seuls a croire (H. 
BATAILLB, Le Masque). 
*4. (Military slang.) Stripe. 
*fiehaise, n.f. *1. Worthless thing, a 

thing not worth a curse. 
*2. Silly, foolish thing, nonsense, fiddle- 
faddle, humbug. 

*fiehant, adj. Annoying, tiresome, dis- 

Vous avouerez qu'il serait fichant 
passez-moi Texpression d'aban- 
donner la partie (J. COPEATJ, La 
Maison natale). 

fiche, n.f. Une fiche de consolation, A 
scrap of consolation, of comfort. 
Properly a term used at cards to indicate that 
which is added, in certain card-games, to the 
winner's points. The word fiche in this sense 
denotes a piece of ivory, etc., used as a counter 
in games (English ' fish ') . 
fiche or fieher (past part, generally fichu). 
This verb is the euphemistic equiva- 
lent of foutre (q.v.), and both serve as 
substitutes for fair ~e in popular speech. 
The following are the commonest 
uses : 

1. vb. tr. (a) To put, place, stick, shove, 
chuck, clap, bung, laud e.g. Fichez-le 
riimporte oil, Stick it down anywhere. 
Fieher quelqu'un a la porte, To kick a 

person out of doors, to give some one 
the sack, the order of the boot. 

Je lui ai fichu une bonne claque 
(L. FRAPIE, Les Obsedes). 

On entendra un acte du drame, on 
se mettra a pleurer, avec sanglots, on 
se fera fiche a la porte (0. PAKRERE, 
Dix-sept Histoires de Marins). 
See ehameau (Lavedan). 

(b) To do, be up to e.g. Qu^est-ce que 
vous fichez-la? What are you up to 
there ? Ne pas en fieher un clou (and, 
by corruption, un coup), To do nothing 
at all, not to do a stroke (of work). 

Depuis que nous avions pris un 
petit gar9on pour aider, elle ne 
fichait plus rien dans, la maison (0. 
MIBBEATJ, Le Journal d'une Femme 
de Ohambre). 

See journe"e 2 (Lavedan). 

(c) Fieher le (or son) camp, To hop it, 
clear off, cut along e.g. Fiche(z)-moi le 
camp de la, Get away out of it. Main- 
tenant je vais fieher le camp, Now I'm 
going to hop it. Fiche(z)-moi le camp et 
plus vite que ga I Hop it and be quick 
about it, Be off in double quick time, 
Sling your hook. 

See filer 1 (a) (Duvernois). 

(d) Fiche(z)-moi lapaix / Leave me alone t 
Don't worry me ! Dry up ! 

Veuillez lui faire ma commission. 
Faites-la-lui vous-m&me, et fichez- 
moi la paix (H. DWERNOIS, La 
Guitar e el le Jazz-Band). 

(e) Fieher guelqu'un dedans, (i) To de- 
ceive a person, to take some one in ; 
(ii) To imprison. Similarly : Se faire 
fieher dedans, (i) To be deceived, taken 
in ; (ii) To get run in, to be put in 
clink. Cp. Mettre dedans. 

(/) Je fen fiche/ Nonsense! Is it though! 
Nothing of the kind ! You make a big 
mistake ! e.g. Tu crois qu'il a tenu 
sa promesse? Je fen fiche! Do you 
think he kept his promise ? I don't 

Les humains sont e"baubissants 
(" amazing '). Je presumais que la 
guerre, cette catastrophe, leur don- 
nerait des idees plus prof ondes et un 
peu medite'es. Je fen fiche/ (B. 
BENJAMIN, $<w9 le del de France), 
(g) On fen fieher a / An ironic exclama- 
tion, implying, c You will be given 
more to make sure that you are not 
satisfied '. 




(h) Snvoyer faire fiche, To send to the 
deuce, to chuck up. 

Et avec a, le Droit, la prepara- 
tion des examens. II en faut de la 
volonte, pour ne pas tout envoy&r 
faire fiche I (V. MAROTERITTE, Le 

2. Se ficher. (a) Se ficher de, quelqu'un, 
To laugh, at a person, to make a fool of, 
to make game of e.g. Je crois que 
vous vous fichez de moi, I think you are 
pulling my leg. 

Tu as 1'air de te fiche de moi (A. 
BIBABEATT, Chifforton). 
See Badingue (Zola). 

(b) Se ficher de quelqu'un or de quelque 
chose, Not to care a straw (a hang, a 
fig, a rap) for, not to worry about e.g. 
Je me fiche de lui, I don't care a damn 
for him ! II se fiche pas mal de ce que 
je lui dis, He doesn't care a hang for 
what I say to him, A fat lot he cares 
for what I say. Je m* en fiche (un pen] / 

I don't care a rap I / should worry ! 

II se fiche de tout, He doesn't care" a 
hang for anything. An emphatic form 
is Je m'en fiche et je m'en contrefiche. 

L'opinion publique se fiche pas mal 
de Blaireau (A. ALLAIS, L'Affqire 
Blair eau). 

(c) Seficherparterre, To throw oneself on 
the ground or To fall down, to come a 

(d) Va te faire fiche / Go to the deuce ! 
Also used to express disappointment 
e.g. Je croyais reussir, mais va te faire 
fiche I I thought I should succeed, but 
no such thing (no such luck) I 

fichtre, inter j. Expresses wonder, sur- 
prise, admiration, uneasiness, anger, 
grief, etc. e.g. By Jove ! By gad ! 
Dash it ! 

FicUre or fowMre is an attenuated form of 
foutre. Sometimes oui or non are added. 

La plus exquise creature que 
1'on puisse imaginer ! Des cheveux 
blonds . . . et d'un blond ! Des 
yeux bleus . . . et d'un bleu ! Des j 
levres rouges . . . et d'un rouge ! 
Des dents blanches . . . et d'un 
blanc ! . . . Ah t fichtre, oui, elle 
etait jolie ! (M. ET A. FISOHEB, 
L'lnconduite de Lucie). 
fichtrement, adv. Much, very, awfully. 

Elle croit que la lune sert & eclairer 
les amoureux et la nuit a cacher 
leurs erreurs. Qa ne tient pas de- 

bout, mais elle a fichtrement raison 
(F. DE CBOISSET, Le leu du Voisin). 
fichu, adj. (past part, of fiefce or ficher). 1. 
Done, built, shaped, dressed, etc. 
e.g. Un Jiomme bien (mal} fichu f A well 
(ILL) dressed or shaped man. Oomme 
le voila fichu / What a guy he looks ! 
C'est rudement mal fichu, It's simply 
bungled, It's a regular wash-out. 
Mtre fichu comme quatre sous, To be 
badly done or built or dressed. 

Les gentilles, les laides, les riches, 
les sans dot, les bien habillees, les 
mal fichues, penser que c'est des 
femmes de demain (H. LAVEDAN, 

2. Bad, wretched, rotten e.g. Voila un 
fichurepasl WTiat a rotten meal! Un 
fichu temps (travail, caractere), Rotten 
weather (job, disposition). 

Flute I (' Damn ! ') quel fichu in- 
strument ! . . . il faudra que j'en 
achete un autre (P. VEBER, Les 

3. Lost, done for, done in, ruined, dead- 
beat, dead and done for, all TJ.P. e.g. 
II est fichu / It's all up with him ! 
Fichu ! That's done it ! That's torn 

Helas ! pensa Maxim il fen, Julot 
est fichu si cet 6nergumene s'en mele 
(A. HEBMANT, Cadet de Coutras). 

4. Fichu de, Able to, capable of e.g. II 
in? est pas fichu de gagner sa vie, He^is 
not capable of earning his living. II 
est fichu d'arriver en retard / I bet he 
turns up late ! 

Parlons de savoir elever les en- 

fants 1 quand votre grand dadais de 

fils, & quarante ans sonnes, vegete 

encore a Paris et n'est pas fichu de 

gagner sa vie ! (R. BOYLESVE, L'lSn- 

fant a la Balustrade). 

fier 5 adj. Big, fine, splendid, topping, 

great, stunning e.g. C'est un fier 

imbecile, He's a bally fool. Vous avez 

un fier culot, You've no end of a cheek. 

Je vous dois une fiere chandelle, I am 

tremendously (awfully) obliged to you 

(see chandelle 2). 

*fieu, n.m. Fellow e.g. Un bon fieu, A 
good sort, a brick. 

Berthier a ete port6 disparu (* re- 
ported missing *), en Argonne. Un 
bon fieu, c'est dommage (B. Dou- 
, Les Croix de JBois). 
easser 1 (Salmon). 


fidvre, n.f. 1. Tomber de fievre en chaud 
mal, To fall out of the frying-pan into 
the fire. 

Lit. ' to fall from a fever into a chaud mal ', 
wliich is the name for a hot, delirious fever. 
Variants : Tomber de la poele dans la braise ; 
Tomber de Charybde en Scylla. 
2. Une fi&vre de cheval, A violent fever. 
*fifi, n.m. *1. Term of endearment to a 

child ducky, darling. 
*2. Eire le fifi de quelqu'un, To be some- 
body's favourite. 
See note to fifille. 

Mile, n.f. Term of endearment to a 

ficoute, Eugenie, il f aut que tu me 
donnes ton or. Tu ne le refuseras 
pas a ton pepere y ma petite fifille, 
hein ? (BALZAC, Eugenie Gfrandet). 
Children'stalkhasproduceda numberof words 
(several have passed into general speech) 
which in many cases are merely imitative 
e.g. maman, papa,nounou (nurse), tata (aunt), 
tonton (uncle), fanfan (child), dado, (horse), 
toutou (dog), lolo (milk), coco (egg), bonbon 
(sweet), nanan (goodies), bobo (sore, pain), 
dodo (sleep, bed), joujou (toy), coca, pipi, etc. 
All these are formed by reduplication, which 
also occurs in the formation of terms imita- 
ting noises e.g. cri-cri, crin-crin, cancan, 
fla-fta, flou-flou, frou-frou, glou-glou, tam-tam, 
toc-toc, pan-pan, etc.; sometimes with a 
slight modification of the vowel e.g. cric- 
crac, tic-toe, tric-trac, etc. From these two 
sources has resulted a process, common 
to familiar speech, which consists in re- 
peating the initial group of letters. This 
device, which may be called 'initial re- 
duplication', is a favourite one in the 
formation of pet names denoting relationship 
or endearment e.g. pre becomes p<$p2re; 
m$re, mtrnfre ; fils, fifils or fifi ; fille, fifttte ; 
(ma) poule,poupoule ; (mon) loup, loulou, fem. 
louloute. Similarly mon chien becomes mon 
chien-cMen ; won chou, mon chouchou ; minet 
or minette (pet name for a cat) becomes mirm. 
The same process is applied to proper names, 
especially Christian names, which are ab- 
breviated or contracted and then redupli- 
cated, sometimes with a slight modification 
e.g. Isabelk becomes Belle and then ^ 
belle i Albert (or Robert or Hubert), Bert, 
Bebert; Isidore, Dore, Dodore; Josephine, 
Fine, Mftne ; Charlotte, Lotte, Lolotte ; $Uo- 
nore, Nore, Nonore ; Victor (or Hector), Tor, 
Totor ; Oasimir, Mir, Mimir ; Auguste, Gktste, 
Gugusse, etc. Similarly with one-syllable 
names Charles becomes CTiacharles ; Jules, 
Jujules ; Louis, Loulou ; Paul, Popaul or 
Popol, etc. Certain adjectives also undergo 
this treatment, in which case the diminutive 
so formed serves to attenuate the meaning of 
the word e.g. bonne becomes bobonne (' some- 
what good', and, in some cases, 'rather 
silly ') ; bete, beb&te (' rather foolish *) ; sotte, 
sosotte ('somewhat silly*), etc. These ad- 
jectives are also used as nouns. 
*fiflot, n.m. Poot- soldier, private. 

Corruption of flfrelin or fiferlin. 
Tilrelin or fiferlin, n.m. *1. Worthless 

176 figure 

thing, nothing e.g. Cela ne vaut pas 
un fifrelin, That is worth little or 
2. A sou, a centime. 

J'ai du donner jusqu'a mon 
dernier fifrelin (H. BEBNSTEIN, 

*3. Recruit, private. 

From the German Pfifferlinff, 'trifle* (lit. 

* small mushroom '). 

fignoler, vb. tr. To give the last touch to, 
to touch up, to do a thing with minute 
care e.g. fignoler sa coiffure. 
A corruption of the old form finioler, from fin, 

* end ', ' finish '. 

II se demandait s'il allait lire ou 
fignoler quelque page glorieusement 
inutile (H. DTJVEBNOIS, Edgar). 
figue, n.f. 1. Faire la figue a quelqu'un, 
To defy, mock, make fun of a person. 
Faire la figue, attested as early as the thir- 
teenth century both in Provencal and in 
French, is properly to make a gesture of 
contempt by thrusting forth the thumb 
between the fore and middle fingers, by 
obscene suggestion originally. Cp. the Italian 
far le fiche and the German die Feigenweisen ; 
and in English " not to care (or) give a fig 
for", all of which have the same origin. 
Babelais uses the expression and gives a 
fanciful explanation of it for which there 
appears to be no foundation. According to 
him, Frederick Barbarossa, in 1162, in order 
to avenge himself on the Milanese, who had 
ignominiously paraded his wife on a mule, 
forced his prisoners, after the capture of 
Milan, on pain of death, to extract with their 
teeth a fig placed ill the fundament of an old 
mule, and, the thing being done, to say hi 
announcement, Ecco la fica. 
2. Moitie figue, moitie raisin, Partly 
willingly, partly by force ; Half good, 
half bad ; Half in jest, half in earnest ; 
Half (one thing) and half (another). 
Lit. * half fig, half grape '. The origin of the 
phrase is explained as follows : the Venetians 
formerly imported raisins de Corinthe (* cur- 
rants '), of which they were fond, but which 
were then scarce and expensive ; those 
with whom they traded, desiring to make more 
profit, hit upon the plan of mixing figs with 
the currants. 

Jules apporta la tasse de the et 
les deux toasts consacres avec les 
journaux. II avait Fair figue et 
raisin du bon serviteur qui ne sait 
s'il doit s'exposer a la louange ou au 

Le cultivateur ne cessait pas de 
sourire, mi-figue, mi-raisin (R. DOR- 
GELES, Le Eeveil des Morts}. 
figure, n.f. 1. Faire figure, To cut a 
figure, to cut a dash. 




Qu'est-ee qui le rendait mal- 
heureux ? Ah 1 est-ce que je sais ? 
des chagrins caches, et puis peut- 
etre aussi des ennuis d'argent. II 
en faut tant pour faire figure I (H. 
LAVED AH, Nocturnes). 

2. Figure de papier mdche, Pale and tired 
face, a face like putty. 

Papier mdcM is a kind of cardboard. 

II a ete bien malade, le pauvre 
loup (' dear '), et, telle que vous me 
voyez, je viens de le retirer de 
1'Enfant- Jesus (name o/ a Hospital), 
ou il est reste six semaines. ... II 
a encore sa petite figure de papier 
mdche fF. COPP:EE, La Medaille). 

3. Eester en figure, To be at a loss for 

4. Se payer (or S'offrir) la figure de quel- 
qu'un = Se payer la tete de quelqu'un ; 
see tte 24. 

See lascar (Courteline). 
fil, n.m. 1. Au fil de Veau, With the 
stream, current e.g. jSe laisser alter 
au fil de Feau, To let oneself drift with 
the stream. 

II se dressa, laissa trainer sa 
perche au fil de Veau (B. BAZDT, De 
toute son Ame). 

2. Au fil de I'epee e.g. Mettre (or Passer) 
au fil de Vepee, To put to the sword. 

3. Avoir lefil f To be shrewd, up to snuff. 
Lit. ' to have an edge ', * to be sharp ' (like a 

4. Gonnaitre le fil, To know what one is 
about, to be up to snuff. 

5 Cousu de fil blanc, Easily seen through, 
transparent e.g. Oette malice est 
cousue de fil blanc, This trick is too 
apparent. Ge sont des finesses cousues 
de fil blanc. They are clumsy tricks, 
easily seen through. 
Lit. ' sewn with white thread ' ; by allusion 
to tacking or basting cloth with white thread, 
which stands out and indicates clearly the 
line to be followed for the final cutting. 

6. De fil en aiguille, Gradually, step by 
step, bit by bit, from one thing to 
another, one thing leading to another 
e.g. Eaconter de fil en aiguille, To 
tell the whole matter from the begin- 
ning (omitting no detail, passing from 
one thing to another until the very 

Lit. ' from thread to needle *. This expression 
seems to denote that, just as a sempstress or 
tailor, after having threaded the needle, sews, 
and once he has used up his thread, takes 
more thread, and so on, in the same way one 

passes in talking from one detail to another 
until the end. 

Et, de fil en aiguille., je sus vite 
son cas, banal a souhait, d'ailleurs 
(C. FABBIEBE, Dix~sept Eistoires de 
Mar ins). 

7. Donner dufil a retordre a quelqu'un, To 
cut out his work for a person, to give 
one a deal (lot) of (plenty of) trouble. 
Lit. ' to give some one thread to twist '. AD 
allusion to the difficulty of this task, since 
the threads, once one lets go of them, 
unfold in the opposite direction from that in 
which they are turned when twisted. 

Madame, dit-il a ma mere, voila 
un eleve qui me donnera du fil a 
retordre (V. CHEBBITLIEZ, UAventure 
de Ladislas JSolski). 

See aeabit (Margueritte). 
*8. Fil-en-quatre (or JFil-en-trois, fil-en-di%, 
fil-en-six), Strong spirits. Sometimes 
abbreviated to fil e.g. Prendre un fil, 
To have a dram of spirits, a drop of 
something damp, a drain. Un verre 
defil, A glass of brandy. 
The figures refer to the degree of alcohol. 

Je vous demande si votre depute 
vous a demontre les effete nuisibles 
du fil-en-quatre sur 1'estomac et 
sur le cerveau ? (H. DTTVEBNOIS, 

*9. N'avoir plus de fil sur la, bobine, To be 
bald, to have a bladder of lard. 
Lit. ' to have no more thread on the spool *. 
*10. Ne pas avoir invente le fil a couper 
le beurre, is said of a person of poor 
ability, of one not particularly bright 
or shrewd e.g. II ria pas invente le fil 
a couper le beurre ! He'll never set the 
Thames on fixe ! Op. poudre 2. 
Lit. 'not to have invented the thread for 
cutting butter * ; implying that a person is 
not intelligent enough to have thought of this 
simple method of cutting butter. 
11. Ne tenir qu'a un fil, To hang by a 
thread (lit. &ndfig.). 

Eh ! bien, quelle prudence ne 
faut-il pas, dit Gobenheim a du 
Tillet. II rfa ternt, qu'a un fil que 
mes beaux-peres n'accordassent un 
credit a Birotteau (BALZAC, Cesar 

filer. 1. vb. intr. (a) To be (make, trot, 
clear, pop) off, make tracks, bolt, take 
to one's heels. 

Et vous, ma fille ? Je fit.- 
Vous filez a votre rouet ? Non, 30 
file, dans le sens : ficher le camp 
(H. DtrvEBNOis, La Guitare et le 




See efcarlemagner (Richepin), 
couleur 4 (Zola), eran 3 (Hirsch). 
(6) Filer doux, To sing small, lower one's 
tone, show oneself submissive, He low, 
eat humble pie. 

Je VOTIS conseille de filer doux 
aussi on il pourrait vous en cuire 
(* you might smart for it *) (H. 
BEBNSTEHT, Le Marche). 
2. vb. tr. To follow a person (stealthily, 
so as to watch his movements), to 
track, shadow, dog. (Especially used 
of a detective or policeman.) 

Et tu as donne" un gros pourboire a 
tes cochers, pour le cas ou cm faurait 
filee et ou on les interrogerait ? (H. 
LAVEDAN, Le nouveau Jeu). 

fille, n.f. 1. Prostitute. 

Variants : fille galante, fdl& publique, fille de 
foie. The word fills has been so ill-treated by 
modern usage that to denote a ' girl * jeune 
fille has to be used. The pejorative meaning 
of fille has existed since the sixteenth cen- 

De jeune fille elle deviendra 
fille, tout simplement (MAUPASSANT, 

See galvaudei 2 (Hennequin). 
*2. Bottle of wine. Also called grande 
fille. Cp. fillette, dame blanche, mom- 

*3. Jouer (de) la fille de Pair, To make 
tracks, hop it. Cp. air 2. 
This expression owes its origin to a vaude- 
ville La Fille de I' Air dans son Manage, a 
sequel to a f airy-play, La, Fille de I' Air (1837). 
In the latter the daughter of the king of 
genii is forced to descend to earth in order 
to spend a year of trial there. If at the end 
of this time she has not fallen in love with a 
mortal, she is to return to the kingdom of 
the air. She falls in love and is doomed to 
finish her life on. earth. In the vaudeville, 
the work of different authors, we find her 
leading an unhappy married life ; but, thanks 
to a talisman, she reascends to heaven and is 
seen gradually soaring aloft, finally to dis- 
appear (ROBEKT, Phras&ologie, p. 111). 
*fillette, n.f. Half a bottle of wine. Cp. 
fille 2. 

A cdte, affale sur une banquette, 
Bona venture . . . vidait une "fil- 
lette " de vin blanc (M. HARRY, La 
divine Chanson). 

*fllon, n.m. *1. Luck, bit of luck, windfall 
e.g. avoir le (bon) filon, to be lucky, 
to have useful information, a good 
' tip '. 

Tu es blesse, ce n'est rien. C'est 
un filon au contraire, on va t'em- 
mener ce soir au poste de secours 

et demain tu coucheras dans un lit 
(R. DORGELES, Les Croix de Bois). 
*2. (War-time military slang) Soft, cushy 
job e.g. Ce n'est pas le filon, It's a 
rotten job. 
Lit. 'vein of ore $ *. Cp. veine. 

C'est vrai qu' fai I 'filon, je 
m'plains pas, c'est Tfilon (R. BEN- 
JAMIN, Sous le del de France). 
*filoneur 3 n.m. Shirker, soft-job man. 
fils, n.m. 1. Au demeurant, le meilleurfils 
du monde, But apart from that (ex- 
cept for that, when all is said) the best 
fellow in the world. 
This quotation, usually added ironically 
after the enumeration of a person's defects 
or vices, comes from the Eequeste au Roy 
pour avoir e&tt desroU (1531) of C16ment 
Marot : 

J'avois un jour un valet de G-ascogne, 
Gourmand, ivrogne et assur6 menteur, 
Pipeur, larron, jureur, blasph&nateur, 
Sentant le hart de cent pas a la ronde, 
Au demeurant, le meilleur fits du monde. 

2. Etre (le) fits de ses c&uwes, To be a self- 
made man. 

Je no dois rien a personne, je 
suis le fils de mes ceuvres ; je me 
dois tout a moi-meme (MAUPASSANT, 

3. Fils a papa, (a) Le fils a papa, I, 

myself, this child ; (b) Unfils a papa, 
The son of a rich, influential man. 

Et son patron actuel un fils a 
papa pourtant, un viveur, fort riche 
ne parle au pere Muller qu'avec 
une nuance de respect (F. COPPEE, 
Un Drapeau de moins). 
*4. Oui fils ! Yes, old chap ! Yes, sonny ! 
fin, n.m. 1. A la fin (lit. * in the end ', 
' finally *, * at last *) is often added in 
conversation for emphasis and implies 
a touch of impatience. 

Elle murmurait du bout des 
levres : Yoyons, laisse-le tranquille, 
a la fin (MAUPASSANT, Bel-Ami). 

Henriette : Vous m'affirmez que 
vous ne mentez pas ? Nellie (aga- 
c4e) : Alafin... vous m'impati- 
entez (BEIEUS:, Les Americains chez 

2. A la fin des fins or Un fin finale, At last, 
after all. 

See cMche (Duvernois). 

3. Enfindecompte, When all is told, when 
all is said and done. 

Lit. ' when the addition is made ' ; cp. au 
bout du compte, under bout 4. 

Un fin de compte, Tartarin ne 
partit pas, mais toutefois cette his- 




toire lui fit beaucoup d'honneur (A. 
DAUDET, Tartarin de Tarascon). 
See frapper, se (Hirsch). 

4. Faire une belle fin, To die a good 

Christian, to die a Christian death. 

5. Faire une fin, (a) To turn over a new 
leaf ; (b) To get married. 

6. Qui veut la fin veut les moyens, Where 
there's a will there's a way, If you 
want the end you must not stick at the 

&a,adj. Plus fin que lui n'est pas bite, He 
who can take him in is no fool, It 
would take a smart man to deceive 

Lit. ' (The one who is) smarter than he is, is 
no fool*. 

*fine, n.f. Best quality of brandy e.g. 
Une fine or Un verre define, A glass of 
liqueur brandy, of cognac. 
Elliptical for fine champagne. 

Us demanderent deux verres de 
fine (MAUPASSANT, Toine). 
finfr, vb. intr. I. A n'en plus finir, A 
great many, endless e.g. C 9 est a n'en 
plus finir, It is endless, There's no end 
to it. II y avait des bouteilles a n' 'en plus 
finir, There were no end of bottles. 

La-dessus, nouveaux eclats de rire 
et causeries a ri*en plus finir (A. 
DAUDET, Le petit Chose). 

II lui fallait son chocolat tous les 
matins, des egards a n'en plus finir 
(FLAUBERT, Madam,e Bovary). 
See Mstolre 2 (Lavedan). 

2. n, i, ni, c'estfini, Ajad that's an end to 

Used to indicate the termination of a fairy 
tale told to children ; and more generally to 
denote that a thing is quite over, that there 
is nothing more to be said. 

Nous avons dine comme c'etait 
convenu, en camarades ; en cama- 
rades ! pas en fiances ! Done, n, 
i, ni, c'est fini. Bonsotr ! (C. FAB- 
REEE, Dix-sept Histoires de Marina). 

3. As-tu fini / An exclamation used to 
impose silence on a person, or to in- 
dicate that one does not share his 

finot, n.m. and adj. Artful, sly, cunning, 
an artful dog. 

A variant for ftnaud, with same meaning 
(from fin, ' shrewd % * cunning % ' sharp ') 
*fiole, n.f. Head, face, mug, phiz e.g. Se 
payer (or JSe ficher de) la fiole de quel- 
qu'un, To laugh at, make a fool of a 
person (cp. se payer la Ute de quelqu'un, 
sub tete 24), Avoir s,oupe de la fiole de 

quelqu'un, To be fed up with a person. 
Lit. ' phial ', ' small bottle ' ; by allusion to 
the round shape. 

See chique (Rosny). 

*fion, n.m. Coup de fion : See coup 36. 
fissure, n.f. Avoir une fissure, To be 
slightly crazy. 

Lit. ' to have a fissure ', ' a crack '. 
fiston, n.m. Fiston or Mon fiston or Mon 
vieux fiston, A familiar form of ad- 
dress Sonny, my son, old son. 
A diminutive of fils, found as early as the 
sixteenth century (in Noel du Fail). 

See coup 12 (Becque), tirelarigot 

fixe*, adj. 1. Utre fixe, To know what to 
think, to know what's what., 

Voyons, monsieur, je t'ens 4 etre 
fixe la-dessus, vous etes mueux place 
que personne pour me renseigner (C. 
DEBENNES, La Gfuenille). 

Plusieurs fois il avait fait allusion 
a ce role, mais sans oser aborder 
franchement la question. A pre- 
sent il etait fixe. A la bonne heure ! 
(GYP, Le Baron Sinai). 
"'2. Nepas tire fixe, Not to know what one 

wants, not to know one's mind. 
fixer, vb. tr. Fixer quelqu'un, To stare at 
a person. 

This use of fixer for regarder fixement, although 

censured by lexicographers, is very common. 

Elle lefixait de ses yeux profonds, 

de ses yeux brisks (H. BORDEAUX, 

Ultjcran brise). 

Elle le fixait en riant, d'un air de 

defi (R,. EOLLAND, Jean-Christophe). 

*flafla or fla-fla, n.m. Ostentation, display, 

great showing-off e.g. Faire du fiafla, 

To show off, to flaunt, to put on frills. 

J'inspectai la piece. Elle etait 

tenue avec une proprete et un ordre 

extremes. . . . Pas de fiafla, de 

tentures lourdes, de choses brodees, 

comme on en voit dans de certaines 

maisons de Paris (0. MTRBEATT, Le 

Journal d'une Fenime de Ghambre). 

Ce n'est pas la peine de faire tant 
de fla-fla, ni de se montrer le di- 
manche a 1'eglise avec une robe de 
soie, comme une comtesse (IfLAD- 
BEE-T, Madame Bovary). 
flageolets, n.m. pi. (Thin) legs, spindle- 

Lit. a kind of flute, a ' flageolet '. 
flair, n.m. Avoir du (or le) flair, To be 
shrewd, to have a way of finding things 
Lit. 'to be sharp-scented" (of dogs). 




L'amiral, qui avait le flair, devina 
que les bougres se ravitaUlaient par 
transports maritimes (0. FARBEBE, 

See rouler 1 (Capus). 
flambant, adj. ( Tout) flambant neuf, (All) 
br^nd-new (bran-new) e.g. une robe 
flambant neuve; des habits flambant 
Cp. toi t battant neuf . 

Tout pres de moi, sur le trottoir 
ou ^e faisais halte, s'ouvrait un bar 
tout flambant neuf (F. COPPEE, Les 
Deux Communions}. 
*flambante, n.f. Match, ' lucifer '. 

From flamber, ' to blaze '. 
flanibe, xdj. Lost, done for, ruined, all 
U.P. e.g. Je suis flambe / It's all up 
with me ! I'm done for ! My number 
is up ! C'est un Iwmme flambe, He is 
a ruined man, He is done for. 
Lit. * singed ' ; a metaphor drawn from cook- 
ing. Cp. fricasse, frit, to which, modern 
popular speech has added cuit, fume. 

Si vous ne disparaissez pas tout 
de suite, cette fois o'est fini, vous 
etes flambe (R. DOBGELES, Partir). 
flamberge, n.f. Mettre flamberge au vent, 
To draw (lug out) one's sword. 
Flamberge was the name of the sword of 
Renaud de Montauban, one of the heroes of 
the Chansons de geste The phrase is now 
generally used in humoious or burlesque style 

En voyant le prince Natti mettre 
flamberge au vent, une femme s'etait 
evanouie, d'autres avaient pousse 
des cris pereants (V. CHEBBULIEZ, 
Miss Hovel}. 

*flan, n.m. *} . A la flan, (a) Badly done, 
done anyhow, at random e.g. Un 
travail (fait) a la flan, Bungled work. 
(b) Eire a la flan, To be good-natured, 
happy-go-lucky, easy-going, free-and- 

An abbreviation of d la ftanquette, i e 
'frankly', * without ceremony '. 

On devinait une journee de 
godailles (' tippling ') a la flan, dans 
les cabarets, de regalades sans pre- 
tention, dans les bastringues (J. K. 
HTTYSMANS, Les /Sceurs Vatard). 
*2. Du flan / exclamation denoting refusal 
or ironic defiance. 

Properly ' custard *. To express refusal, 
defiance, incredulity, etc., popular speech 
uses various more or less irrelevant words 
referring to plants, food, parts of the 
body, etc. Cp. des navets ! des n^fles ! 
des panals! la bar be ! mon ceil ! la jambe ! 

Ayez pitie d'un pauvre aveugle ! 
Oui, du flan I ('Nothing doing'). 
Peu genereuses, les vieilles gens. 
Les jeunes, non plus (P. MABGUER- 
ITTE, Gens gui passent}. 
flanc, n.m. 1. Eire sur leflanc, (a) To be 
laid up (in bed), to be on one's back ; 
(6) To be quite done up. 

2. Mettre sur le flanc, To knock up, bowl 

II s'excusait, en disant qu'une 
goutte d' eau-de-vie le mettait sur le 
flanc (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 

3. Preter leflanc a, To lay oneself open to 
e.g. II prete le flanc au ridicule, He 
lays himself open to ridicule. 

Roally a military term : ' to lay one's flank 
open to an attack, '. 

4. JSe battre les flancs, To strive (do) one's 
utmost, to give oneself much trouble, 
to cudgel one's brains e.g. II s^est 
battu les flancs pour rien, He gave him- 
self all that trouble for nothing. 

Lit. ' to lash one's sides ' (e.g. like a lion 
lashing its sides with its tail). The phrase 
usually implies that a person's efforts are in 
vain or meet with little success. 

Chacun se battait les flancs pour 
decouvrir des exemples nouveaux et 
ne trouvait rien (MAUPASSANT, Boule 
de Suif). 

*5. Tirer au flanc, To malinger, swing the 
lead. Hence un tire-au-flanc or un 
tireur-au-flanc, slacker, shirker, malin- 

Military slang which has penetrated into 
popular speech. The force of the expression is 
similar to that of carotter. 

J'ai bien peur que vous n'ayez pas 
trouve votre voie. Vous vous don- 
nez du mal, c'est certain, mais vous 
rfavez pas le feu sacre. D'autres 
tirent au flanc, qui r^ussissent mieux 
(H. DUVEBNOIS, Edgar). 
*flanehe, n.m. Something one knows, 
thing, job, business, affair, dodge, con- 
trivance e.g. BatJi flanche ! That's 
good ! That's all right ! That's a good 
job ! II connaU le flanche, He knows 
the dodge. Foutuflanche/ A bad job. 
ITrom the old jargon verb fiancher, used 
ironically by cardsharpers, etc., m the sense 
of 'to play frankly ' (i.e. d la flanquette). 
flanelier, vb. intr. To lack the pluck for 
doing a thing, not to dare to do a thing, 
not to be game, to back out. 
A provincialism (Yonne), ' to be flabby % ' to 
lack vigour '. 

Le premier qoiflanche, je le brule I 
(MATTPASSANT, Les I dees du Colonel). 




Vous avez ete courageux jusqu'ici, 
il ne faut p&sflancher (R. DORGELES, 

flandrm, n.m. Tall, lanky, gawky fellow, 
big lubberly fellow. 
According to Littre' and the D <?., the word 
denotes * a man of Flandre (Flanders) * and 
is an allusion to the tall stature and flabby 
character of the Flemish. Saine'an (Sources 
indigenes, II, pp. 368-9) questions this 
explanation and sees in the word a Southern 
origin : in Provencal ftandrin is a * tall 
dawdling fellow *, a ' lazy-bones ', a ' sleepy- 
head ', etc. ; it thus has the same force as 
landrin, which is inseparable from balandnn, 
* waddling', all of which denote a person 
who walks heavily, with his arms dangling 
at his side. He thinks that the name may 
have been suggested by false analogy, and 
that apparently the starting-point was the 
bird called ftamant or * flamingo* : its little 
body rests on long legs, and its gait is slow, 
irregular and somewhat unsteady. Hence 
the two peculiarities retained in French and 
Provencal, referring on the one hand to the 
tall figure and on the other to the waddling 
gait, froin which is derived the double force 
of ' big booby ' and 'listless '. 
*flanelle, n.f. Faire flanelle, (a) To be a 
bad customer, one who does not pay or 
spend much. (e.g. to sit in a cafe for 
a long time over one drink) ; (6) To 
visit an establishment (especially a 
house of ill-fame) only for curiosity's 
sake or with platonic intentions and 
spend nothing or very little there ; (c) 
To abstain from doing what one has 
got to do, to do nothing, to loaf. 

Les femmes criaient : <c Flanelle ! 

Flanelle ! y n'ont pas le sou ; sortez- 

les ! ( chuck 'em out *) " (G. COUR- 

TELINE, Le Train de 8 h. 47). 

flanquer. 1. vb. tr. To give (e.g. a blow), 

to fling, hurl e.g. Je lui aiflanque un 

bon coup de pied (une bonne gifle), I 

landed him a fine kick (a fine slap in the 

face). Flanquer que&qu'un deJiors (or a 

la porte), To fire (hoof, turf) a person 


Au cas ou neanmoins Pauline 
s'obstinerait a faire une cuisine im- 
mangeable, eh bien ! on laflanquera 
a la porte (A. LICHTENBERGER, 
Petite Madame}. 

See Woe (Coppee), easser 1 
(Duvernois), chiche (Duvernois), 
eoncevoir 1 (Sardou). 
2. Se flanquer par terre, To fall (heavily), 

to go sprawling. 
*flanquette, n.f. A la bonne flanquette A 

la bonne franquette. 
*flapi, adj. and past part. (Of persons), 

Dead-beat, knocked-up ; (Of things) 
In a bad condition, wobbly. 
A provincialism (Lyonnais), adopted by 
popular speech. 

J'et&isflapi . . . moucommeune 
loque . . . incapable de remuer ni 
pied ni patte (GYP, La Qinguette). 

J'ai vu un homme flapi, vide, 
rendu . . . parce que le moral lui 
manquait (C. H. HIESCH, " Petit " 
Louis, JBoxeur). 

*flaplr, vb. tr. To tire out, knock up. 
*flauple, n.f. *1. Great quantity -e.g. 
Une fiaupee de wioutards, A great 
crowd of urchins. 

*2. Great quantity of blows e.g. Flanquer 
une flaupee a quelqu'un, To give one a 
licking, a thrashing. 
See flauper. It is interesting to note that the 
idea of beaucoup is expressed by the notion 
of a ' hurricane of blows ' (cp. tapee) in 
other words, by the same notion that the word 
beaucoup itself represents etymologically. 
*flauper, vb. tr. To beat, thrash. 

A provincialism (Anjou). 
fleche, n.f. Faire fleche de tout bois, To 
make use of (take advantage of, turn 
to account) every opportunity, to use 
every means to accomplish an end, to 
leave no stone unturned. Cp. bois 7. 
Lit. ' to make an arrow of any wood * ; an 
allusion to the fact that the wood for arrows 
should have special qualities. 

Toujours pr^te a faire fleche de 

tout bois, elle vit dans Francoise une 

alliee et dans sa jeunesse un moyen 

(J. RENARD, Les Cloportes). 

flemard or flemmard, n.m. and adj. Lazy 

fellow, slacker. 
flemarder or flemmarder, vb. intr. To be 

lazy, to loaf. 

Seme or flemme, n.f. Extreme laziness 
e.g. Avoir la fleme, To be (feel) lazy, 
to feel slack, to feel cc Mondayish ". 
Battre la (or sa) fl&me or Tirer sa 
flemme, To slack about, lounge about. 
Cp. cosse. 

Corruption of ftegme, ' phlegm ' ; an allusion 
to the effect which doctors formerly ascribed 
to phlegm, one of the four 'humours*. 
Ambroise Par6, the sixteenth-century surgeon, 
wrote : " Le flegme rend rhomme endormy, 
paresseux et gras ". 

Moi, je vais m'offrir une journ6e 
de flemme, a plat ventre dans 
1'herbe (H. DE EEGITIEE, La Peur de 
L* Amour). 

See panthere (Zola). 

*fiemer or jSemmer, vb. intr. = fi^marder. 
fleur, n.f. 1. A fleur de tete e.g. Des 




A fieur de = * on a level with ' ; hence eyes 
on a level with the cheek-bone and forehead. 
Une vraie douleur brottillait ses 
gros yeux a fleur de tete et son 
pauvre nez rouge, trop court (A. 
FBAKOE, Le Mannequin d? Osier). 

2. A la fleur de Page, In the prime of life. 
Variant : Dans (toute) la force d& Vdge. 

3. La fine fleur de, The cream (pick, pink) 

of e.g. C'est la fine fleur de I'armee. 

II passait aux yeux de beaucoup 
pour la fine fleur du high-life (MAU- 
PASSANT, Fort comme la Mort). 

Us sont, ceux-la, les beaux 
joueurs de la contree, la fine fleur des 
lestes et des forts (P. LOTI, Ramun- 

4. La fleur des pois, The cream (pick, 
pink) of a class of persons and some- 
times of things. 

Lit. ' the prime of peas '. 

M. le prince n'avait plus pour 
soldats que la fleur des pois (M. 
BOULE^GER, Le Pave du Roi}. 
fleurette, n.f. Center fleur ette, To whisper 
(say) soft nothings, to make pretty 
love speeches. See conter 2. 

II fallait que quelqu'un du be! air, 
en passant par la, eut conte fleurette 
a Mme Jean (G-ATTTIEE, Jean et Jean- 
flibuster, vb. tr. To swindle, to steal. 

Lit. *to buccaneer*. 
*flic, n.m. Policeman, copper, peeler. 

An old jargon term, meaning 'sergeant', 
which has passed into popular speech. The 
word is imitative, expressing the cracking 
made by a whip or a blow with the open hand ; 
cp. cogne. 

Oui, y a les flics, observa-t-elle en 
jetant un coup d'oail rapide a deux 
agents postes pres d'un debit (F. 
CAECO, ISHomme traque). 
*flingot or flingue, n.m. Rifle. 

This military and naval word is of Southern 
origin : Provencal flingo, ' switch * or ' wand '. 
Ramasse ton flingue et ton sac. 
. . . Viens (R. DOKGELES, Les 
Croix de Bois). 
*fllque, n.m. = file. 

See emballer 1 (a). 
*flope or floppSe, n.f. = 
*floper, vb. tr. = flauper. 
jflores, n.m. Faireflores, To flourish, to 
be all the rage. 

Origin uncertain ; the D.G. suggests that it 
may come from a proper name Blores de 
Grece, hero of a famous romance of the six- 
teenth century. Littr< says that fiords is 
the Latin flores, so that faire fiords = fteurir. 
Savez-vous combien il gagnait, feu 

Jules, a sa belle epoque ? Trois 
cents francs par mqis, ma petite. 
Et la pantomime faisait flare's alors 
(J. RICHEPIET, Braves Gens). 

Leurs habits affichaient cette 
misere pretentieuse qua fait flores 
chez les clients hirsutes de certains 
cafes de Montparaasse (P. BENOIT, 
Le Puits de Jacob). 
flottard, n.m. Naval cadet. 
*flotte, n.f. *1. Water, rain e.g. Boire de 
la flotte, To drink water. II tombe de 
la flotie, It is raining. 
From flat, ' wave *, ' water *. 

J'peux pourtant pas aller cher- 

cher de la flotte dans mes godasses 

( c boots '), braille le cuistot (R. DOR- 

GELES, Les Groix de JBois). 

*2. Great quantity e.g. Une flotte d'amis, 

Plenty of friends. II y en a des 

flottes, There are heaps of them. 11 

en est venu une flotte, Hundreds came. 

Flotte was used in Old French with the mean- 

ing of an assembly of persons or things of the 

same kind. This sense of the word dis- 

appeared from the literary language in the 

sixteenth century, but has been retained in 

popular speech. 

II a ete voir pour du travail . . . 
a cause que la braise, ici, on n'en a 
pas des flottes (C. H. HIESOH, Un 
vieux Bougre). 

flouer ? vb. tr. To cheat, do, swindle e.g. 
Nous sommes floues, We have been 
taken in, sold, done brown. 
Jlou&f or frouer, ' to cheat at cards ', is an 
old jargon term which penetrated into popular 
speech in the first half of the nineteenth 
century. The verb is equivalent to jaire 
flou-flou or frou-frou, i.e. to imitate the cry 
of the owl, an association of ideas also found 
in piper, ' to decoy * : the action of jrouer 
precedes that of piper when luring birds 

Langaffeparisien, p. 232). 
*Mte. (A) n.f. 1. Flutes, Legs, pins, 
spindle-shanks e.g. Jouer (or Se tirer 
or Tricoter) des flutes, To be off, make 
Lit. ' flute *. 

Je vous g&ae, mon ami ? Du 
tout. Settlement, je stiis accable de 
besogne, et ce sacre Francis en a 
profite" pour se tirer des flutes comme 
un lapin ( WILLY, La bonne Mait- 

2. Ce gui vient de la flute s'en va au (or par 
le) tambour, Lightly come, lightly go ; 
111 got, ill gone. 

The saying arose in allusion to the habits of 
the mercenary soldiers of old, especially the 
drummers, who easily earned their pay by 
playing the fife or beating the drum and 




gambled away their money at dice, using 
their drums as tables. 

(B). Inter j. Flute / Expresses impatience, 
contempt, disappointment, strong re- 
fusal Damn! Damn it! Go to the 
devil ! Deuce take it ! Dash it ! 
Synonymous with zut ! The implication is 
probably * Play your flute, and see if you will 
get what you want '. Cp. To ' whistle * for a 

Zut I . . . Flute! . . . C'est 
trop embetant aussi ! (0. MIRBEAXT, 
Le Journal d'une Jfemme de Cham- 

See fichu 2 (Veber). 

*flftter, vb. intr. 1. Envoy er fluter quel- 
qu'un, To send a person to the deuce, 
to Jericho. 

Elle joliment fluter le 
monde (ZOLA, ISAssommoir). 
2. To drink, to swig. 

*foie, n.m. Avoir les foies (blancs), To be a 
coward, to funk. Ne pas avoir les 
foies (blancs}, (a) To be bold, plucky ; 
(b) To be cheeky. 

j?oie 'liver ' ; cp.the English * to be white- 
livered '. 

S'il fallait que ffasse Fattaque, 
faurais pas plus les foies que toi (R. 
DORGOGLES, Les Groix de Bois). 

L'orage eclat e entre deux gamins : 

Menteur ! Rebiffe un peu ? ('I 

dare you to say it again '). Grdne 

pas I fas les foies blancs / Je te 

dis que je te boufferais! (C. H. 

HIESGH, " Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 

loin. (A) n.m. 1. Avoir dufoin dans ses 

bottes, To be well off, to have feathered 

one's nest. Similarly : M ettre du foin 

dans ses bottes, To feather one's nest, 

to take care of number one. Cp. 

beurre 1. 

Lit. ' to have (to put) hay in one's shoes * ; 
an allusion to the old practice of putting hay 
in wooden shoes to keep the feet warm or to 
make walking easier. 

II est venu & Paris en sabots avec 
de la paille dedans, comme il dit, et 
maintenant il a du foin dans ses 
bottes (M. DOKNAY, GMres Mesdames). 
2. Eire bete a manger du foin, To be a per- 
fect idiot. 

Lit. 'to be as silly as animals which eat hay '. 
*3. Faire du foin, To make (kick up) a 
row, bustle about, to protest vehem- 
ently e.g. Vous faites tant de foin 
gut on ne s'entend plus, You are making 
such a row that one can't hear oneself 

Vous en faites un foin, mon vieil 

Edouard! C'est-il que vous de- 
venez marteau (* crazy s ) ? Au lieu 
de vous tenir penard (' quiet '), et 
d'attendre gentiment, comme mez- 
igue ('myself') sans vous faire de 
bile, vous criez, vous vous demenez 
. . . et pourquoi ? (WELLY, Jeux de 

(B). Interj. Foin de . . . / expresses 
scorn, indifference Plague take . . . ! 
Away with . . . ! 

Foin de I'Academie ! C'est vieux, 
demode (A. DATJDET, Le petit Chose). 
foire, n.f. 1. Diarrhoaa, colic. 

2. Fear, funk e.g. Avoir la foire, to be 

3. A la foire d'empoigne, By robbery 

e.g. Acheter a la foire d'empoigne, To 
rob, steal. 

Foire here = ' fair % * wakes *, and d'em- 

poigne = en empoignant, i.e. * by laying hold 

of *. The expression is due to a play on the 

words empoigner and Ampoigne, a town in 

Mayenne (SAI^AN, LaTiffage parisien, p. 421). 

Et quand il est tout seul, il me 

me*prise profondement pour toutes 

les choses que j 'ignore, et ou il est 

maftre : voler des poules, acheter du 

riz a la foire d'empoigne ... (P. 

MILLE, 8ur la vaste Terre). 

C'etait noce et festin pour elle, 
quand elle garnissait sa marmite de 
pitance volee, gagnee, comme on dit, 
a la foire d'empoigne (J. RIOHEPIN", 

4. La foire ri*e$t pas sur le pont, There's 
no hurry, There's plenty of time. 
This alludes to an old custom which allowed 
small dealers, after the end of a fair, to set 
up on or near a bridge in order to continue 
their business for a day or two. Thus there 
was no reason to hurry as long as one could 
say : La foire riest pas sur le pont. Similarly 
one says : Allez vite, la foire est sur le pont, 
to make fun of a person who is hurryiag 
when there is no cause. 

3?aut-il parler a ma mere ? La 
f oir en" est pas sur le pont, petit ! . . . 
Dis-lui ce que tu as fait ce matin 
. . . ou tu vas cet apres-midi . . . 
un point, c'est tout/ (C. H. HIESOH, 
" Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 
fois, n.f. 1. Une bonne fois or Une fois 
pour toutes, Once and for all. 

Voulez - vous m'expliquer une 
bonne fois, pourquoi, depuis quel- 
que temps, vous avez adopte ce ton 
hargneux ? (H. BERNSTEIN, La 
2. Une fois n'est pas coutume, It is only 




this once, Once does not count, One 
swallow does not make a summer. 

3. Ne pas se faire dire une chose deux fois, 

To do a thing at the first time of tell- 
ing e.g. II ne se le fit pas dire deux 
fois, He did it at once. 

4. Y regarder a deux (or a plusieurs) fois, 
To think well before deciding to do a 
thing e.g. II faut y regarder a deux 
fois, Think twice before you do it. 

*5. Des fois. (a) Des fois, in the sense of 
guelquefois, ' sometimes ', although 
condemned by purists, flourishes, like 
the analogous des jours, i on certain 

Les blessures de duel sont rare- 
ment dangereuses. He, des fois, ca 
peut tourner mal (P. VEBER, Que 
Suzanne . . ,). 

*(6) Since des fois is used as a synonym for 
guelguefois, and as the latter, in cer- 
tain contexts, can have the force of 
par Jiasard, " by chance ', it is not sur- 
prising that des fois has assumed in 
familiar speech the sense of 4 perhaps ', 
c by chance *. 

Monsieur Beauceron n'est pas ma- 
lade, des fois ? demanda le facteur 
(J. PELLEEIN", La Dame de leurs 

*(c) From the preceding force of a sup- 
posed possibility has resulted the ironic 
implication of impossibility, and in this 
sense Des fois I or Non, mais des fois ! 
serves to formulate mocking or in- 
dignant refusal or contradiction simi- 
lar to that expressed by the analogous 
formula Plus souvent I Some English 
equivalents are : Oh, I say ! Not 
likely ! What do you take me for ? 
That's a bit thick ! 

C'est tres curieux, U y a des chiens 
qui parlent ! Tu blagues \ <Fen ai 
entendu un qui pronong ait distincte- 
ment : " Papa ! Perdu mon para- 
pluie ! "-Non, mais des fois i Ma 
parole d'honneur ! (H. DUVEBNOIS, 
Le Chien qui parle). 

folichon, adj. Merry, gay, frisky e.g. 
une chanson folichonne, a light, frivo- 
lous song. Des yeux folickons, Wanton, 
naughty eyes. Un petit air folichon, 
A ' doggy ' air. Ce n'est pas folichon, 
It is not very exciting, It is very dull. 
Pas gai, pas folichon, Vannes. 
Triste idee de venir ici (MAUPASSANT, 
Une Soiree). 

Simone, excusez-moi, je me sens 
un peu folatre, aujourd'hui. Tu 
peuxmeme dire folichon (R. COOLTJS, 
Une Femme passa). 

f olie, n.f. Faire des folies, To be rashly 
extravagant (in spending money). 

Oh ! mais tu as fait des folies ! Tu 
es mille fois trop bonne ! (H. BAT- 
AILLE, Poliche). 

fond, n.m. 1. A fond de train, At full 
speed e.g. Courir a fond de train, To 
run at the top of one's speed. 

II s'elan9a a fond de train dans la 
campagne sombre et morne (T. 
GAUTIEB, Militona). 

2. Defond en comble: see comble 1. 

3. Eire a fond de cale, To be penniless, 
ruined, at the end of one's resources. 
Lit. ' to be at the bottom of the hold ' (of a 

4. Le fin fond, The very bottom, the 
lowest (very) depths e.g. Au Jin fond 
de VAfrique, In the very depths (the 
remotest parts) of Africa. 

II logeait au fin fond d'un fau- 
bourg deja campagnard, dans une 
tres petite maison perdue sous de 
tres grands arbres (C. FABBEBE, 
Quatorze Histoires de Soldats). 

5. Lefond du sac, The secret e.g. II m'a 
laisse voir le fond du sac, I guessed his 
intentions in spite of him. 

Depuis Fachoda, du reste, on con- 
nait le fond du sac des gaillards qui 
nous gouvernent (F. COPPEE, tin 
Drapeau de moins). 

fonds, n.m. 1. JBtre en fonds, To be in 
funds. Ne pas lire en fonds, To be 
short of cash. 

2. Les fonds sont bas, Funds are low. Cp. 

eau 8. 

3. Eentrer dans ses fonds, To get back 

(recover) one's capital. 

Quelques jours apres, il lui de- 
manda s'il n'existait pas de moyens 

L' Education sentimentale). 
fontaine, n.f. II ne faut pas dire : Fon- 
taine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau, One 
never knows what the future may have 
in store, You never know what you 
may come to, One must never be sure 
of not wanting some one (or something) . 
This proverbial saying implies: One must 
never say ' I will never do this or that * or 
4 That will never happen to me ' or ' I will 
never need, that or that person's help % 
because, to quote the proverb which Alfred 
de Musset used for the title of one of his 




Proverbes, II ne faut jurer de rien, You never 
can tell Cp. the title of a comddie by F. de 
Croisset : Ne dites pas Fontaine . . . 
for, n.m. Dans son for interieur, In one's 
conscience, in one's heart of hearts, in 

The word for (from the Latin forum, 'tri- 
bunal ') is now only used in this phrase, which 
has lit. the force of ' in the judgment of one's 
conscience '. 

Dans son for interieur, il s'etait 
abandonne completement a Vautrin, 
sans vouloir sonder ni les motifs de 
1'amitie que lui portait cet homme 
extraordinaire, ni 1'avenir d'tine 
semblable union (BALZAC, Le Pere 

force, n.f, 1. A toute force, By all (man- 
ner of) means, at all risks, absolutely 
e.g. II faut a toute force le faire parler, 
We must do all we can to make him 
speak. II voulut a toute force sortir, 
He insisted on going out. 

Ce vieillard, humble et modeste 
sur tout le reste, est vain de publicity. 
H veut etre imprime a toute force 
jusque dans la feuille anticlericale 
(A. F-RANC^Le Mannequin d Osier). 

2. De vive force, By main force. 

3. Etre dans (toute) la force de Page, To be 
in the prime of life, in all the vigour of 
manhood. Op. fleur 2. 

4. Etre de force a . . ., To be capable of 

. . ., equal to . . ., a match for . . . 

Je ne suis pas de force a discuter 
avec vous (R. BAZIN, De toute son 

Je me crois de force a gagner ma 
vie (BuiEUX, La Femme seule). 

See dur 1 (CherbuHez). 

5. Etre de la force de quelqu'une.g. Je 

ne suis pas de votre force, (lit.} I am 
not as strong as you are ; (fig.) I 
am no match for you. Similarly, Ils 
sont de meme (or d'egale) force, They 
are equally proficient, equal (in skill, 
knowledge, etc.), They are well (even- 
ly) matched. 

Je vaux bien mon prix ; et M. de 
Marivaux a mis dans ses pieces des 
soubrettes qui ne sont pas de ma 
force (T. GATJTIER, Jean et Jean- 

6. Un cas de force majeure, A case of 
absolute necessity, of having no choice. 
Force majeure is a legal term denoting 
imperious necessity, forcing a person to 
do or abstain from an action and relieving 
him of all responsibility for such action or 

f or@t, n.f. C' est une (vraie) for fit de Bondy, 
It's a regular den of thieves. 
The forest of Bondy, some seven miles to the 
north-east of Paris, was for a long time the 
haunt of robbers and highwaymen. 
forgeron, n.m. C'est enforgeant qu'on (or 
A force de forger on) devient forgeron, 
Practice makes perfect. 
forme, n.f. 1. Mettre des formes a faire 
quelquecJiose, To be mannerly, civil, 
polite in doing a thing e.g. II Va 
blame, mais en y mettant des formes, He 
censured him, but he did it civilly. 

Quand on renvoie les gens, on doit 
y mettre des formes (BALZAC, Le Pire 

2. Pour la forme, For form's sake. 
fort. (A) adj. 1. Good at, well up in 
e.g. II est tres fort en allemand, He is 
very good at German. II n* est pas fort, 
He is not very clever, He is no great 

Ils seront meme forts en escrime, 
mais tres faibles sur les engrais 

2. Cela (Qa), ce ri* est pas fort, That is very 
tame, There is not much in that. 

3. C'est plus fort que moi, I cannot help it, 
I cannot stand it e.g. II faut que je 
parle, c'est plus fort quei moi, I must 
speak, I cannot help it. 

Eh bien ! puisqu'il le faut ! Puis- 
que vous 1'exigez, oiu, je vous assure, 
je serai raisonnable. Mais c'est plus 
fort que moi . . . renoncer a Bern- 
ard, mais non, je ne peux pas, vous 
voyez bien que je ne peux pas ! (H. 
CEAKD, Les Resigned). 

4. C'est unpeufort or Cela est (or C'est) trop 
fort, That's too bad, That is going a 
little too far, That's a bit thick. Cela 
est (par) trop fort, That is really too 
bad, It's outrageous ! See elle. 

In Old French par served to strengthen the 
adverbs trs, tant and trop, and we have 
in this optional par in par trop -fort a 
remnant of the old usage. 

Robert, tu ne m'aimes plus. . . . 

Comment, je ne t'aime plus ! . . . 

Qa,, c'est un peu fort, par exemple ! 

(0. MERBEATJ, Le Journal d'une 

Femme de Chambre). 

5. Se faire fort de, To engage, under- 
take to do a thing e.g. Je me fais fort 
de le faire, I feel quite confident of 
doing it. 

M. de Franois se faisait fort 
tf amener madame de Jonceux a ses 




vues (H. DE REQNIER, Le Passe 

6. Trouver plus fart que soi, To find one's 
master e.g. II a trouve plus fort que 
Iui 9 He has met more than his match. 

(B) adv. 1. Avoir fort a faire (pour), 
To have some trouble to do a thing 
e.g. Vous aurez fort & faire, You will 
have hard work of it. J'aurai fort a 
faire pour Ten empdcher, I shall have a 
stiff job to prevent him from doing it. 

Et, d'ailleurs, Juancho ne dira 
rien ; il aura fort a faire pour 
e*chapper au chatiment qu'il merite 
(T. GATTTIER, Militona). 
2. Taller fort: see aUer 7 (6). 

(C) n.m, 1. Le fort et le faible e.g. 
Ghacun a son fort et son faible, Every- 
body has his strong and weak points. 
Savoir le fort et le faible de V affaire, To 
know the ins and outs of the matter. 

2. Le fort et le fin e.g. Savoir le fort et le 
fin de son art, To know every trick of 
one's trade. 

*fortifs, n.f. pt Fortifications (of Paris). 
Abbreviation of Fortifications', a favourite 
resort of the working-classes who go there 
for an outing, and the rendezvous at night of 

fortune, n.f. 1. Faire contre fortune bon 
cceur, To bear up against misfortune, 
to make the best of a bad job. 
Fortune signified primitively * lot ', ' chance ', 
which could be either good or bad. Formerly 
the word was often "used with the unfavourable 
force of ' misfortune *, and we have a relic 
of this use in the above expression. The 
favourable evolution of the word has brought 
about the alteration of the saying to faire 
contre mauvaise fortune bon cceur. 
2. Un homme d, bonnes fortunes, A man 
who can boast of ladies' favours. 
(S'en) aller en bonne fortune, To go to 
meet one's lady-love. Eire en bonne 
fortune. To enjoy one's lady's favours. 
Une jolie chose, ce serait un livre 
dft a la collaboration de quelques 
hommes a bonnes fortunes ou chacun 
a son tour raconterait simplement, 
sincerement, Paventure la plus deli- 
cate de sa vie amoureuse (]?. COPPEE, 

3. La fortune du pot, Pot-luck e.g. 
Diner a la fortune du pot, To take 
pot-luck. Voulez-vous accepter la for- 
tune du pot? Will you take pot-luck 
with us ? 

Vous dinez avec nous, monsieur 
Eoux. . . . Vous savez, ce sera a 

la fortune du pot (A. FRANCE, Le 

Mannequin d'Osier). 

foil, adj. and n.m. 1. Fou (lit. * mad ") 
is used familiarly in the sense of: 
immense, extravagant, tremendous 
e.g. Un monde fou, An immense 
(prodigious) crowd, a great crush. 
Des prix fous, Exorbitant (awful) 
prices. Un succes fou, A wonderful 
success. Gela lui a coute un argent 
fou, That cost him a heap (a mint) 
of money. 

Un monde fou, a cette conference ; 

les spectacles gratuits sont si rares 

en province ! (A. ALLAIS, I? Affaire 

Blair eau). 

Les chaises coutaient des prix 

fous \ (A. DATJDET, Gontes du Lundi). 

2. IStrefou a Her or JBtrefoufurieux, To be 
raving mad. Dire fou a courir les rues 
(or les champs), To be stark, staring 
mad, To be as mad as a March hare, as 
a hatter. 

3. Plus on est de fous, plus on rit, The 
more the merrier. 

foueade, n.f. Sudden thought or action, 
whim, fad, caprice e.g. Travailler par 
foucades, To work by fits and starts. 
A provincial borrowing, of Norman origin, 
from /owe, ' herd * (SAIK&AN, Langage pari- 
sien, pp. 278-9). 

*f ouchtra, n.m. Native of Auvergne, or the 
language of Auvergne. 
Fouchtra is the Auvergnat's customary oath 
(equivalent to flchtre), and so has come to be 
used to denote the Auvergnat himself. See 
Auverpin and bougna. 

Je m'habillerai en Auverpin ; je 
parlerai fouchtra ( J. E.IOHEPIN, Tru- 

*fouetter, vb. intr. To stink. 
Lit. ' to whip ' ; op. taper 3. 

Bonjour, dlt Cheri. Me voila. 
@a fouette, dans ton escalier. Pire 
qu'un terrier (COLETTE, La Fin de 

*fou!l!er, se. To have to go without, to be 
deprived of, to be certain of not get- 
ting e.g. Tu ri>en auras pas, tu peux 
tefouiller (to which is sometimes added 
si tu as des pocJies), You shan't have 
any, you may whistle for it. Si tu 
ri*es pas content, tu peux te fouiller, If 
you don't like it, you can lump it. 
Tu peux te fouiller, mon vieux ! Don't 
you wish you may get it ! 
L%t. * to fumble ' (in one's pockets). 

II faudra nous payer d'abord ces 
soixante-dix francs. Et avec quoi ? 




repliquai-je. Je n'ai pas un sou. 
. . . Vous pouvez vous fouiller (0. 
MIRBEATT, Le Journal d'une Femme 
de Chambre). 

See singe 1 (Zola). 

fouinard, n.m. and adj. Inquisitive, sly 
person, Nosy-parker. 
From foulner. 

f ouiner, vb. intr. To nose about (around), 
to ferret, to play the spy or Paul Pry 
or Peeping Tom e.g. Ilfouinepartout, 
He's always poking his nose into every- 
thing, He's always nosing about. 
Like the fouine (' marten *, * weasel *), 
searching about for prey. 

fouler, se. Se fouler or Se la fouler or Se 
fouler la rate, To work hard, to ' kill ' 
oneself. Ne pas se la fouler or Ne pas 
se fouler la rate* To take it (things) easy. 
Lit. * to sprain one's spleen ' (by much exer- 
tion). Cp. rate and see Appendix sub d6rat6. 
II abat de 1'ouvrage comme trois 
hommes sans avoir 1'air de se fouler 
(GYP, La Ginguette). 

L'important, disait-il, c'est de se 
la couler douce jusqu'au bout, sans 
se fouler la rate (E. ROD, ISIncendie). 
f oultitude, n.f. Many, much, great quan- 

A humorous combination of joule, ' crowd ', 
and multitude. 

four, n.m. Failure, fiasco, wash-out (of a 
play and generally) e.g. Gette piece est 
un four or Cette piece a fait four. That 
play was a failure, a frost, fell flat. 
ya ete un vrai four or un four complet 
or un four noir t It was a dead failure. 
Faire (un) four, To be unsuccessful, to 

Faire lour goes back to the seventeenth 
century and was used originally of actors 
who refused to play and turned out the 
audience when the takings did not cover 
expenses ; this proceeding made the theatre 
as black as a four, * oven * (cp. II fait noir 
comme dans un four, ' It is as dark as pitch *). 
Thus the phrase fairs four came to mean ' to 
fail *, of a play, and later, by extension, * to 
fail* of any work or undertaking (SAiKfeAJsr, 
Langage parisien, p. 465), 

Si les deux pieces qui nous pr6- 
cedent allaient faire four, nous 
serions joue"s en flvrier (ELATJBERT, 

Qui n'a pas conscience du four 
enorme qu'elle vient de faire en 
philosophic ? (G. REVAL, JSevri- 

*fourbi, n.m. *1. Soldier's Mt e.g. Asti- 
quer son fourbi, To burnish, clean one's 

Demain, pas possible. . . . J'ai 
tout mon fourbi a astiquer (L. 
DESCAVES, Sous-Offs). 

See tampon (Salmon). 
*2. Any collection of things, luggage, kit, 
goods and chattels, traps, furniture, 
movables, all one's possessions, etc. 
e.g. Tout le fourbi, Lock, stock and 

Est-ce qu'il y a une allumette au 
milieu de tout ce fourbi modern- 
style ? (H. BATAILLE, La Femme 

Tu vas me degoter un calegon, des 
chaussures, des mitaines, pour ce 
crapaud-la. . . . Tiens ! . . . le 
fourbi de machin ( What's-his- 
name J ) . . . tu sais bien, le nouvel 
eleve? (0. H. HIRSOH, "Petit" 
Louis, Boxeur). 

*3. Complicated affairs, occupation, * game ' 
e.g. un sale fourbi, a rotten job. Un 
drole de fourbi, A rum go. Un vrai 
fourbi arabe, A regular mess, a nice 
kettle of fish. 

Y en a tout partout du populo 
(* mob ') ! c'est un fourbi arabe pom- 
passer (H. BARBTJSSE, Le Feu). 

Elle me laisse crever la f aim, sans 
seulement m'acheter un pantalon ! 
Des instants ou je me retiens a 
guatre pour ne pas lacher le fourbi ! 
( 6 There are times when it is as much 
as I can do to keep from chucking 
up the whole show ') (H. LAVED AN, 

*4. Word substituted for something not 
recollected at the moment thin- 
gummy, thingummybob, gadget. Cp. 
maehin and chose (A) 7. 

Nous cherchons le . . . macJiin, 
le . . . chose, quoi ! le fourbi ! . . . 
le true, si vous preferez (G. COUETE- 
LINE, Le Train de 8 h. 47). 
*5. GonnaUre le fourbi, To be up to snuff, 
to know the ropes. 

En vieux soldat sorti des rangs 
qui connatt le fourbi du me'tier (G. 
Les Gaietes de L'Escad- 


Fourbi, from fourbir, * to polish *, * burnish *, 
is a military term, which has become one 
of the most comprehensive nouns in popular 
speech, its nearest equivalent being true. 
fourehette, n.f. *1. Bayonet e.g. AUer 
(or Travailler) d lafourcbette or Donner 
un coup defourchette, To charge (fight) 
with cold steel, with the pig-sticker. 




2. Etre une bonne fourcJiette, To make 

good play with one's .knife and fork, 
to be a good (capital) trencherman. 
Variants are : IZ donne bien le coup de fourch- 
ette or 11 a un joh coup de -fourchette. 

3. Avoir avale sa fourckette y To be as stiff 

as a poker. Cp. canne 1. 
Lit. ' to have swallowed one's fork '. 
fourgonner, vb. intr. To rummage and 
ups%t, to throw things about (in search- 
ing) e.g. fourgonner dans une armoire, 
to rummage about in a cupboard. 
Lit. * to poke the fire ' (fourg f on== * poker '). 
J'allai trouver le gardien de salle, 
que fentendais fourgonner au loin, 
dans sa niche (G. COTTBTELINE, 
JStnbarras gastrique). 

fourmi, n.f. Avoir des fourmis dans Us 
jambes, To have pins and needles in 
one's legs ; also to be fidgety, restless. 
Lit. * to nave ants in one's legs^*. 

Promenons-nous ; f aides fourmis 
dans les jambes (E. ABOUT, Le Tur- 

*fouineau, n.m. Pool, idiot, noodle, silly 
ass e.g. Va done, eh fourneau ! Get 
along with you, you bally fool ! 

Tais-toi done, eh fourneau / Tu 

vas reveiller 1' brigadier ! (G. COTJB- 

TELINE, Lidoire et Potiron). 

By allusion to beggars who frequent the 

fourneaux de charite", charity or soup-kitchens 

(fourneau = lit. 'stove *). By extension the 

word has been applied to a contemptible 

person, a fool (SAIN^AJST, Langage pansien, 

p. 363). 

fourrager, vb. tr. and Intr. = fourgonner. 

Lit. ' to forage/ 

*fourreaUj n.m. Coucher dans sonfourreau, 
To go to bed with one's clothes on. 
Lit. * in one's sheath *. 

fourrer. 1. (a) To put, shove (cp. 

Samper) e.g. tfourrez ga par terre, 

Shove it down. II ne savait ou se 

fourrer, He did not know where to 

hide his head, what hole to creep into. 

Fourrer le doigt (or le nez) dans . . ., 

To poke one's finger (nose) into . . . 

e.g. II faut qu'il fourre le doigt (le nez) 

partout, He must have a finger in 

everyone's pie. II est tou , jours fourre 

chez nous,, He is * everlasting ' on our 

doorstep, He is always at our 'place '. 

C'est bien toi, n'est-ce pas, qui lui 

avais fourre, une f ois, du poivre de 

Cayenne dans sa tabatiSre ? (M. 

PRAX, Labadens). 

See casse-eou 2 (Fabre). 
2. Fourrer guelqu'un dedans, To deceive a 
person, take one in, to do, gull a person 

e.g. J'ai ete fourre dedans dans les 
grandes largeurs, I've been done brown. 
Cp. mettre dedans. 

3. $' en fourrer ^usgue, la! To have a regu- 
lar tuck-in. 

Lit. ' to cram oneself up to there 1 ' (i.e. to 
the neck). 

*foutaise, n.f. = fiehalse e.g. Tout ga c'est 
de lafoutaise, That's all nonsense, rot, 
rubbish, t tripe-and-onions \ 
Prom foutre. 

Tandis qu'au Heu de a, non, il 
faut gaspiller sa jeunesse, 1'argent 
de ses parents, s'occuper a des 
rubans, des gants de Suede . . . un 
tas de foutaises ! (H. LAVED AN, 

51 foutre, vb. tr. This verb often replaces 
faire in popular speech and is 
itself frequently represented by the 
euphemistic fiehe or ficher (q.v.). The 
original meaning (' to have sexual 
intercourse ') has been lost sight of in 
most cases, and the lower classes 
attach no unseemly signification to 
the word, but use it chiefly in its 
essential value of * to throw or hurl 
violently ' and also with the meaning 
of c to mock at'. The verb is fre- 
quently written / ... re, but realistic 
writers do not hesitate to write it 
in full. 

For the force of the verb in the following 
quotations reference should be made 
to the corresponding sections sub fiehe 
or ficher. 

1. (a) II y (= lui) a foutu cinq 
coups d'lame (F. CAECO, Les Inno- 

(b) II n'est pas venu ? Pas en- 
core. Qu'est-ce qu'il fout ? ( J. 
COPEATT, La Maison natale). 

(c) Foutre le camp avec les bois 
('furniture'), la gar eel ... Et 
pas une lettre, rien (R. DORGELES, 
Les Croix de Bois). 

(d) Acceptez, vous rejouirez Ka- 
lidje qui me f . . . ra enfin la paix 
(A. SALMON, C'est une belle Fille /). 

2. (a) Vous tes durs a vos fermiers. . . . 
Moi, je serai doux aux miens. 2 Is se 
foutront de vous. ... Je vous de- 
mande pardon du mot (BEIETJX, Le 
Bourgeois aux Champs). 

(b) Passez-moi 1' expression, mon- 
sieur, je me foutais de tout (R. BEN- 
JAMIN, Sous le Ciel de France). 


189 frangin 

Faites ce que vous voudrez ! 
Perdez-moi et perdez- vous, si ca vous 
amuse ! Je m?en fous, je m'en fous 
et je m?en contrefous I (J. RICHEPEN", 

(c) J'ramene mons gars defuntu 
(' dead ') : croyez pas qu'c'est mal- 
heureux ! L'aurait survive (i.e. S\l 
avait survecu), on touchait une pen- 
sion. Comme ga, va f faire foutrel 
(R. BENJAMIN, Sous le del de 
*foutre, inter j. = fiehtre, inter j. 

Elle vous traitait, f allait entendre 
ca ! . . . Ah ! non, non. . . . En- 
mi, je n'etais plus chez moi, f outre 1 
(0. MIBBEATJ, Le Journal d'une 
Femme de Ghambre). 

*foutriquet, n.m. Contemptuous term for 
diminutive man, undersized little 
Prom foutre. 

*foutu, adj. and past part, (of foutre) 
= fichu e.g. un gaillard bien foutu, 
a well-dressed (or built) fellow. Un, 
homme mal foutu, A "badly dressed 
(or clumsily built) man. Un travail 
mat foutu, Bungled work. Un foutu, 
cheval, A sorry nag, a c screw '. Un 
foutu temps, E/otten weather. Une fou- 
tue affaire, A wretched business. Une 
foutue canaille, A thorough scamp. 
C*est un homme foutu, He's a ruined 
man. II est foutu I It's all up with 
him i He's done for ! 

La police ! dit-elle toute blanche. 
Ah ! nom (Pun chien ! pas de chance ! 
. . . Nous sommes foutues 1 (ZOLA, 

See ehiper 3 (Carco), mariolle 

frais. (A) adj. 1. JStre frais, (in irony) 
To be in a fix, in a bad way e.g. 
Vous vo^la frais ! A nice mess (fix, 
hole) you're in ! Si votre mere 
I'apprend, vous voila fraiche / If your 
mother hears of it, I shouldn't like 
to be in your shoes ! 

II s'aper<?ut qu'il n'y avait plus 
que deux allumettes dans sa boite de 
" suedoises ". " Tonnerre de brin- 
dezingue ! s'ecria-t-il, en lachant son 
juron f avori. Me voila frais, si mon 
feu ou ma lampe s'eteignent en- 
core " (F. COPPEB, V 'Adoption). 
See chopin 2 (Harry). 


2. iSe sentir frais et dispos, To feel in good 
spirits, hale and hearty. 

(B) n.m. 1. Mettre quelqu'un au, frais, 
To imprison, to put some one away. 
Lit. s to put one in a cool place '. 

2. Prendre (or Eespirer] le frais , To take 
(breathe) the fresh air. 
See rate 1 (Cladel). 

(C) n.m. pi. 1. En itre pourses frais, To 
have one's trouble or pains (To have 
lost one's money) for nothing. 

Frais = * expenses ' ; for the use of en &tre 
pour, see gtre 6 (c). 

D'ailleurs, que Courtepin s'adres- 
sat au pere ou a la fille, il en etait 
pour ses frais (E. ROD, L'Incendie). 
Tous ceux de ses amis qui m'ont 
fait la cour en ont ete pour leurs frais 
(Gyp, Le Baron Sinai). 

2. Faire des frais, To make efforts to 

Cp, 5. 

to go (run) to (to incur) expense *. 

11 fit des frais, fut gai, amusa, sans 
aucune pose de soupirant (MAU- 
PASSAWT, Notre Cceur). 

3. ffaire (tous) les frais de la conversation, 
(a) To keep a conversation going ; (6) 
To be (oneself) the subject of conversa- 
tion. Cp. conversation 1. 

Faire les frais (de) means * to stand the expense 
(of) ', ' to contribute everything (towards) '. 

(a) Fernando et madame Coca- 
trix echangent un regard. Madame 
Huchet s'en aper9oit et se decide 
a faire les frais de la conversation 
(BRIETJX, Le Bourgeois aux Champs). 

(b) Elle resta en bas avec petite- 
maman, et cette fois, les deux 
femmes causerent sans se disputer, 
parce que M. Clerambourg faisait les 
frais de Ventretien (R. BOYLESVE, 
P Enfant a la Balustrade). 

4. Faire ses frais, To get one's money 
back, to cover one's expenses e.g. 
Vous ne ferez pas vos frais, It will not 
pay you, You will lose on it. 

5. Se mettre en frais, (lit.) To go to great 
expense, to spend more than, usual; 
(fig.} To take a great deal of trouble, 
to take much pains. Cp. 2. 

Francais, n.m. Le Francais, elliptical for 
le Thedtre-J?ran$ais in Paris, also called 
la Oomedie-Fran^aise. 

See smoking (Gyp)- 
*frangin, n.m. Brother. 

An old jargon word, of unknown origin, which 
has passed into popular speech via, military 




*frangine, n.f. Sister. 

See frangin. 

f ranquette, n.f. A la bonne f ranquette, (a) 
Without ceremony, frankly e.g. Re- 
cevoir quelqu'un a la bonne franquette, 
To treat a person without ceremony ; 
(6) Anyhow, in any old way, bungled. 
*frappe, n.f. Worthless fellow, scamp, 
rough., blackguard, cad. 
Frappe or frape is an abbreviation of 
frapouille, a provincialism (Champagne) with 
the same meaning and signifying lit. ' rag ', 
'tatter*. Cp. the parallel form fripouille 
(lit. 'tatter', from fripe, 'rag*) (SArnta, 
Langage parisien, p, 301). 
See nipper (Carco). 

frapper, se. To get excited, to worry, to 
be uneasy (implying inordinately or 
unnecessarily) . 

Je ne flatte pas Madame ! Madame 
a tort de se frapper. II n'y a rien 
de plus mauvais pour le teint. . . . 
Si Madame le veut, elle sera jeune 
longtemps encore (J. H. ROSNY, 
IS Amour cPabord). 

Faut pas se /rapper, voyons ! . . . 
Vous savez bien que $a s'arrangera 
en fin de compte (C. H. HIBSCH, 
" Petit '* Louis, Boxeur}. 
See beurre 6 (Hirsch). 
frasque, n.f. Faire sesfrasques, To be up 

to one's tricks, pranks. 
freluquet, n.m. Frivolous young man, 
fop, coxcomb. 

Properly a man of little worth ; freluquet 
formerly denoted a small coin of low value. 
frirot, n.m. Familiar diminutive of frere, 


*frieass6, adj. Lost, done for. Cp. flambS. 
*fricasse, n.f. *1. Medley, jumble. 
*2. Thrashing, drubbing. 

Lit. 'fricassee ', * fried meat '. 
frieasser, vb. tr. L To squander away, 
blue e.g. II a fricasse tout son bien, 
He has squandered all he had. 
Lit. 4 to fricassee % ' to fry meat cut up in 
small pieces '. 

Tu vas me f aire le plaisir de quitter 
Paris, ou tu as appris a gaspiller ton 
temps, a frieasser ton argent . . . 
(V. CHERBTJUEZ, L'Aventure de 
Ladislas Bolski}. 
2. On fen fricasse / (ironical) It isn't for 

you ! 

fricasseuT, n.m. Spendthrift, libertine, rip. 
*frieliti or frisehti, n.m. *1. Stew. 
*2. Food, grub. 

Originally an army term, from the G-erman 
FriXksWjdk ('breakfast'), which has passed 
into popular speech. 

*rieot, n.m. *1. Stew, 

Food, grab. 
^fricoter. *1. vb. intr. (a) To feast, re- 
gale oneself, eat and swill. 

Avec les dbt francs de ce lavage 
(' sale '), ils fricoterent trois jours 
(ZOLA, L'Assommoir). 
*(b) To get illicit spoils, to wangle, to 

speculate (in a shady way). 
*(c) To be a shirker, to shirk one's work or 


*2. vb. tr. (a) To spend on good living, 
on pleasure, to eat up e.g. fricoter tout 
son bien. Cp. frieasser 1. 
To plot (concoct) some trick e.g. Je 
me demands ce qu'il fricote, I wonder 
what he's up to. 

On ne savait pas ce que fricotait 
Chaupillard, invisible depuis plusi- 
eurs jours (L, FBAPIE, Les Obsedes). 
"trieoteur, n.m. *1. One fond of his belly, 
of good living. 

2. Wangler. 

3. Shirker. 

Vous tes un fricoteur ; vous 
aurez deux jours de prison (G. 
COTJETELINE, Le Train de 8 h. 47). 

frigo, n.f. or m. Frozen meat. 

Abbreviation of viande frigoriftfo. 
frime, n.f. Imposture, pretence, sham 
e.g. C'est de la frime, It's all sham. 
Ce n'est que pour la frime, It is a 
mere sham. 

From the Old 3?rench/nww0, * mien % ' appear- 
ance ' (origin unknown). 

En somme, il a dit qu'il allait a 
Soissons. Mais qu'est-ce que Jotte 
en salt ? G*est peut-^tre de la frime 

Tu crois a tout cela, toi ? C'est de 
la frime, c'est de la comedie (BEIETJX, 

See gabelou (Mirbeau). 
*f rimer. *1. vb. intr. (a) To pretend. 
(6) To make a good appearance, to look 
well e.g. frimer bien (or mal), to have 
a good (or bad) appearance. Get habit 
frime bien, That coat looks well. 

Non, monsieur, repondit Georges ; 
d'aHleurs ce . . . Monsieur 6tait as- 
sez proprement vetu . . . du moins 
il y avait apparence que ce monsieur 
cherchait a ... a frimer, si mon- 
sieur me permet de m'exprimer 
ainsi (A. SALMON", C'est une belle 
*2. To look at. 


' Irimotisse, n.f. Face, phiz. 

The present f orm frimousse was preceded by 
fnmouse, both, by fusion of frime, 'mien*, 
with mouse or mousse, ' face *, ' snout ' 
(SAim&AN, Sources indigenes, II, p. 328). 

Loulou avait une petite frimousse 
sage, reflechie (L. FRAPIE, La Boite 
aux Gosses). 

"tringuer, vb. tr. To dress, tog up. J8e 
Jringuer, To dress oneself up, to rig 
oneself out. 

*Mngues, n.f. pi. Clothes, togs. 
*Mo or Mot, adj. Chilly, nippy, parky 
e.g. II fait frio, It is chilly. 
This form is an adaptation of its synonym 

fripouille, n.f. and adj. Scamp, cad, 
blackguard e.g. C'est une fameuse 
fripouille, He is a thorough black- 
Variant : fripe. See note to frappe. 

Tu m'as Fair, sais-tu, d'une petite 
fripouille tfembusque (B. BENJAMIN, 
Sous le del de France). 
friser, vb. tr. To border on, to be (get) 
very near e.g. friser I' impertinence, to 
be as nearly impertinent as possible. 
Friser- la quarantaine, To be just upon 
forty (years of age). 
Lit. ' to graze *. 

II avait une invincible mesestime 
qui frisait la repugnance pour les 
pauvres gringalets sortis de 1'Scole 
Polytechnique (MAUPASSANT, Le Lit 

L'intendant, quifrisaitla, cinquan- 
taine, avait une trogne vermeille sous 
sa petite perruque (T. GATJTIER, Jean 
et Jeannette). 

frisquet. 1. adj. = frio e.g. Une temper- 
ature frisquette. 11 fait frisquet. Get 
hiver; il n'a pas fait frisquet. 

II M offrit de venir chez M, sous 
le pretext e que le matin etait frisquet 
(K. BOY.LESVE, La Lecon $ Amour 
dans un Pare). 

2. n.m. Cold, cold wind. Also le frisque. 
Lef risque du matin, qui ravigote le 
sang, qui cingle la vie ( J. BICHEPIN, 
Le Pave). 

Dehors, un petit frisquet coupait 
en deux la figure des passants 
(ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
From the Provencal fresquet, * rather cool ', 
diminutive of fresc* 
frit, adj. Lost, done for, ruined. 
Lit. ' fried '. Cp. flamb. 

See rogner (Hirsch). 
*frite, n.f. Des frites, Fried potatoes, 

191 fromage 

' chips ' e.g. chez le marchand de 
frites, at the chip-shop. 

Abbreviation for pommes de terre frites, 

Celine reparut avec six sous de 
frites, deux saucisses chaudes et un 
pain (J. H. ROSNY, Marthe). 
froe, n.m. 1. Prendre le froc, To turn 

Lit. * to take the cassock or monk's gown '. 
2. Jeter le (or son) froc aux orties, (a) To 
throw up the Church as a profession, 
to throw off the cowl, to renounce one's 
Church vows ; (b) To give up one's 

Lit. * to throw one's cassock to the nettles . 
Like a monk who runs away from his monas- 
tery, and once outside, throws his cassock 
among the weeds on the roadside, so as to 
avoid identification. 

froid, adj. and?&.m. 1. Afroid, (a) With- 
out passion, without sincerity e.g. de 
V enthousiasme a froid, mock enthusi- 
asm ; (b) In cold blood. 

Ces sottises stereotype'es a 1'usage 
des debutants paraissent toujours 
charmantes aux femmes, et ne sont 
pauvres que lues a froid (BALZAO, Le 
Pere Goriot). 

2. Battre froid a quelqifmi, To give (tip) 
some one the cold shoulder. 

By allusion to a blacksmith who is said to 
battre le for d froid, ' to cool-hammer iron *, 

II ne garda point de rancune a 
Maximilien, et parut s'etonner que 
son camarade (qui ne ltd avait point 
riposte) lui battU froid (A. HERMANT, 
Cadet de Coutras). 

3. Eire en froid avec quelqu y un> To be on 
cool terms with some one. 

J'ai pris le parti, depuis trois mois 
que nous sommes un peu en froid t 
de t'y laisser aller toute seule (H. 
LAVED AN, Nocturnes). 

Je suis en froid avec mon pere 
depuis quelques mois (H. BATAELLE,. 
Le /Scandale). 

4. II fait un froid de loup (or de canard) 9 It 
is bitter (terribly) cold. 

Veux-tu pousser la porte, s'il te 
plait ? il vient un froid de loup (H. 
LAVEDAN, Nocturnes). 

II fait un froid de canard. J'ai ete 
oblig6 de rarranger le feu (ibid.). 

See noee 4 (Mrbeau). 
fromage, n.m. *1. Soft, cushy job. 
2. Faire fromage or ffaire des fromacfes, (of 
a woman or girl) To spin round quickly 
on the toes and then suddenly sink 
to the ground, so that the skirt swells 




out and distends, presenting the round, 
flat shape of a big cheese, as in a 
certain game played by girls. 

Therese, vtue de blanc, avait Fair 
d'une fillette qui s'amuserait a faire 
fromage (H. DUVERNOIS, Edgar}. 
*fromegi or fromgi or from(e)ton, n.m. 

Corruptions of jromage. The suffix-g^ (from 
-dfi,) is of Algerian origin and is due to the 
French troops in Africa. 
front, n.m. 1. Heurterde front e.g.Heur- 
ter de front les opinions (les prfyuges] de 
quelqu'un, To run counter to (or To 
attack openly) somebody's opinions 

2. Marcher de front, To walk side by side, 

3. Mener deux (or plusieurs) affaires de 
front. To carry on two (or several) 
schemes simultaneously, to follow up 
two (or several) pursuits at the same 
time, to have two (or many) irons in the 

Yoila comment nous etions de 
notre temps 1 On savait mener de 
front le devoir et le plaisir (BBIEUX, 
La petite Amie). 

frott6e, n.f. Thrashing, hiding, drubbing 
e.g. donner (flanguer) une frottee a 
quelqu*un, to give some one a thrash- 

irotter. 1. Frotterqudgu'und? im- 
portance (or comme II faut), To give 
some one a good drubbing. 
2. Sefrotter a quelqu'un or a quelgue chose, 
To come up against, to meddle with 
e.g. Ne vous y frottez pas, Don't 
meddle with it. Ne wus frottez pas 
a lui, Don't ' start ' with him. 

Une fois meme, Madame Bovary 
s'etant avisee de pretendre que les 
maitres devaient surveiller la re- 
ligion de leurs domestiques, elle lui 
avait repondu d'un ceil si colere et 
avec un sourire tellement froid, que 
la bonne femme ne s^y frotta phis 
(Fr^AUBERT, Madame Bouary). 

C'est un petit hercule ! . . . il 
ne ferait pas bon s>y frotter (GYP, 

, n.m. Billiards. 

By allusion to the fact that the billiard-table 
Is ' rubbed ' by the balls. An old cant 
term which has ^passed into military slang. 
La journee finie, ils allaient " en 
ville ", ils " sortaient en ville '*, 
comme ils disaient, mangeaient des 

huitres dans une gar gate (' low 
restaurant') et faisaient un " J "rot- 
tin ", c'est-a-dire qu'ils faisaient une 
partie de billard (E. PSICHAB.I, 
L'Appel des Armes). 

froussard, n.m. and adj. Coward(ly), 
See frousse. 

frousse, n.f. Funk e.g. 11 n'ose (pas] y 
alter, il a la frousse, He daren't go 
there, he funks it. II ri*a pas la 
frousse, He's not got the wind up, 
He's got plenty of pluck. Donner (or 
FicJier) la frousse a quelqu* un, To put 
the wind up a person. 
A provincialism. (Lorraine and Vosges) with 
the same meaning. The word is imitative 
(f roust'), and is originally a hunting term 
denoting the noise made by an animal 
suddenly coming out of the brushwood, or of 
a bird flying away (SAlN;&A]Kr, Langage 
pansien, pp. 303, 478). 

Je ne sais pas ce que madame en 
pense ; pour moi, ce n'est pas le 
moment de montrer aux Prussiens 
qu'cw a la frousse (P. MAEGUEEITTE, 
V Embusque). 

C'est une blague \ . . . quelqu'un 
qui s' amuse a nous ficher la frousse ! 
(GYP, Mtche). 

fruit, n.m. C'est un fruit sec, He is a 

The expression is used of a young man who 
leaves a higher educational establishment 
without having been able (through lack 
of work) to pass the leaving examination ; 
thus it is equivalent to saying that some- 
body has failed to enter the profession he 
desired. According to G6nin, Enervations 
phitoloffiques,t'he origin of the phrase is said to 
be the following anecdote of the Ecole Poly- 
technique : " II y avait a T^cole un eleve 
venu d'une des provinces du midi oil son pere 
faisait un grand commerce de fruits sees. 
Ce jeune homme dont la vocation n'6tait pas 
du e6t< des math6matiques travaillait peu ou 
ne travaillait du tout. Quand ses camarades 
essayaient de le strmuler, par la crainte de 
manquerses examens et de perdre sa carriere, 
il rgpondait d'un ton insouciant et avec un 
accent proven<?al : * Qu'est-ce gue cela me 
fait? Je serai dans les fruits sees comme 
mon pere." Ce mot obstine"ment re"pete* fit 
fortune. Le jeune homme fut effectivement 
dans les fruits sees, et depuis on a re"p6te" ce 
mot par allusion et par euphemisme." 

Et puis, un jour, voil^, cpi'il a un 
duel et qu'il flanque un joli coup de 
pointe a un autre sergent de la com- 
pagnie, un fruit sec de Saint-Cyr 
(F. COPPEE, Le bon Crime). 
*frusquer, vb. tr. To dress, tog up. 
From frasques. 

Si je la voyais habillee aussi riche- 
ment c'etait que sa soeur Tavait 



ee " en vue de cette sortie 
(H. DTTVEBNOIS, Gisele). 
*frusques, n.f. pi. Clothes, togs. 

Frusque, like its older synonym frusquin, is a 
jargon term which has passed into popular 
speech. Frusquin means ht. 'rumpled gar- 
ment ' (Old French fruissier Jroisser, ' to 

Adele, un beau matin, a emporte 
ses frusques, et Lantier n'a pas couru 
apres, je vous assure (ZoisA,L'Assom- 

See coller 2 (Benjamin). 
*fmnasse, n.f. Anger e.g. II etait en 
fumasse, He was in a paddy, He was 
shirty. @a me fiche en fumasse f 
That gets my goat (my back up) ! It 
riles me ! 
See fumer. 

*fume, adj. and past part. Eire fume, To 
be done for, a * goner '. Cp. flambe. 
fumer, vb. intr. To be angry, in a paddy. 
Lit. ' to steam *, * to smoke '. Cp. the English 
*to fume'. 

Le pere Blaire fume dans un coin. 
On voit trembler sa grosse mous- 
tache (H. BARBTJSSE, Le Feu}. 
*fumier, n.m. Dirty fellow, rotter. Used 
as a term of insult e.g. Va done, eJi / 
fumier / Get away with you, you dirty 
Lit. 'dung*, 'muck*. 

Avez-vous remarque que deux 
cochers, lorsqu'ils se mesestiment 
1'un 1'autre, ne se traitent pas de 
"fumier" tout court? Us stipu- 
lent : fumier de lapin, parce que 
c'est I'immondice sans valeur aucune 
(L. FRAPIE, Les Obsedes). 
lumiste, n.m. Practical joker, wag, hum- 
bug e.g. Une farce de fumiste, A 
practical joke. 

Lit. * maker or mender of stoves and chim- 
neys *. By allusion to the way in which these 
people annoy and humhug householders (cp. 
the reputation of the English plumber). 

Votre patronne est une sacree 
fumiste ! (F. COPPEE, Une bonne For- 

fumisterie, n.f. Fraud, sham, humbug, 
sell, practical joke. 

Je ne te ferais pas une fumisterie 
pareille (M. DOIOAY, La Doulour- 

fureur, n.f. Faire fureur, To be all the 
rage, very fashionable e.g. Cela fait 
fureur maintenant, That is all the rage 
now, That is all the go now. Cette 
piece fait fureur, That play is all the 

fusil, n.m. *1. Stomach e.g. n 1 avoir rien 
dans le fusil, to have nothing in one's 
bread-basket. Se mettre (or Se cotter) 
guelque chose dans le fusil, To put 
something down one's gullet. Se 
bourrer le fusil, To eat. 
Lit. ' gun *, * rifle ' ; army slang which has 
passed into popular speech. 
2. Changer son fusil d'epaule, To change 
one's opinion, profession, tactics, to be 
a turncoat, to change one's mind. 
Lit. * to place one's rifle on the other shoulder '. 
Variants are : tourner cosaque or retourner sa 
veste, 'to be a turn-coat *. 
*3. ^carter du fusil, To spit (involun- 
tarily) when talking. 
*4. En coup de fusil, Long and narrow 

e.g. un logement en coup de fusil. 
*5. Eepousser du fusil, To have an offen- 
sive breath. 

*usiller, vb. tr. *1. To destroy, make a 
mess of e.g. II a fusilU tout le bazar t 
He smashed up the whole show ! 
Lit. 'to shoot*. 

Grare a ce pave" ! Yous allez 
no? fusilier ma bagnole ! (H. BAB- 
BUSSE, Le Feu). 
*2. To sell off stolen goods at a low price. 

This term belongs to the slang of cccmelots. 
*3. To spend money. Eire fusille, (a) To 
have lost all one's money at a game, 
to be cleared out; (6) To be over- 
charged, fleeced. 

Originally military slang ; perhaps due to a 
pun on fusilier = faire partir ses lalles, the 
last word having the double meaning of 
* bullets ' and * francs *. 

gafoarit, n.m. Kind, nature, temperament. 
Cp. aeabit. 

Gabarit or gabari is a nautical term and is used 
of the shape or curve that a piece of wood must 
have in the building of a ship, and so, by 
extension, * model ' in general. 

J'en connais quelques-uns de ce 
gabarit . . . ce sont les plus danger- 

eux (0. MIKBEATT, Les Affaires sont 
les Affaires). 
gafoegle, n.f. 1. Foul play, knavery. 

II y a la-dessous quelque gabegie 
(' There is some underhand trick 
(some dirty work) in it *) (J. E.IOH- 
EPENT, Contes sans Morale). 




2. Waste, mess (due to fraud, disorder, 
etc.) e.g. II y a une gabegie terrible 
dans cette maison, The "waste (squan- 
dering) that goes on in that house is 
something terrible. La gabegie ad- 
ministrative, Administrative waste and 

A provincialism (Burgundy), corresponding to 
the Proven?al gabusio or gab-ugio, * malversa- 
tion ', * fraud ' ; "both words are connected 
with the Old French cabuser or gabuser, ' to 
deceive * (SAIN^AJST, Langage pansien, p. 305). 
D'autres se virent attribuer des 
terres qu'ils ne posse"daient pas. 
Personne ne savait plus ce qu'il 
avait ou ce qu'il n'avait pas. 
Efixoyable gabegie, dont on ignore a 
Theure aetuelle si Ton sortira un 
jour (0. MIBBEAIT, Dingo). 

On ne lit plus le nom de Toulon 
sans une sorte de crainte. Les 
na vires sautent, les cuirasses cou- 
lent, les forets flambent. Ou Men, 
o'est 1'eternelle gabegie de 1'Arsenal, 
le port du roi Petaud (AjomE 
SHARES, Sur la Vie). 

gabelou, n.m. Customs officer, exciseman. 
This term, generally used disparagingly, 
formerly meant ' one employed in the gabette ', 
i.e. in collecting the gahel or salt-tax. 

Le gabelou crut, sans doute, que 
Madame lui tendait un piege. II 
hocha sa vieille tete obstinee et 
mefiante. En voila assez, des 
manieres. . . . Tout ca, c'est de la 
frime. . . . Ouvrezl'ecrin (O. Mnt- 
BEAU, Le Journal d'une J?emme de 

s, n.m. Disorder, mess, confusion 
e.g. Eire dans le gdchis, To be in a 
mess. Un joli gdcMs, A nice mess. 
Le gdchis politique, The political mud- 

From gdcher in the sense of 'to bungle', 
' make a mess of *. 

gadoue, n.f. 1. Dirt, mud, slush. 
2. Term of scorn for low, vile person, 
especially applied to lowest type of 

Lit. 'dung used for manure*. Variant : 
gadouille . 

galfe, n.f. 1. Blunder (in action or 
words), bloomer, howler e.g. Faire 
une gaffe, To make a (stupid) blunder, 
to drop a brick, to put one's foot in it. 
Lit. * boat-hook % the forked end of which, by 
analogy with the tongue of vipers, may have 
given rise to the idea of tongue, especially in 
cases where la langue jourche, i.e. * makes a 
slip '. Or the word may allude to the * rent' 

or * tear ' made by a boat-hook ; cp. the 
English ' That's torn it '. 

II y eut un silence entre eus, 
durant lequel il se commit une de 
ces fautes de tact que le langage 
parisien designe du terme assez in- 
explicable de gaffe (P. BOTTRGET, 
Gc&ur de Femme). 

Durant ma jeunesse, un romancier 
ecrivit cette malencontreuse phrase : 
" II portait un veston court et un 
pantalon de meme couleur ". Les 
journaux s'emparerent de la gaffe 
et vecurent dessus pendant huit 
jours ! (Gyp, Les Froussards). 

See tuyau 1 (Bataille). 
*2. Avaler sa gaffe, To die, kick the bucket. 
Lit. ' to swallow one's boat-hook '. Originates 
in nautical slang. 

gaffer, vb. intr. To blunder, to put one's 
foot in it, to drop a brick. 
From gaffe. 

J'ai voulu trop bien faire . . . et 
fai gaff '6 ! (GYP, Mamari). 
gaffeur, n.m. and adj. Blunderer. 

L, n.m. and adj. inv. ' Half -idiotic, soft- 
witted (especially from old age or a 
life of debauchery), a dotard, senile old 
man. Cp. gliteux 1. 
The word belongs properly to child's talk and 
denotes a child who lisps or drawls, and then 
a spoilt child (SAlNfiAJST, Langag& y>arisien t 
p. 350). 

Je me demande parfois si tout ce 
qu'ils racontent dans leurs journaux 
n'est pas un pen vrai ... si je ne 
demenage pas, si je ne perds pas la 
boule, si je ne suis pas comme ils 
disent, un vieux gaga (H. BERN- 
STEIN, La Griff e). 

gages, n.f. pi. Casser quelqu'un aux gages, 
To dismiss, discharge a person. 

Oh/ 1&, la, qu*on me casse aux 
gages, ga m'est bien egal, et bonne 
chance a mon remplacant ! (K. 
CLADEL, Les Va-nu-Pieds). 
gagner, vb. intr. 1 O'est foujours autant 
(or ga) de gagne ; see autant 3 and (ja 6. 
2. Gagner a tre connu t To improve upon 

Au fond, Jeremie n'est pas un 
mechant homme ; il gagne a $tre 
connu (A. THEXJBIET, La Chanoin- 

N'est ce pas qu'il est parfait ? II 
gagne du tout au tout a $tre connu. 
En voila un bon ami, sur, devoue", 
fidele (MAUPASSANT, Bel-Ami). 




gai, adj. I. JEtre (un peu) gai, To be 

slightly tipsy, elevated. 
2. Cen'estpasgaitgai. It isn't very lively. 
gaiete, n.f. De gaiete de cosur, Out of 
mere (sheer, pure) "wantonness. 

Et, de gaiete de cosur, tu as repris 
une pareille chaine ? (ATJGIBB ET 
SAN-DEAU, Le Gendre de M. Poirier) 
gain, n.m. 1. Avoir (or Obtenir] gain de 
cause, To carry the day. 
Primarily a legal term, ' to win one's case '. 
Non sans peine, feus gain de 
cause, apres une discussion serree 
(C. FARRIERE, Dix-jSept Histoires de 

2. Donner gain de, cause a quelqu'un, To 
decide in some one's favour, to side 
with a person. 

*galapiat, n.m. (a) Scamp, rascal; (6) 
Street boy, urchin. 

A provincialism (Dauphine"), meaning 'gor- 
mandizer ' and also ' scamp '. 

See zizanie (Courteline). 
galfoeux, adj. (fern. -euse). 1. Well-dressed, 

elegant, dashing. 

2. Fine, first rate, Al, nobby e.g.galbeux 
a reluquer, ripping to look at. 
The word origmates in artists' slang, the noun 
galbe denoting * contour ', * ontlme ". 

Ces dames trouvaient " galbeux " 
de hanter les ateliers montmartrois 
(L. FEAPIE, Les Obsedes). 
galere, n.f. 1. Que diable allait-il faire 
dans cette galere? What business had 
he there ? Whatever (What on earth) 
induced him to get into that fix ? 
This saying comes from Moliere's Les Four- 
beries de Scapin (Act II, Sc, II), in which the 
miser Ge"ronte, on being told that his son 
L6andre has been taken prisoner on a Turkish 
falley, and that five hundred crowns must be 
paid for his ransom, is faced with the alter- 
native either of losing his son or his beloved 
money. Before deciding to part with his gold 
he repeats several times during the scene, 
in accents of despair . Que diable allait-il 
faire dans cette galere ? The expression is now 
used proverbially of a person who has 
foolishly become involved in some difficulty 
or got into a scrape. 

It is interesting to note that Moliere imitated 
this and another scene in his play from Cyrano 
de Bergerac's Le Pedant Joue (cp. Rostand's 
allusion to this in his Cyrano de Bergerac, 
Act V, Sc. 6), and that when he was reproached 
with his borrowings, he is said to have replied, 
On reprend son bien oit on le trouve, or, accord- 
ing to another version, Je prends mon bien 
oil ye le trouve. 

See dur 1 (Cherbuliez). 
2. Vogue la galere ! Come what may ! 
Let her rip ! What's the odds ? 
Lit. ' Let the galley sail ! * The phrase is an 
old nautical song-refrain, formerly Vogue 

la gaUe! (found in Rabelais), galee being 
the primitive form of gaUre. 
galerie, n.f. 1. Oe riest pas pour la 
galerie (or pour la montre), He does not 
do that to show on 7 . 

2. Faire galerie, To be one of a number of 
lookers-on, to be one of the crowd. 

3. Parler pour la galerie, To address to a 
person words really meant for the ears 
of another, or for the public. 

4. Travailler pour la galerie, To do a piece 
of work which can only be profitable to 

galette, n.f. Cash, tin, rhino e.g. Filer 
avec la galette, To bolt with the dibs. 
Boulotter de la galette, To spend money. 
By allusion to the shape of a galette, a sort 
of round flat cake. 

C'est an poker qu'on vous a fait 
fondre votre galette ? (F. BE CBOIS- 
SBT, L'Jfipervier). 
galetteux, adj. Rich, well-off. 
From galette. 

Vous n'avez pas Fair tres " galet- 
teux ", mais si, a tout hasard, vous 
pouviez me preter cinquante francs, 
a m'irait joliment bien (A. CAPTTS, 

galipettes, n.f. pi. Faire des galipettes, To 
skylark, gambol, frolic. 
Lit. 'capers', 'somersaults*. A provincial- 
ism (Anjpu). 

Si j'autorisais les galipettes ( c sky- 
larking '), que deviendrait ma mai- 
son (here firm ') ? (P. ABMONT, 
ISlficole des Cocottes). 

galon, n.m. 1. Quand on prend du galon, 
on n'en saurait trop prendre, One can 
never have too much of a good thing ; 
As well be hanged for a sheep as a 
lamb ; One may as well do a thing 
properly while one's at it. 
In the seventeenth century the aristocracy 
used to wear galons, or knots of ribbons, as an 
adornment or a sign of distinction. The 
abuse of this fashion gave rise to the above 
saying, which is now used ironically of one 
who boasts of, or lays claim to, more merits 
than he really has. It is also used as a kind 
of recommendation to a person, with the 
force of : When one is able to do so, one 
should take all that there is to be taken. 
The phrase was originally a parody of a line 
in Quinault's lyric tragedy Roland (1685), in 
which youths and maidens dance round the 
Fountain of Love singing 
Qui goute de ces eaux ne peut plus se de*f endre 
De suivre d'amoureuses lois : 
Goutons-en mille et mille fois. 
Quand on prend de Tamour, on n'en saurait 
trop prendre. 

Le comte et la comtesse Ayguyon! 
. . . ca n'a pas d'&il I . . . Vous 


ajoutez deux I et une particule, 
vous changez les y en i simples, et 
vous vous appelez d'Aiguillon . . . 
vous achetez avec ga un titre de due 
. . . et vous devenez le due et la 
duchesse d'Aiguillon . . . a a de 
I'oeil, 9a, je pense ? Trop ! Bah ! 
. . . quand on prend du galon . . . 
(GYP, Les Amoureux}. 
*2. Arroser ses galons ; see arroser 1. 
*galonnard, n.m. Officer. 

Lit. one with galons, ' stripes *, on his sleeves. 
The word is generally used contemptuously. 
A variant is galonng. 

See goupiller (Barbusse). 
galopin, n.m. IJrchin, little rogue, young 

Originally a proper name derived from 
gcd&per, we find the word applied in certain 
chansons de geste to a swift and prudent 
messenger; later, in Eustache Deschamps, it 
is used of a kitchen-boy, and in Moliere's 
Critique de VEcole des Femmes of a servant. 
Since then it has become generalised to 
denote an ' errand-boy * or a ' street urchin ' 
(SAIN&AN, Sources indigenes, I, p. 297). 

Soudain, un galopin de cinq a 
six ans apparut (MAUPASSANT, 

*galure, n.f. or galnria, n.m. Hat, 'tile '. 
This word, generally used somewhat ironically 
either of a woman's hat or of a tall hat, is 
connected with the Anjou calouret, ( skull-cap ' 
or ' head-dress ' (in Poitou the word = 
'poor hat*) (SATN&AN, Langage pansien, p. 

galvauder. 1. (a} To upset, spoil, 
waste, squander, make a mess of 
e.g. galvauder un travail ; (6) To dis- 
honour, degrade, put to base use e.g. 
galiauder son nom, sa plume. 

(a) Sous pretexte d'entretenir des 
relations precieuses, il galvaudait son 
temps (L. DESCAVES, La Teigne). 

(b) Je vous assure, ehere amie, 
que je suis enchantee de ne pas avoir 
]a Legion d'honneur ... Qa me 
vexerait de porter une decoration 
aussi] galvaudee / (C. VATTTEL, Man 
Cure ckez les Pauvres). 

2. Se galvauder, To degrade oneself, to 
lead a disorderly life. Similar in force 
to vadrouiller 1 (a}. 

On se doit a soi-meme de ne plus 
se galvauder dans le monde des 
noceurs et des files (M. HENNEQTJIN, 
La tionnette d' Alar me). 
galvaudeux, n.m. Good-for-nothing per- 
son, scamp, one who leads a disorderly 
life, a knock-about. 

196 gant 

n.f. Mamasser une gamelle, To 
come a cropper (lit. andjft?.). 
Lit. ' to pick up a mess-tin '. 
gamin, n.m. Street-urchin, young vaga- 
bond, street arab ; torn-boy, romp, 
hoyden. Also used in the sense of 

* boy ' or ' girl '. 

Sain6an (Langage parisien, p. 59) points out 
that this word is not derived, as Littre" andthe 
I).G. suggest, from the German Gemeiner, 
' common soldier ', * private *, but is of purely 
provincial origin. Jt comes from the Centre 
of France and in particular from Berry, and 
is a derivative of the verb gamer., l to steal % 
' filch '. In the Centre of France especially 
gamin is the equivalent of gargon and generally 
has a favourable meaning, and also amongst 
the lower classes of Paris. The word owes 
its fame to Victor Hugo, who boasted of 
having introduced it into literature. See 

gaminer, vb, intr. To play the gamin. 

gaminerie, n.f. Prank, trick, roguish or 
mischievous trick or speech, impertin- 
ence, pertness. 

See chanterelle (Willy). 

gannne, n.f. Chanter sa gamine a guel- 
qriun, To give a person a piece of one's 
mind, to tell a person a few home- 
truths, to lecture a person severely. 
Lit. ' to sing a person his scale '. 

ganaehe, n.f. Old fool, old fogey, dodder- 
ing old sheep's-head. 
This word, from the Italian ganascia, denotes 
ht.fhe ' lower jaw of a horse '. In theatrical 
slang it is used of the r61e of a silly, credulous 
old man. 

gandin. 1. n.m. Showily dressed man, 
dandy, nut, swell. 

2. adj. Overdressed, swanky, chic. 

The usual explanation to the effect that 
gandin means properly an habitu6 of the 
Boulevard de Gand, theold name of the present 
Boulevard des Italiens in Paris, is rejected 
by Saine"an (Sources indigenes, I, p. 66). He 
derives the word from the provincial (Savoy) 
feminine form gandine, ' gadabout * (from 
ganda, ' sow '). The term is first met with 
as the name of a character in Theodore 
Bamere's Parisiens de la Decadence (1854). 

gant, n.m. 1. Jeter le gant, To throw 
down the glove (gauntlet), to chal- 
lenge. Helever le gant, To take up the 

2. Prendre (or Mettre) des gants e.g. Je 
suis oblige de mettre des gants pour lui 
parler, I have to be careful how I 
speak to him. 

Cp. dire une chose sans mitaines (lit. ' with- 
out mittens'), 'to say something outright', 

* without mincing matters '. By allusion to 
the old custom of wearing gloves on all 
ceremonious occasions ; thus mettre des gants 
came to mean : to observe all formalities, to 
use all kinds of considerations in order not to 
offend a * touchy ' person. See mitaine. 


197 gaspard 

Et puis je savais comlbien il etait 
maladroit en ces artifices et que, 
malgre" lui, il allait tout a rheure 
empoigner son sujet sans mettre des 
gants (R. BOYLESVE, Souvenirs du 
Jar din detruit). 

3. Se donner les gants de quelque chose, To 
take the credit (merit) of a thing for 
oneself e.g. II s'en donne les gants, 
He takes the credit of it. 
Just as in French the word yourboire is used 
to denote a * tip ' given to one who renders 
a service and who is thus, as it were, invited 
to drink to your health, so in Spain one gives 
something para guantes, i.e. for the gloves ; 
and the phrase also denotes the present given 
to the messenger who brings a piece of good 
news. Thus when one says Vous n'en aurez 
pas les gants to a person who announces 
something already known or proposes an 
expedient already suggested by another, one 
implies that he has been already forestalled, 
and the person who se donne les gants d'une 
chose is like one who gives himself an imagin- 
ary gift, so that fig. the phrase has come to 
mean ' to take the credit or glory of a thing 
for oneself. 

Tout en decriant ce livre dont on 
est jaloux et qu'on. voudrait ane- 
antir, on se donne les gants de la plus 
genereuse impartialite (T. GAUTIEB, 
Mademoiselle de Maupin). 

Mais voil& ! . . . il n' etait ni 
Allemand, ni Turc ! . . . II ne 
pouvait ni se donner les gants d?une 
naturalisation, ni se reclamer d'une 
ambassade (GYP, Le Baron Sinai}. 
ganter, vb. tr. I. Ganter du cinq (six, 
etc.), To take fives (sixes, etc.) in 

2. Gela me gante, That suits me, That's 
just what I want. 
Lit. ' that fits me like a glove '. 
garee, n.f. 1. Hussy, trollop. 

Feminine of gars ; a very offensive term. 

See f outre 1 (c) (Dorgeles). 
2. Garce de + feminine noun, Bad, rotten, 
vile e.g. Quelle garce de vie (tfexist- 
ence] I What a rotten life ! Gette 
garce de fievre, That beastly fever. 
garcon, n.m. Un vieux garcon, An old 


garconniere, n.f. Bachelor's apartments. 
Tu comprends, ce qu'il me faud- 
rait, c'est un coin tranquille. . . . 
Un rien, une garconniere 9 un pied-a- 
terre (COLETTE, La Fin de Gheri). 
garconnisme, n.m. Only used in the 
familiar expression ban garconnisme, 
the character or qualities of a good- 
natured fellow. 

garde, n.f. Descendre la garde, To die, 
peg out, kick the bucket. 
Lit. ' to come off guard ' ; the opposite of 
monter la garde, ' to mount guard *. Monter 
la garde is also used familiarly in the sense of 
' to stand (wait) a long time '. 
gare, inter j. Sans crier gare, Without the 
slightest warning, without word or 

Gare ! means lit . ' Look out ! ' * Take care ! * 

Et Ton vous voit arriver sans crier 

gare, tout pimpant, tout guilleret 

. . . frais corn, me une rose (C. DER- 

ENNES, La G-uenille}. 

II t'a done Idche comme ca, sans 
crier gare ? (C. H. HIRSCH, " Petit 
Louis," Boxeur). 

See voila (Bourget). 
*gargamelle, n.f. Throat. 

This popular term is found as early as the 
fifteenth century, and was used by Habelais 
in the sixteenth. 
*gargariser, se. To drink, wet one's whistle. 

Lit. * to gargle *. 
gargote, n.f. 1. Low, cheap eating-house 

or restaurant, cook-shop. 
2. Any place where the food is bad or dirty. 
Prom the Old French gargote, ' throat *. 

II dina rapidement pour trente 
sous dans une mauvaise gargote du 
quartier (L. FBAPIE, Les Obsedes). 

See arlequin (Zola), brune (France) 
s'empiffrer (Zola), 
gargotier, n.m. Keeper of a gargote 1. 

See ceil 1 (Malot). 
garnement, n.m. Scamp, scapegrace. 

This word is commonest in conjunction with 
the adjectives mauvais or m&hant e.g. 
un mauvais (meehant) garnement, ' a bad lot ' ; 
but un garnement can also be used elliptically ; 
usually followed by a de phrase e.g. son 
garnement de jgfe (<Z0 mari). 

Gaston etait un garnement de 
bonne famille ojui, ayant mang6 sa 
fortune, cherchait un moyen quel- 
conque pour se procurer de Targent 
(MAUPASSANT, Berfhe). 
*garno, n.m. Furnished apartment, lodg- 
ing-house, doss. Vivre (Loger) en 
garno, To live in furnished lodgings. 
A popular deformation of garni, ' furnished 
apartment *. 

gars, n.m. 1. Man, fellow, boy, lad. 
2. Vigorous, resolute fellow. 

This word, also written gas and pronounced 
in familiar speech as ga, is used familiarly 
for garcon, of which it is the old nominative 
garse, n.f. garce. 
*gaspard, n.m. *1. Bat or cat. 

This use of the proper name Gaspard belojogs 
originally to the slang of rag-pickers. 




*2. Cimning fellow. 

By allusion to the word's meaning of * cat *. 

Ces deux gaspards et la Maronite, 
c'est trois ames de perdues pour le 
bon Dieu ( J. RIOHEPIN, Conies sans 

, n.m. Un papa gateau, Une maman 
gateau, are names given to parents or 
grandparents wlio spoil their children. 
By allusion to the fact that such parents are 
in the habit of * spoiling ' (gdter) their children 
by giving them sweets and cakes (gdteaux) 
a play upon the two words gdter and gdteau, 
gateries, n.f. Delicacies, dainties, little 

Je leur enverrai des gateries de 
Paris (MAUPASSANT, Bel-Ami). 
g&teux, n. m. and adj. Silly, feeble-minded 
(especiaEy from old age), in one's 
second childhood. Cp. gaga. 
Saine"an (Sources indigenes, I, p. 304} says 
that the word is of dialectal origin and comes 
from (se) gater, which in Poitou means *to 
dirty (oneself) ', and that the circumflex is 
due to the influence of gdter. 
gatisme, n.m. State of one who is gSteux. 
*gau or go, n.m. Louse. 

Gau(t) is an old jargon term which has 
survived in popular speech. Its initial force 
is * yellow like gaude ' (a kind of mignonette 
which gives a yellow dye). (SAIN^AK, Les 
Sources de I' Argot ancien, II, p. 359). 
gauche, n.f. Jusqii'a la gauche, Very 
much, to the death, to a finish, to the 
bitter end, up to the hilt e.g. Ton 
copain jusqu'a la gauche, Yours to a 
cinder. Aller jusqu'a la gauche, Togo 
the whole hog. 

A military expression : cp. *' C'6tait son mot, 
ce jitsqu'd la gauche, tine expression de caserne 
qui ne signifie pas grand'chose, mais inapli- 
quait evidemment en lui une ide"e confuse 
d'eloignement, personnifiait Intercuts en son 
imagination vague de vieil ivrogne. . . . Un 
jour garde de police, un jour garde d'e"curie, 
et comme ?a fusqu'd la gauche " (Gr. COURTE- 
LIJTE, Les GaieUs de I'Escadron). The phrase 
arises from the fact that groupings (section, 
platoon, company, etc.) generally line up in 
two ranks, numbering from right to left. 
Each man takes his position from the man on 
his right. If one has moved forwards or back- 
wards, all those on his left must do likewise, 
and this movement is carried out ju&gu'd, la 
gauche, i.e. to the last man. 

C'est un parti pris, alors, d'e"parg- 
ner jiisqu'a la gauche, cette crapule 
qui se Jiche de nous ? (C. FABBEBE, 
Dix-sept Histoires de Marine). 
gaudriola, n.f. Broad jest. Dire des 
gaudrioles, To make jests of a slightly 
licentious character. 

*gaufre, n.f. Se merer la gaufre, To 
powder one's face. 
Lit. ' To sprinkle one's waffle with sugar '. 

*gaviau or gaviot, n.m. Throat. 

A provincialism (Normandy). 
See badigoinees (Zola). 

gavroelie, n.m. Paris street arab or 

This word, which has become the generic 
name for the Parisian gamin, owes its origin 
to the character of Gavroche in Victor Hugo's 
Les MisirabUs. The characteristics of the 
type are impudence, wit, blague, courage and 

gavroeherie, n.f. Act or speech worthy of 
a gavroehe. 

gaz, n.m. *1. jUteindre son gaz, To die, to 
snuff it. 

2. Mettre les gaz, (motoring slang) To 
speed, e to step on the gas '. 

gazer, vb. intr. 1. To work well, to be all 
right e.g. fa gaze-t-il or Qa> gaze? 
How are you ? How's things ? 
This use of the verb originated in War-time 
in reference to aeroplane engines, which 
are said to gazer or ne pas gazer, according to 
the regularity of their firing. 

Tiens, fit alors d'une table voisine 
Tadolescent du casino. Qa gaze ? 
En douce, repondit Bob (P. CABOO, 
>ob et Bobette s'amusent). 

2. f a va gazer / There's going to be some 
trouble (some danger, some bother) ! 
Look out for squalls ! Cp. fcarder. 

3. (Motoring slang) To speed, c step on the 

Si nous * e gazons " comme 9a, 
nous serons a Sousse avant six 
heures du soir (M. HABBY, La divin e 

4. II a ete gaze, He was gassed (in the 


gazette, n.f. Lire la gazette, To watch 
others eating without having anything 
to eat oneself. 
Lit. * to read the gazette (newspaper) *. 

*gazon, n.m. N* avoir plus de gazon sur la 
platebande (or la fontaine or le pre), To 
be bald, to have a bladder of lard. Cp. 

Lit. * to have no more grass on the flower-bed 
(fountain, meadow) '. 

*gazouiller, vb. intr. To stink. 

JSTyrop (Gram, hist., TV, p. 328), hinting at 
the usual meaning ' to warble % * to twitter % 
writes: " Gazouitter a pris le sens de 'puer*. 
. . . Cette signification, si peu poStique 
et si eloigne"e du ramage des oiseaux, est 
due a rinfluence du mot gaz" Saine"an 
(Langage parisien, p. 332), however, points 
out that the word gaz dates from the seven- 
teenth century only, whereas gazouiller in the 
sense of * to make dirty ' is found already in 
BrantCme (sixteenth century). He connects 
the verb in this sense and its variant #os- 
souiUer (*to make dirty", 'to splash about 




in puddles ') with the Hormand gasse, ' mud ', 
and gaze, * slime ', ' slough '. 

Oh! la, la, Qa gazouille, dit 

Clemence, en se bouchant le nez 

(ZoLA, UAssommoir). 

geignard., n.m. Grouser, croaker. 

From geindre, ' to moan '. 
gendarme, n.m. 1. Woman of masculine 
strength, virago, termagant. 

Elle est jolie ? Un gendarme/ 
Ah ! si an moins elle etait jolie ! 
(GYP, Le Baron Sinai). 

2. Bloater, red-herring, 4 Billingsgate 
pheasant '. 

3. Dormir en gendarme, To pretend to 

sleep, to sleep with one eye open. 
Hence : un sommeil de gendarme, 
Light sleep, nigger's sleep. 

g8ne, n.f. 1. Etre sans gene, To be free 
and easy, off-hand(ed), to make one- 
self (too much) at home. 

2. Mre dans la gene, To be hard-up, in 
straitened circumstances. 

gne, adj. 1. Ne pas etre gene Etre 
sans gne e.g. Vous rfetes pas gene, 
vous! You make yourself at home, 
you do 1 Well, you are a cool cus- 
tomer ! 

2. Etre gene = Etre dans la gne e.g. Je 
suis un peu geni en ce moment, I am 
rather short of cash (rather hard up) 
just now. 

Ah ! les gens qui vous preterit cent 
louis quand vous etes gene devien- 
nent rares, allez ! (A. CAPTJS, Mon- 
sieur veut rire). 

See embt6 (Duvernois). 

gner 5 se. Ne pas se gener. To make one- 
self quite at home e.g. Ne vous genez 
pas / (often ironical) Don't put your- 
self out ! Don't stand upon ceremony I 
Make yourself quite at home ! Don't 
mind me ! II ne se gene gulre ! Well, 
he is a cool customer ! 

genou, n.m. 1. Balk skull or pate. See 
Appendix sub genou. 

2. Faire du genou a, quelqu'un, To push 
some one (especially a woman) slightly 
with one's knee under the table. 

genre, n.m. 1. Avoir du genre, To have 
elegance, distinction 

2. Grand-genre, n.m. and adj. High life, 
pink of fashion, fashionable, grand 
e.g. C'est tout a fait grand-genre, It is 
quite the thing. 

3. Se donner (or Faire) du genre, To 
Assume fashionable ways or manners in 

speech or dress, to look affected, to 
have ' high-falutin ' airs. 
genreux, n.m. and adj. Elegant, fashion- 
able, ' dasher ', one who gives himself 
airs (see genre 3). Can also be used 
adjectivally with reference to things. 
George Dandin, proper name. Vous I'avez 
voulu, George Dandin ! or, elliptically, 
Vous I'avez voulu / It serves you right ! 
It is your own fault ! You would have 
it ! You have brought it on yourself ! 
In Moliere's play, George Dandin, we are 
shown the folly of a man who marries a 
woman much above him in the social scale. 
Every time the poor husband has to swallow 
an affront he says to himself: Vous I'avez 
voulu, George Dandin,vou$ I'avez voulu! This 
saying has become proverbial, implying 
that a person has only himself to blame for 
the unpleasant consequences of an action 
which he insisted on committing in spite of 
all advice and warning. The modern form of 
the saying is Tu I'as voulu, George Dandin ! 
since tu is now used in speaking to oneself. 
*gerber, vb. tr. To judge, condemn. 

An old jargon term ; a metaphor drawn from 
agricultural work (ht. ' to bind in sheaves '). 
*geree, n.f. Prostitute. 

Prom gercer, ' to crack or chap ' (of the skin), 
hence 'to lose the freshness of one's com- 
plexion*. The term is current in barracks 
(SAlNfiAN", Langage parisien, p. 410). 
: gi or gy, affirmative particle. Yes. 

An old cant term which has penetrated into 
popular speech ; an abbreviation of the 
jargon word girolle, with the same force. 
gibier, n.m. 1. Sale gibier, Low people, 

Lit. ' dirty game * (i.e. hares, wild fowl, etc.). 
2. C*est un (vrai) gibier de potence, He is a 
(regular) gallows-bird. 
Lit. " game for the gallows *. 
gibus, n.m. Opera-hat. Also used adjec- 
tivally e.g. un chapeau gibus. 
From the name of the inventor. 
gicler, vb. intr. To squirt, spurt, splash. 
A provincialism (Champagne). 

Paris, sous la pluie, qui n'arretait 
de tomber qu'a de rares intervalles, 
barbotait dans tine boue liquide que 
les roues des voitures faisaient gicler 
jusque sur les fa9ades comme des 
fusees d'eau (F. CABOO, UHomme 

*gigolette, n.f. *1. Girl of the lower classes 
who leads a more than fast life and 
frequents low dancing-halls. 
*2. Prostitute. 

Properly a diminutive of ffigue, in the sense 
of ' leg % and so came to mean * tall, thin girl 
or woman', and later assumed the above 
disparaging meanings. 

*gigolo,w.m. (a) The amant de ecmir of a 




(6) An amant de eceur generally, fancy 


gigoter, vb. intr. I. To kick, to agitate the 

See botte 2 (Romains). 
2. To dance, to shake a leg. 

3From gigot in the sense of ' leg ' (lit. ' leg of 
gigue, n.f. 1. Leg, 'pin' e.g. II a de 

longues gigues, He has long shanks. 
2. Une grande gigue, Tall, thin, active girl 

*giiet, n.m. S y en fourrer dans le gilet, To 

drink heavily, to swill. 
*gingin, n.m. Avoir du gingin, To be 
clever, ingenious. 
Deformation of enpin, in its old meaning of 
' skill' (SADrtiAJsr, Langage parisien, p. 352). 
*ginginer, vb. intr. To ogle. 
*ginguet, adj. *1. Sourish (of wine) e.g. 
Du (vin) ginguet. 
Lit. * which makes the one who drinks it 
ginguer % i.e. * dance '. 

*2. Of little value e.g. une robe ginguette. 

On VOTIS appelle " la Ginguette". 

Ah bah ! . . . C'est un nom qui me 

va tres bien ! . . . affirme la jeune 

f emme en riant. Vous savez ce que 

$a vent dire ? Pardi I . . . 9a veut 

dire -one chose sans importance . 

sans valeur (GYP, La Ginguette). 

giries, n.f. $1. 1. Affected or groundless 


2. Pretence, sham, fuss. Cp. ehlehis. 
The word originates in Normandy, where 
girie has still preserved, in addition to the 
general meaning of 'grimace', that of 
* trick ', * practical joke *, such as would be 
played by Gire, the Norman form of Gitte, 
one of the types of the buffoon in comedy. 
Hence girie is primitively a trick played by 
Gitte, who is sometimes silly and cowardly 
and at other times cute, bantering and 
heedless. The word is a relic of the old 
provincial farce S(SAINAN, Langage parisien, 
pp. 38-9). 

Apres bien des giries et des 
ils se sont decides a monter 

en voiture (A. THEURIET, La Cha- 

girofl6e, n.f. Une giroflee (a cinq feuilles 
or a cinq branches), A slap in the face. 
Lit. *a wallflower (with five leaves or five 
branches) *. Cp. the English * bunch of fives ', 
for the hand. 

S'etant avisee de 1'appeler scelerat, 
elle s'etait attire une giroflee telle- 
ment fleurie que sa joue en avait 
garde 1'empreinte pendant tout un 
jour (J. K. HTTYSMANS, Les Sozurs 
(H saute sur elle, saisit 1'herbier 

qu'elle ne lache pas. II lui tord les 
poignets.) Charlotte : Lache-moi ! 
Tu me fais mal. (Elle le gifle.) 
Voila une giroflee pour ta collection ! 
(BRIETJX, Les Hannetons). 
glrofler, vb. tr. To slap one in the face. 

formed from giroflee. 

*girond, adj. Pretty, well-shaped and 
plump, bonny, * hugsome '. 
This adjective, rare in the masculine, is an 
old jargon term which has passed into popular 
speech ; lit. as slim and delicate as a * swallow *, 
Provencal girondo (SAlNlSAN, Les Sources 
de V Argot ancien, II, pp. 234, 361). 

Mes compliments, tres cher, vos 
filles sont tout a fait girondes (A. 
DAUDET, Rose et Ninette). 

T'es girond . . . t'es trop bath, 
mon gosse ! (0. H. HIKSOH, Le Tigre 
et Coquelicot). 

See degoter 2 (Hirsch). 
^glasse, n.m. Drink. Payer un glasse. To 
stand a drink. 

This word, also found in the form glace 
or glacis, is an old jatyoti term denoting a 
* drinking- glass ', then the * drink ' in it. 

!Faut qu'on se mette un glasse dans 
la lampe (' stomach *) (J. H. KOSKY, 
Dans les Hues). 

See lieher (Champsaur). 
*glaviau or glaviot, n.m. Expectoration, gob. 
From the provincial (Anjou) word claviot, 
with the same meaning. 

*gloire, n.f. Pr&t a partir (or Eire parti) 
pour la gloire t To be drunk, half-seas 

gloria, n.m. Cup of coffee with an admix- 
ture of brandy or rum. 
By allusion to the fact that just as the last 
verse of all psalms in the Eoman Catholic 
service begins with the word Gloria, so is this 
drink taken at the end of a meal. 

Un trait de son caractere etait de 
payer genereusernent quinze francs 
par mois pour le " gloria " qu'il 
prenait au dessert (BALZAC, Le Pre 

See rulbis (Balzac). 
*gluant. *1. adj. Importunate. 

Lit. 'sticky* (from glu, n.f., 'birdlime'). 
*2. n.m. Baby. 

Especially of a baby at the breast. 
*gnaf or gniaf, n.m. Cobbler. 

Sain6an (Langctge parisien, p. 197) says the 
word is of provincial origin, gniaj being an 
abbreviated form of gnafre, lit. " gormand- 
izer *; cp. the Provencal gnafld, to * guzzle % 
and the Picard gnajrte, * great quantity of 
food, soup, stew% etc. ; and he adds that all 
these words are imitative expressions. The 
D.G. remarks that the term seems to repre- 
sent the sound made by the cobbler's thread 
as it is drawn through the leather. 




gnangnan or gnan-gnan, n.m. and adj. 
invar. A person who is slow and 
flabby in Ms movements and actions : 
milksop, namby-pamby, soppy 
e.g. un (homme) gnan-gnan, une 
(femme) gnan-gnan. 

An imitative term, connected with faignant. 
The form gnian-gnian is also found. 

Auguste pouvait etre classe parmi 
ces gens que le peuple appelle des 
" gnangnan " (J. K. HTTYSMANS, Les 
Sosurs Vatard). 
*gniole. *1. n,f. Brandy. 

Military War-time slang, also found in the 
forms gniaule, gnole, niaule, niole. Saine'an 
(L* Argot des Tranches, p. 147) says that if 
the initial form is gniole, one might see in it 
the same -word as gniole (abbreviation of 
torniole) in the sense of a 'blow' (which 
makes one dizzy) ; brandy would then be 
looked upon as the drink which knocks one 

Notre escouade est une de celles 
qui sont le moins viciees par le via et 
la gniole (H. BARBTTSSE, Le Feu). 
*2. adj. Silly, dull-witted e.g. II tfest 
pas gniole, He's no fool. Es-tu assez 
gniole ! What a flat you are ! 
This word, also found in the forms gniolle, 
gnole , gnolle, comes from the old jargon, term 
niolle or niole, with the same meaning. 

Ceux qui tiennent pour lui vous 

disent d'elle, ni plus ni moins : 

Oil ! la, la ! Quelle gniolle ! Non, 

mais ce qu'il vous la met dans ses 

bottes ! (J. HICEEPIN, La Miseloque). 

gnognotte or gnognote, n.f. Thing of little 

worth, worthless thing, rubbish, no 

great shakes e.g. Qa n'est pas de la 

gnognotte I It's something like ! It's no 

small beer ! 

This term is the result of ' initial reduplica- 
tion * (see note to fifille), the adjective gno- 
gnot, * silly ', being derived from fignot, 'but- 
tocks (SAIN^AIST, Langage parisien, p. 352). 
s est de la gnognotte en compar- 
aison du mal qu'elle me causait (L. 
CLAD EL, Les Va-nu-Pieds). 
*gnon, n.m. Blow, biff, clout e.g. Coller 
un gnon sur la gueule a quelqifun, To 
land a person one on the mug. 
An abbreviation of oignon (' onion *) in its 
familiar meaning of ' blow *, * slap *. 

Je cours done aux femmes pour 
les separer. Et j'en recois des 
gnons, des coups d'ongles et des 
coups de dents (MATJPASSAHT, Le 

go, tout de, adv. Off-hand, straight off 
or straight out, without obstacle, 
unceremoniously, bluntly e.g. L' Af- 

faire a marcke tout de go, Everything 
went off without a hitch. 
The old form of the expression was tout de 
gob, ' at one gulp ' (from gober, ' to gulp *)* 
Le fait est que du jour ou elle 
s'est appelee Madame Jacques Dar- 
laud, elle a' est trouvee tout de, go 
un autre etre (A. LIOETE:NBEB,GEK,, 
Petite Madame). 

Tu me dis tout de go : " Ceci egale 
cela ! " Pourquoi veux-tu que je te 
croie ? (M. PREVOST, VArt d'appren- 

*gol)elot(t)er, vb. intr. *1. To tipple. 
*2. To feast, make merry. 

From gobelot, provincial form of gobelet, 
' goblet *. 

See puee 1 (Zola). 

gobe-mouclies, n.m. Simpleton, credu- 
lous person, gull, flat, ninny. 
Lit. ' fly-catcher *. A more familiar synonym 
is ffobe-bibet. 

gober. 1. vb. tr. (a) To accept a state- 
ment with ready credulity, to swallow 
e.g. Le gogo gobe tout, A credulous 
person swallows everything he is told. 
Je ne gobe pas ga / I can't swallow 
that 1 

Lit. ' to gulp down '. The form la gober (la, 
standing for some noun like histoire, chose) 
is also used. Cp. the old expressions gober 
I'appdt or le morceau or I'hamecon, * to allow 
oneself to be caught *, ' to be duped '. 
^(b) To catch unawares, to nab, to bag 
e.g. gober un cambrioleur a sa sortie, to 
nab a burglar as he is leaving, 
(c) To like, love, be potty on (generally of 
persons) e.g. Je ne le gobe pas t I*m 
not keen on him. Cette atrice est tres 
gobee du public, That actress is very 
popular with the public. 

Eh bien ! mon ami, la jeune fille te 
gobe. . . . Pendant que tu parlais, 
elle te devorait des yeux (F. DE 
CTJE.EL, Le JKepas du Lion). 
2. Se gober, To have a good (high) opinion 
of oneself, to fancy oneself, to suffer 
from swelled head. 

Lit, ' to be one's own dupe ' ; cp. note to l(a). 

Unejeunefille jolie . . . tresjolie 

. . . et qui ne se gobe pas, qui ne 

juge pas que tout lui est du . . . 

qui n'est ni sotte, ni menteuse, ni 

egoiste ! (Gyp, La Chasse de Blanche), 

goberger, se. To enjoy oneself, to stuff 

and swill. 

From goberges, * bed-crossbars * ; hence, * to 
take one's ease ', * to stretch oneself out lazily 
in bed ' (SAEN^AN, Sources indigenes, II, p. 

Be grands faineants bons a rien, 



qui se gob&rgent a son compte et se 

moquent de lui le dos tourne (G-. 

COUBTELINE, Henriette). 

gofoeur, n.m. and adj. Gullible, credulous 

person, flat, gull, * gulpy '. 

Elliptical for gobeur de mouches ; see gobe- 

*goTbichonner vb. intr. To feast, regale 

oneself, gormandise, carouse. 

Diminutive of gober, * to gulp '. 

*godaille, n.f. The action of godailler. 

See flan I (Huysmans). 
*godattler, vb. intr. To live wantonly, to 
riot, to tipple. 
A frequentative form of tlie old verb goder, 
the primitive meaning of which is 'to gorge 
oneself with food '. 

Les pretres godaillaient tous sans 

qu'on les vit, et cherchaient a ra- 

mener le temps de la dime (FLA 

BEET, Madame Bovary). 

*godasse, n.f. Boot, i clod-crusher *. 

See godillot. 

II jeta ses godasses qu'il remplaga 
par des espadrilles (B. BENJAMIN, 
Sous le Oiel de France). 

See flotte 1 (Dorgeles). 
godlehe, n.m. and /. and adj. Booby, 
simpleton ; simple-minded, soft, booby- 
ish e.g. Une grande godiche, A big 

A provincialism, adopted in the eighteenth 
century, connected with the Middle French 
ffaudichon, both being pet names derived 
from Claude (SADd&AN, Sources indigenes, II, 
p. 343). 

Je ne suis pas godiche autant q[ue 
fen ai Fair ( J. RICHEPIN, Conies sans 
godillot, n.m. Boot. 

Properly a military orderly shoe ; the word, 
which has become generalised in the sense 
of ' big boot ', comes from the name of a boot 
manufacturer who contracted for the army 
in 1870. 

gogo. 1. n.m. and adj. Credulous per- 
son, flat, mug. 

The D.G. thinks that the word may be con- 
nected with gober : Sampan (Langage parisien, 
p. 350) says that it is merely a variant of gaga. 
It is more particularly applied to a simple- 
minded person who invests his money in 
swindling concerns. 

Tant il y a que notre ami a tres 
certainement rafle aux gogos une 
somme enorme (P. BOTJRGET, Cosmo- 

Vous avez extorque au public gogo 
de trois a quatre mille francs (H. 
BATAILLE, L? Enfant de V Amour). 
2. A gogo, adv.^ In plenty, no end, ad lib. 
e.g. Avoir tout a gogo t To have as 


much as one can wish of everything, to 
have plenty and to spare. 
From gogo, child's word for * throat *. In 
Gascony d coco is used with the meaning of 
' in abundance ', * in profusion * (SAIN^AN, 
Sources indigenes, I, p. 437). 

Un jour, une averse de grelons 
demolissait les vitres et les toits ; 
on en avait a gogo, du tonnerre ; et 
des eclairs ! (L. CLADEL, Les Va-nu- 

See eoulage (Mirbeau). 
*gogues or goguenots or gogueneaux, n.m. 
pi. Privy, bog e.g. Alter aux gogues, 
To e do a dike *. 

The word gogwnot in this sense belongs to 
military slang. Its primitive meaning is 
' cider pot * (SAlNfiAN, Langage pansien, p. 

Voulez-vous Men m'aller nettoyer- 
les goguenots 9 tout de suite (G-. 
COURTELTN-E, Le Train de 8 h. 47). 
goguette, n.f. Etre en goguette(s), To be 
merrily inclined, elevated (as a result 
of drinking), to be on the spree, to be 
out with a girl. 

Goffue is an old dialectal word denoting * old 
cow fattened for killing ' ; later it was used 
as a culinary term designating a kind of 
1 stuffing ', and so came to be applied meta- 
phorically to a * copious meal' (gogaitte], 
whence the figurative meaning of gogue, 
goguette, ' jollity ', ' joy ', ' good humour * 
(SAltffiAisr, Sources indigenes, I, p. 77). 

Chez Aristophane, Bacchus est en 
goguette : poltron, paillard, glou- 
ton, nigaud, comme un buveur de 
Rubens, il est pourtant dieu (TAIKE, 
Voyage en Italie). 

gomme, n.f. The world of gommeux 
e.g. frequenter la haute gomme, to mix 
with the pink of society, ffaire de la 
gomme or Etre de la gomme, To be a 
dandy, a masher. 

See disque (Daudet). 
gommeux, n.m. Dandy, fop, l knut '. 
The D.I-?, explains the word as denoting a 
young man exhausted by excess, and reduced 
to taking * gum/ Littr6 mentions the con- 
jecture that the word may refer to the 
'starched * or * stuck-up * appearance of such 

^gonce or goneier, n.m. = gonze. 

gond, n.m. Hors des gonds, Angry e.g. 
Sortir (or Etre) hors des (or de ses) 
gonds 9 To be in a rage, out of temper, 
to lose control of oneself e.g. Oela me 
fait sortir des gonds, That exasperates 
Lit. 'to be unhinged*. 

31 est des moments ou il suffit 
du bourdorinement importun 


mouche pour faire sortir des gpnds 
Fliomme le plus doux de 1'univers 
(V. CHERBTJXIEZ, Le Comte Kostia). 
gondolant, adj. Very comical, killing. 

Quelque chose de gondolant ? 
" Les Moralites legendaires " de 
Laforgue (L. ITRAPIB, Les Obsedes). 
gondoler, se. To amuse oneself very much, 
to laugh heartily, to have a good laugh. 
Lit. * to become warped '. 

Cette Berthe, quel type ! Mme 
Ferron se gondolerait a I 5 entendre 
(G. R&VAL, JSevriennes). 
*gonze, n.m. Fellow, bloke, cove. Une 
gonzesse, Woman, girl, tart, totty. 
Oonze (also found in the forms gonse, gonce, 
goncier) is an old 'jargon term meaning ' man % 
* individual ', * thief ' (who pretends to be 
simple), with a feminine form gonzesse., " wife 
of a thief % ' woman ' in general. The words 
are especially common in the language of 
pimps and prostitutes (SAIN^AN, Les Sources 

de I' Argot ancien, pp. 235, 362). 

See bath (Harry). 

gorge, n.f. 1. A pleine gorge or A gorge 
deployee, Loudly, heartily, at the top 
of one's lungs e.g. Crier a pleine 
gorge, To cry out as loud as one can. 
Hire a gorge deployee, To roar with 

Alors, souleves d'un brusque elan, 
ils entonnerent a pleine gorge, joy- 
eux, la Marseillaise (P. ET V. MAR- 
GTJERITTE, Fontenoy). 

Je erois aussi que les bois etaient 
pleins de rossignols qui chantaient a 
gorge deployee des airs nbuveaux (V. 
CHERBTTLIEZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

2. Faire (des) gorges chaudes de . . ., To 
chuckle over, to make fun of, to laugh 
(jeer) at (openly). 

Gorge was the name of the food given to the 
falcon, and gorge chaudz of the flesh still 
warm of the animals that had just been killed 
in the chase. 

Pouvons-nous supporter qu'il soit 
la fable de la ville et que Ton fasse 
des gorges chaudes sur son compte ? 
(E. PABRE, V Argent). 

Leur poetique histoire d'amour 
courait probablement la ville et les 
bourgeois de Juvigny en faisaient 
gorges chaudes ! (A. THETJBIET, Bois- 

3. Faire rendre gorge a quelqu'un, To make 

some one pay back money unjustly 
obtained, to make one disgorge (his 
ill-gotten gains). 

Mendre gorge (see note to 2) was said of a falcon 
which brought up the food it swallowed. 

203 gouailler 

Bah ! qu'importe, si je tiens le 
joint que je cherchais. D'autant 
que je luiferai rendre gorge, au Beige 
(J. RICHEPIN, Flamboche). 

gorge, n.f. JBoire a petites gorgees, To 

gosier, n.m. A plein gosier = A pleine 
gorge. See gorge 1. 

gossc. 1. n.m. and /. (a) Child, kid, 

See bieher (Bataille), ehial(l)er 

(b) Term of endearment to man or woman 
M on gosse, ma gosse, darling, ducky, 

2. Adj. Young, childish, immature. 

Gosse is another form of gonze and is first 
met with in the argot glossaries of the first 
half of the nineteenth centiiry. The word 
quickly spread from the criminal classes into 
popular speech via the workmg classes, and 
from Paris was carried into the provinces. 
It is not given by Littre" or the !>.&., but 
is very common and constitutes the last 
representative of the various synonyms for 
enfant which popular speech has borrowed 
at different times from jargon e.g. mioche, 
mome, polisson, the last term, corresponding 
exactly in its primitive meaning to gosse, i.e. 
' thief * (see note to gonze} (SAJDsr^Aisr, Lcmgage 
parisien, p. 60). 

gosselin,w.m.. (fern, gosseline.) Little boy 


Diminutive of gosse. 
gotha, n.m. 1. German aeroplane used 

during the War in bombardments. 
2. Le Gotha, elliptical for V Almanack de 
Qoilia, the genealogical and diplomatic 
annual of European aristocracy. 
This famous work has been published at 
Gotha, in French and in German, since 1763, 
and contains, in addition to useful adminis- 
trative and statistical information about all 
the countries in the world, the genealogies of 
royalty and of the nobility. 

Oui ! le gratin se ruait a leurs 
receptions ! Le gratin, le gratin 
gratinant (see note to teetoimant), 
le Gotha tout entier ! . . . On se 
serait cru a la cour (H. BERNSTEIN, 

gouailler, vb. tr. and intr. To jeer at, 
quiz, banter, mock, deride. 
A frequentative form of gouer, ' to stuff ', * to 
gorge * (cp. engouer, ' to choke *), whence the 
meaning of 'to make fun of somebody', a 
frequent association of ideas (SAiNJfiAJSf, 
Langage parisien, p. 16). 

C'est, monsieur, que vous me fas- 
siez le plaisir de ne plus me gouailler. 
Je suis las de vous servir de plastron 
(AuG-iER ET SANDEAU, Le Gendre de 
M. Poirier). 




gouailleur, n.m. and adj. Banterer, mocker, 

quiz, jeerer. 
*goualante, n.f. Song. 

See goualer. 

Marche, faisait le lieutenant, et 
chante-nous ta " goualante " I (R. 
BENJAMIN, Sous le del de France). 
*gonaler. *1. vb. tr. To sing. 

Populo gouale ses amours Et 
1'plaisir d'aimer dans la deche (J. 
RICTUS, Soliloques). 
*2. Vb. intr. To cry, weep. 

An old jarqon term which, with its deriva- 
tives goualante and goualeur, has penetrated 
into popular speech. Originally dialectal 
(Geneva), 'to shout in a shrill voice' 
(SAIN^AN, Les Sources de V Argot ancien, 
II, p. 363). 
*goualeur, n.m. Singer. 

See goualer. La, Goualeuse is the nickname of 
Fieur-de-Marie in Eugene Sue's Mysteres de 

goiiape, n.f. and adj. One who leads a 
lazy or dissolute life, a reprobate, cad, 
An old jarqon word denoting * vagabond '. 

Eugene etait, d'ailleurs, line gou- 
ape de la plus belle eau ( e a black- 
guard of the first water ', * an out- 
and-out blackguard ') (J. K. Htnr- 
SMAJSTS, Les Sceurs Vatard}. 
gouaper, vb. intr. To lead an idle, dis- 
solute life. 

Lorsqu'on etait marie a une 
femme gentille et honnete, on ne 
devait pas gouaper dans les bas- 
tringues (ZOLA, UAssommoir). 
gouapeur, n.m. = gouape. 
*goulee, n.f. Gulp, mouthful. 

Prom the popular word goule, ' mouth' . 

tj n.m. Mouth, throat. Mepousser 
(or Trouilloter) du goulot, To have a 
foul breath. Se rincer le goulot, To 
wet one's whistle. 
Lit. 'neck of bottle*. 

*goupiller, vb. tr. To do, arrange, contrive 
e.g. Je ne sais pas comment ga se 
goupille, I don't know how it is done 

Lit. * to fix with ffouptiles % small metal pegs 
or pins. 

H me faut pas seulement la peau, 
mais les frusgues d'un galonne 
(== gatonnard) de Guillaume. . . . 
J'saurai bien goupitter ga> avant que 
la guerre finisse (H. BAKBUSSE, Le 

goupillon, n.m. (Disparaging) Priests 
e.g. Le sabre et le goupillon, The army 
and the priests. 
Lit. * the holy- water sprinkler *. 

*gOUrM, n.m. House ; shelter (especially 
of planks, in the trenches), funk-hole. 
An Algerian word, denoting a ' hut * made 
of branches or wattles and dry earth, which 
was used in popular speech before the War in 
the sense of ' abode ' or ' primitive dwell- 
ing-place *. 

gourde, n.f. and adj. Simpleton, dolt, 
stupid, clumsy fellow. 
Lit. a kind of * pumpkin'. Cp. eorniehon. 
*gourer or gonrrer. *1. vb. tr. To de- 
ceive, take in, kid. 

*2. Se gourer., To be mistaken, to make a 

Anoliijaryon term adopted by popular speech 
in the eighteenth century. 

Vous vous gourez / s'ecria Marie au 

comble de la joie. Vous vous mettez 

le doigt dans Vozil, ma bonne chere 

dame ! (H. DTTVEBJTOIS, Edgar). 

gourgandine, n.f. Girl or woman of lax 

morals, jade, hussy, baggage. 

Oudin (1640) gives the meaning prostitute to 

the term, and in the reign of Louis XIV it was 

applied to a bodice, worn by femmes galantes, 

which allowed the chemise to be seen. The 

original sense of ' gadabout ', * loose wench *, 

is still met with in the South, in Guienne and 

in the Dauphine". The word is an analogical 

derivative of the Southern gourgo, * slough % 

* mud-pit' (SAIN^IAN, Sources indigenes, I. 

p. 331). 

gourme, n.f. Jeter sa gourme or ses 
gourmes, To sow one's wild oats, to 
have one's fling. 

Jeter sa gourme is said lit. (a) of a young 
horse suffering from strangles (an infectious 
catarrh) ; (Z>) of a child suffering from scabs. 
C'est la folle jeunesse, ca ! Mon- 
sieur avait besoin de Jeter ses gourmes 
(H. LAVEDAN, Le nouveau Jeu). 
*gonspin or goussepain or goussepin, n.m. 
Urchin, little scamp. 
Littre" explains this word as coming from 
gousser, a popular verb of the sixteenth 
century meaning * to eat % and pain ; hence 
'a poor wretch who lives on bread only'. 
SainSaii (Sources indigenes, H, p. 338) rejects 
this etymology and derives the word from 
the patois verb gowpiner, gouspigner, a form 
parallel with g&uspiller, ' to glean ' (lit. and 
fig.}, whence ' to steal secretly *, ' to filch ". 
go fit, n.m. 1. Perdre le gout du pain., To 
die, peg out, kick the bucket, lay 
down one's knife and fork. 
Lit. ' to lose the taste of bread '. 

2. Faire passer (or Faire perdre) a quel- 
qu'un le gout du pain, To kill, murder a 
person, to cook one's goose. 

Tu voulais nous faire crever de 
faim, dit-il, eh bien ! a ton tour. On 
va te faire passer le gout du pain ! 
(A. THEURIET, La Ohanoinesse). 

3. Des gouts et des couleurs il nefaut (pas) 




discuter (or disputer) or II nefaut point 
disputer des gouts or A chacun son gout 
(often abbreviated to Chacun son gout) 
or Tous les gouts sont dans la nature, 
There is no disputing about tastes, 
There's no accounting for tastes, 
Tastes differ. 

goutte, n.f. 1. Small glass of neat spirits, 
etc. e.g. boire (prendre) la goutte, to 
take one's glass, to have a drop, to 
take a nip. Payer la goutte, To stand 
something to drink. 
Elliptical for une goutte d' eau-de-vie, de vin, 
etc. This use of goutte primitively "belongs 
to military slang, and passed into popular 
speech at the time of the Revolutionary 

See feraise 1 (Zola). 

2. Boire la goutte, in addition to the mean- 
ing under 1, can also mean (a) to be 
drowned or nearly drowned ; (6) to 
fail, suffer heavy money losses. 
grabuge, n.m. Disturbance, row, wran- 
gling, squabbling e.g. II y aura du 
grabuge, There'll be ructions. 
Another form of garbuge, ' quarrel % which is 
of dialectal origin and has penetrated into 
Provencal, Piedmontese and Genoese (gar- 
"buggiit, ' confusion ', * disorder *, the same 
meaning as the Italian garhugho, which in its 
turn comes from the Old French garbouil, 
' quarrel *, via the Provencal garboui, 
'tumult', 'confusion') (SAii<n&AN, Sources 
indigenes, II, pp. 290-1). 

Mais les moins fous eux-memes 
s'attendaient a un peu de grabuge, 
d'autant que $a tombait en pleine 
periode electorate (J. ROMAICS, Le 
Vin blanc de la Villette). 

Enfin, j'ai eu 1'impression que 
j'avais devant moi une femme em- 
barrassee, desemparee, et qui m'a 
bien Fair d'avoir <du grabuge dans sa 
vie (H. DE REGISTER, La Peur de 
V Amour). 

See chauffer 2 (BataiUe). 

grace, n.f. 1. De grace! For mercy's 

sake ! For goodness' sake ! Pray ! 

Spare me ! 

Often used ironically. 

2. Faire grace a quelqu'un de quelque chose, 

To spare somebody something e.g. 
Faites-nous grace de cela / Pray spare 
us that ! Je lui ai fait grace du reste, 
I let him off the remainder. 

3. A la grace de Dieu / Come what may 1 

Je crois que je serai d6barrasse 
de ce travail-la dans trois semaines. 
Ensuite, a la grace de Dieu I (FLAU- 
BERT, Correspondance). 

4. Avoir mauvaise grace a (or de) . . ., To 
be the last person who should . . . 
e.g. II aurait mauvaise grace a (or de) 
se plaindre, It would ill become him to 

'gradaille, n.f. (Disparaging) Officers and 

From grade, 'rank*. Cp. grad, n.m. and 
adj., ' N.G.O.' 

Elle souriait. Elle etait con- 
tente. Elle avait Fair d'etre bien 
a c6te de cette gradaille boche (H. 

grade, n.m. Prendre quelque chose pour 
son grade = Prendre quelque chose pour 
son rhume. 

Comme elle developpait brillam- 
ment ce theme, Heine Avril est 
arrivee. Eeine Avril est votre amie, 
et Nina Lazuli a pris quelqne chose 
pour son grade (P. BENOIT, Le Puits 
de Jacob). 

grain, n.m. 1. Avoir un grain, To be a 
little cracked, slightly crazy. 
Elliptical for avoir un grain de folie. 
*2. Avoir son grain, To be slightly tipsy. 
3. Veiller au grain, To keep a sharp look- 
out, to keep one's weather-eye open. 
Grain here is the nautical term for ' squall % 
and VeiUe (or Pare) au grain f is the command 
given when a squall is feared. 

See main 14 (Gautier). 
graine, n.f. 1. Unefille montee en graine, 
An old maid, a spinster. 
Monter en graine is said lit. of plants which 
'run to seed*. 

See Sainte Catherine (Cherbuliez). 

2. Q* est dela graine deniais, That is some- 
thing to deceive fools with, A fool 
would not be taken in by that. 

Lit. 'it is seed for simpletons '. 

3. Une mauvaise graine, (of a person) A 
bad lot. 

Lit . ' bad seed * (unlikely to produce anything 

auvaise graine est tot venue : see 
herbe 4. 
*graisse, n.f. *1. Money. 

Lit. * grease *. Cp. the English ' to grease the 
palm * and see patte 3. 

*2. A la graisse or a la graisse d'oie (or 

de chevaux de bois or de hareng saur 

or d'ombrelle), Bad, worthless, stupid, 

false e.g. des boniments a la graisse 

d'oie, worthless arguments. 

grand'chose. 1. Is used negatively with 

the meaning of : not much, not good, 

not dear, etc. e.g. Cela ne vaut pas 

grand* chose, That is not up to much. 

2. Un (une) pas grand* chose 9 A person not 




up to much, a bad lot. Plural des pas 
grand* cTiose(s). 

Ta grand'mere est une vieille 
menteuse et une pas grand? chose, (G. 
SAND, La petite Fadette). 

He ! ces Polonais, repris-je avec 

un haussement d'epaules, ce sont 

des pas grand* choses (V. CHERBTTLIEZ, 

UAventure de Ladislas JBolski). 

grappin, n.m. Hand e.g. Mettre (or 

Jeter, Poser) le grappin sur, To lay 

hold of, clap one's hands on ; (fig.) To 


Lit. "grappling-iron^. 

Je ne craignais pas que Richardet 
fut jamais genant, c'etait I'homme 
le moins fait pour Jeter le grappin sur 
moi (V. CHERBTTLIEZ, L Aventure de 
Ladislas Bolski). 

gras, n.m. 1. Faire gras, To eat meat. 
Especially on days when it should not be 
eaten. Op. jours gras, days on which meat 
may be eaten. See maigre. 
*2. II y a gras, There's lots of it, There's 
something doing, There's some profit 
to be made, There's lots of money to 
be got e.g. Voila tout ce que fai 
touche, il riy a pas gras, That's all the 
money I got ; there isn't much of it. 
J'ai trouve un porte-monnaie ou il y 
avait gras, I found a purse with lots of 
money in it. 

See Marianne (Farrere). 
gratin, n.m. 1. The best of anything, the 
pick of the basket. Cp. le dessus du 
panier, sub dessus 3. 

2. The upper classes, the tipper ten, the 
e elite '. 

Gratinte a culinary term, denoting a ' dressing 
with bread crumbs *. Cp. the English * the 
upper crust ". 

Us n'avaient guere qu'une dizaine 
de personnes a diner. Qa devait 
etre du plus fin gratin, vu les pre- 
paratifs (J. HOMAIKS, Le Vin blanc 
de la Villette). 

See gotha 2 (Bernstein), 
gratte, n.f. Illicit profits, pickings, graft 
e.g. Faire de la gratte, To get pick- 
ings, to graft. 
From gmtter, *to scrape'. 

II ne blague pas la-dessus. Ici, 
mon vieux, pas la plus petite gratte 
a faire (BRIEUS, Itesultat des 

gratte-elel, n.m. invar. Sky-scraper. 
gratte-papier, n.m. invar. Quill-driver, 

gratter. 1. vb. tr. *(a) To thrash, wal- 1 

lop, beat in a contest e.g. se faire 
gratter, to get licked. 

(6) To overtake, to show a clean pair of 
heels to e.g. une auto qui en gratte une 
autre, a car which overtakes another, 
(c) To make illicit profits, to graft. 
See gratte. 

Ordinaire, bons de tabac, prets, 
indemnites, il a gratte sur eux plus 
de deux cents francs (L. DBSOAVBS, 
*2. vb. intr. To work hard. 

J'avais ma fiUette ; fallait qu'on 
bouffe ; ma foi, j'ai dit comme 9a : 
" On va gratter, gs, occupera ! " Et 
f gratte . . . et ga biche (E. BEN- 
JAMIN", Sous le Giel de France). 
t 3. Se gratter, To receive nothing, to have 
to do without, to whistle for e.g. 
Tu as pris tout, moi, je me gratte, You 
have taken all, and I get nothing. Cp. 
se taper, sub taper 4 (a). 
gl&,n.m, 1. TEe noun gre (Latin gratum], 
will ', * pleasure ', e liking *, is used 
chiefly in various prepositional phrases 
(cp. maigre, in spite of) e.g. de plein 
gre, voluntarily ; de son plein gre, of his 
own accord ; de (bon) gre ou de force, 
or bon gre mal gre, whether one likes it 
or not, willy-nilly ; de gre a gre (= a 
ramiable), by private contract, by 
mutual consent ; a son gre, to one's 

2. Prendre quelqu'un en gre, To take a 
liking to a person. 

Le patriarche, qui m' } avait pris en 
gre, m'envoya recueillir les dimes de 
1'eglise dans les districts de la mer 
(DE VOGTUE, Vangheli). 

3. Savoir (bon) gre a quelqu'un (de), To be 
thankful (grateful) to a person (for) 
e.g. Nous vous en saurons bon gre, We 
shall be obliged to you for it. Je me 
sais bon gre dene V avoir pas fait, I am 
thankful I did not do it. Savoir 
mauvais gre a quelqu'un (de), To be 
annoyed with a person (for) e.g. Je 
lui saurais mauvais gre ffen parler, I 
should hate him (her) to talk about it. 

Elle se sut bon gre de la perspica- 
cite de son choix (T. GATTTIER, Jean 
et Jeannette). 

gree, n.m. Cardsharper, broadsman. 
Etre grec au jeu, and, elliptically, Stre grec, 
was formerly said of one skilful in handling 
cards, i.e. of a trickster, a use of the 
word first attested in the eighteenth 
century. A certain P. Rousseau published 


in London, in 1758, L'Histoire des Ghrecs ou de 
ceux qui corrigent la fortune au yeu. The word 
grec already had an unfavourable meaning 
in the sixteenth century, and the disparaging 
force probably goes back to antiquity, for 
among the Romans, the Greeks, especially 
the Greek merchants, had the reputation 
of being sharp but of problematical probity. 
Cp. the use of * Greek * in English, in the 
sense of * cunning person*, * sharper*. In 
modern French slang grec (or grfoo) has 
produced grequer, ' to cheat % and grecquene, 
* cheating '. La Grece is ' the world of 
cheats ', whence un grtee, ' cheat ', and gr&er, 
*to cheat". 

gregues, n.f. pi. Tirer ses gregues, To run 
away, to scamper off. Cp. tirer ses 
Grfyues lit. ' breeches *, ' galligaskins *. 

Quand vous plaisantez, il n'y a 
qu'a tirer ses gregues, dit Pillerault 
(BALZAC, Cesar Birotteau). 

grelot, n.m. 1. Attacker le grelot, To bell 
the cat, to begin the matter, to take 
the initiative e.g. On ne trouva per- 
sonne pour attacker le grelot, JNTo one 
was found to bell the cat. 
Lit. 'to fasten the bell" (round the cat's 
neck). Nothing could be easier than this 
deed, and yet the phrase denotes : to be the 
one to take the first and most difficult step 
in some risky undertaking. This is because 
the expression originates in La Fontaine's 
fable, Conseil tenu 'par les rats, in which the 
rats hold a council in order to find a method 
of defending themselves against the terrible 
cat Rodilardus. The oldest rat suggests that, 
they should hang a bell round the cat's neck, 
so that they may hear his approach and 
be warned in time. All agree to this plan, 
but * La difficulte" f ut d'attacher le grelot '. 

2. Avoir les grelots, To be afraid, to funk. 
From grelotter, 'to shiver*. 

greluchon, n.m. The amant de cceur of a 
kept woman ; man who lives at the 
expense of a woman. 
This word, of obscure origin, does not seem 
anterior to the eighteenth century. The 
Acactfmie admitted it in 1762, but suppressed 
it in 1878. The D.G. says it is vieitti, though 
it is still met with in modern writers (e.g. 
in Brieux). 

II montra un jeune homme qui 
passait, en murmurant : Le gre- 
luchon de Nana (ZoLA, Nana). 

Grenoble, proper name. Faire a guelqtfun 
la conduite de Cfrenoble, To pursue a 
person with blows and stones, to give 
one a rough handling. 
The origin of this expression is uncertain. 
Michel et, in hisHistoire de France, ascribes it 
to the rough character of the Dauphinois. 
Larousse mentions the story to the effect that 
the lexicographer Rich el et, author of a famous 
Dictionnairejranfais* had betrayed in his work 
signs of the peculiar animosity which he nour- 
ished against the inhabitants of Grenoble. 
Having imprudently paid a visit to that 

207 gribouiller 

town he is said to have been recognised and 
to have received a very rough handling. 

Et si j'ai tarde, ils Tctiengueul- 
ent. C'est un chienlit (' hooting *) 
veritable, une conduite de Grenoble 
(E. BERGERAT, Trente-six Contes de 
toutes les Couleurs). 
grenouille, n.f. *1. Prostitute. 

Je perds mon temps, je mange 
mon bien avec des grenouilles (P. 
VEBER, Les Couches profondes). 
2. Cash-box. Manger la grenouille, To 
appropriate the contents of the cash- 
box or funds entrusted to one's keep- 
ing, to scoop the till, to abscond with 
the cash-box. 

Lit. * to eat the frog '. Variants : Importer 
(or Paire sauter) la grenouiUe Qrenouille is 
the familiar name for a money-box and for 
the money which it contains and which 
represents the reserve fund of a society or 
association ; thus one says Un tel tient la 
grenouille , So-and-so is the treasurer. Robert 
(Phraseologi&, p. 481) thinks the word may 
have been introduced into current usage by 
workmen who came from the country, 
guernole (i.e. grenouille) being used in patois 
to denote a * purse used in common ". 

Dans un eclair de souvenir, je me 
rappelai ce capitaine-tresorier qui 
avait mange la grenouiUe (3?. COITEE, 
Le bon Crime}. 
grenouillere, n.f. Swimming-bath. . 

Properly a shallow bathing-place of running 
water where those who cannot swim paddle 
about. Lit. ' marsh ", *fen * (from grenouiUe, 

greve, n.f. 1. Strike. Faire gr&ve or Se 
mettre en greve, To go on strike. 
Lit. ' beach *. The word owes its meaning of 
* strike ' to the fact that La, Gr&ve denoted 
particularly a stretch of ground in Paris on 
the banks of the Seine which was formerly a 
centre of popular life. There executions took 
place and there too unemployed workers 
used to assemble and wait to be engaged. 
Thus &tr& en gr$ve came to be synonymous 
with 'to be without work'. 
2. Une greve perlee, A ca 5 canny strike. 

Sans C[ue le syndicat eut ordonn6 
la grve perlee, le rendement baissait 
de jour en jour et M. Aubernon en 
perdait la tete (B. DOBGELES, Saint 
gre"viste, n.m. Workman on strike, 


gribouillage, n.m. 1. Daub, poor picture. 
2. Scrawl, scribble. 
Var. gribouiUis, n.m. 

gribouiller, vb. tr. 1. To daub. 

2. To scrawl, scribble. 

Puisque vous restez chez vous, au 
lieu de regarder par la f enetre, venez 
done quand il vous plaira prendre 




rairdanslejardin. . . . Vous pour- 
rez u gribouiller " a votre aise sous 
la Chaumiere ! (R. BOYLESVE, Sou- 
venirs du Jardin detruit). 
*griffeton, n.m. Soldier. 

Griff eton or grivet&n and its synonym grimer 
have passed into popular speech from military 
slang. They both, originate in old jargon* in 
which grim ('thrush') denoted a soldier, 
by allusion to the bird which pillages the 

grigou, n.m. and adj. Miser, skinflint. 
Especially in the form of un vieux 
grigou, an old screw. 
Grigou, a Breton form, originally designated 
the " leper ", a meaning inherent to the Low 
Latin gngulosus, which is merely the tran- 
scription of the Breton grigou or grigueuz, a 
meaning which still survives in the Poitevin 
grigou, 'ill' (of people or animals). The 
primitive andliteral force is * filthy ', ' sordid ' 
(from grigue, *mud'), whence the modern 
meaning of * sordid miser ' (SAi?rf3A]sr, Sources 
^nd^ff3n0s, I, pp. 318-19; II, p. 370). _ 

Bien que de vous voir, gentille et 
bien elevee comme vous etes, il n'y 
a point de doute que vous n'etes 
pas faite pour rester chez de pareils 
grigous (0. MIBBEAIT, Le Journal 
d'une Femme de Chambre). 
gril, n.m. Eire sur le gril, To be on 
tenterhooks, on thorns. 
By allusion to le gril de saint Laurent, the 
instrument used to torture the martyr Saint 
Laurent, who was condemned to be burnt to 
death with live coals. 

griller, vb. tr. En gritter une, To smoke a 

This stands for griUer une cigarette (or une 
sfohe). Variant : en s6eher une. Rtitir une 
cigarette is also used. 

J?uis, pour ne pas incommoder la 
malade, ils allaient en " griller une " 
sur la terrasse (M. HARBY, La divine 

See ennemi 2 (Hirsch). 
3. To overtake. Cp. gratter 1 (b). 
*grlmpant, n.m. Trousers, bags, slacks. 
Prom ffrimper, ' to climb ' ; military slang, 
corresponding to the popular synonym 

*grfmper, vb. intr. Faire grimy er guelgtfun, 
To make a fool of a person, to humbug. 
Elliptical for faire grimper 4 Tarbre. Cp. 
Falie monter & I'dchelle and Faire marcher. 

J'ai voulu te montrer que je n'etais 
pas une moule ( e simpleton *) (J. H. 
JR.OSNY, Marthe). 

, n.m. Thief, burglar. 
An old yargon*t&Tm which has passed into 
popular speech. Lit. * hook % * cramp *. 
grincheux, n.m. and adj. Peevish, crabby 

Probably a dialectal form for grinceur, i.e. one 
who gnashes his teeth. 
gringalet, n.m. Man of puny build. 

In the epic poems of the twelfth century the 
word denoted a 'little horse '. The modern 
meaning of * puny or small man ' is already 
found in Cqtgrave. 

C'etait une espece de gringalet 
maigriot, porteur d'une tete enorme, 
et tout de suite, rien qu'a voir ce 
bilboquet vivant, on ne pouvait 
pas ne pas s'esclaffer (J. BIOHEPIH, 
La Misefaque). 

See friser (Maupassant). 
grippe, n.f. Prendre quelqu'un en grippe, 
To take a (violent) dislike to some one, 
to take a scunner to a person. 
Grippe formerly denoted a * sudden whim % 
and so, by extension, it came to signify a 
* sudden prejudice *. 

M. Eyssette, de le voir eternelle- 
ment la larme a 1'osil, avait fini par 
le prendre en grippe et Tabreuvait de 
taloches (A. DAUDET, Le petit Chose). 
grippe-sou, n.m. Miser, skinflint, money- 

gris, adj. 1. Half drank, tipsy, half -seas 

Lit. ' gray ' ; probably a jocular application 
of the adjective to indicate an intermediate 
state between black and white, and figuratively 
between intoxication and sobriety. Cp. 
German grau. 

2. En voir de grises, To have all kinds of 
unpleasant experiences e.g. II en a vu 
de grises, He had an unpleasant time 
of it. En faire voir de grises a quel- 
gtfun, To worry a person with all 
sorts of tricks, to lead one a hard life, 
to put a person through it e.g. On lui 
en a fait voir de grises, They plagued 
him terribly, They gave him a rough 
time of it. 

Le colonel passa devant notre 
compagnie ; il m'adressa la parole : 
4 Eh bien ! vous allez en voir de 
grises pour votre debut ' (P. MEEI- 
MEE, VEnUvement de la Eedoute). 
Elle a eu tant de malheur ! . . . 
Et ce n*est pas fini, souvenez-vous- 
en. . . . Ses enfants lui en feront 
voir de grises ! (0. DEREJOTES, La 

grisette, n.f. Light-hearted and coquet- 
tish work-girl or shop-girl. 
Grisette originally denoted a kind of common 
grey cloth, and then a young girl of the lower 
classes dressed in this material, and finally a 
young work-girl of easy virtue, a type 
described in the poems of B6ranger and A. de 
JVIusset and in the novels of Murger (e.g. 
Mimi in Scenes de la Vie de Bohdme). 




grive, n.f. Faute de grives, on mange des 
merles, Half a loaf is better than no 
bread (or than none). 
Lit. ' For lack of thrushes, one eats black- 
birds * ; by allusion to the fact that although 
blackbirds form a dainty dish, thrushes are 
held in even higher esteem. 

Enfin s'arretant devant moi et 
posant ses larges mains velues sur 
ma tete : Petit Ladislas Bolski que 
tu es ! me dit-il. Toi, emissaire ! 
Faute de grives., on mange des 
merles ; mais Dieu soit loue ! les 
grives ne nous manquent pas (V. 
CHERBULIEZ, UAventure de Ladislas 

grognard, n.m. Un (vieux) grognard, 
Name given to Napoleon's soldiers of 
the Old Guard, and, by extension, to 
an old soldier or veteran in general. 
Lit. 'grumbler', 'growler'. 
grognon, n.m. and /. and adj. Grumbler, 
growler, grumbling, growling. 
Grognon is generally used for the feminine as 
well as for the masculine, but there is a 
modern tendency to use grognonne. 

Elie ne m'a pas 1'air imprenable, 
bien qu'elle paraisse un peu grognon 
(MAUPASSANT, Les Sosurs Rondoli). 
*grolles or groles, n.f. pi. Boots. 

A provincialism ; in Anjou and Normandy 
grole means * shoe '. 

T'as pas eu Thonneur d'y trainer 
tes grolles a Paname (' Paris ') (R. 
DOIIGELES, Les Oroix de Bois}. 
gros. 1. adv. (a} Jouer gros, To play 
for high stakes, to run a big risk. 
Perdre gros, To lose heavily. 

Nous perdons, mon garon, nous 
perdons gros 1 "(H. BERNSTEIN, Sam- 

(b) II y a gros a parier que . . ., The odds 
are that . . ., It is very probable 
that . . ., There are strong reasons to 
believe that . . . 
From parier gros, ' to bet heavily *. 

II y avait gros a parier #&'elle etait 
attendue a la sortie (J. K. HUYS- 
MANS, Les Sceurs Vatard). 
2. n.m. pi. Les gros, The upper classes, 

the nobs. 

gros - Jean, n. m. Country bumpkin, 
4 Hodge *. 
See Jean 1. 

*grosse, n.f. Military prison e.g. Faire 
de la grosse, To be in prison. Deux 
ans de grosse, A two-year stretch. 
Ramasser trenie jours de grosse. To get 
thirty days* quod. 

Elliptical for la grosse loUe. Cp. fcoite 2 and 
caisse 1. 

*grouiller, se. To make haste, to hurry up, 
to bestir oneself e.g. Grouillez-vous / 
Look sharp (slippy) I Get a move on ! 
Stir your stumps ! 

Voyons, Hortense, ma fille 1 grou- 
ille- toi. Apport e un siege a Monsieur 
(G. COUBTELINE, Hortense, couche- 
toi /). 
grae, n.f. Prostitute. 

Lit. ' crane * ; by allusion to a woman who 
coquettishly stretches her neck as a crane 

guerre, n.f. I. A la guerre comme a la 
guerre. One must take things as they 
come, We must take the rough with 
the smooth. 

2. C'est de bonne guerre, It is all fair play, 

He has only used: fair means to defend 
himself (or to attack you), He has 
acted within his right, you cannot com- 

3. De guerre lasse, For the sake of peace 
and quiet e.g. J^ai cede de guerre 
lasse, I gave way weary of resistance, 
for the sake of peace and quiet. 
This stands for d& guerre las, ' tired of "war- 
ring*. Pinal s was pronounced in Old 
French, and after it became silent in most 
words it still continued to be sounded m the 
expression de guerre las because of the feminine 
guerre, whence the spelling lasse. 

II decouragea suecessivement la 
patience de trois preeepteurs qui, de 
guerre lasse, lacherent la partie apres 
y avoir perdu leur latin (J. SANDEATJ, 
Mile de la Seigliere). 

n espere que, de guerre lasse, je 
finirai par dire oui (V. CHERBTJLIEZ, 

gUtres, n.f. pL 1. Tirer ses guetres, To 
run away. 
Lit. ' gaiters *. Cp. tirer ses gr^gues. 

2. Trainer ses guetres, To idle about, to 
lounge about. 

3. Laisser ses guetres quelque part, To die, 
peg out e.g. Plus d'un y a laisse ses 
guetres, More than one never came 

gueulard, n.m. and adj. Fond of bawling, 
bawler, rowdy. 

gueule, n.f. *1. Mouth, jaw, face, mug, 
chops e.g. Avoir une bonne gueule, To 
have a pleasant (or funny) face. 
Avoir une sale gueule, To have an ugly 
or unpleasant face. Faire la gueule f 
To make a wry face. Faire sa gueule, 
To sulk ; to give oneself disdainful 
airs, to look disgusted. Faire une sale 




gueule, To look worried, uneasy, 
frightened, to pull a long face. Avoir 
de la gueule, To be loud-mouthed. 
Lit. ' mouth of animal '. 
*2. A pleine gueule = a pleine gorge ; see 

gorge 1. 

3. Avoir la gueule de bois, To feel seedy, 
chippy, out of sorts (after a spree), to 
have a mouth (tongue) like (the bot- 
tom or floor of) a parrot's cage, to have 
a head, to have a sore head the morn- 
ing after the night before. 
Lit. ' to have a mouth of wood *. The expres- 
sion suggests the dry, parched mouth resulting 
from heavy drinking. Variant: Avoir la 
Ute en bois. 

*4. Casser la gueule a quelqu'un, To give 
one a severe thrashing, to pitch into 
some one, to knock a person's head off 
e.g. 11 va se faire casser la gueule, 
He'll get his head knocked off. 
Variants: Bourrer (or Crever) la gueule d 
quelqu'un, Taper sur la gueule d quelqu'un. 
Hence Se bourrer la gueule, Se taper sur la 
gueule, To come to blows. 

Vous avez probablement constate, 
comme moi, que, pour la chose de 
casser la gueule a tout le monde, les 
pacifist es n'ont jamais craint per- 
sonne (0. MIRBEATJ, Le Journal d*une 
Femme de Chambre). 

See mteque (Salmon), tte 20 

*5. Ferme (or Tais) ta gueule ! or Ta gueule I 
Hold your jaw ! Dry up I 
See haricot (Harry). 

6. Fort en gueule, Loud-mouthed, a 

On ne peut le nier : il devenait 
incongru, mauvais coucheur, mal 
embouche, fort en gueule (A. FRANCE, 
Crainqu ebille). 

*7. N'avoir que de la gueule, To be all jaw 
e.g. II n*a que de la gueule., His bark 
is worse than his bite. 
*8. Rincer la gueule a quelqu'un, To stand 
some one a drink. Se rincer la gueule, 
To have a drink, wet one's whistle. 
*9. (Taper de la gueule, To have a foul 


gtieiller, vb. intr. To shout, bawl, yell. 
gueiileton, n.m. Tuck in, blow out. 

See liehade (Zola), secouee (Bar- 
gueuletonner, vb. intr. To have a gueule- 


*guibolles, nf. pi. Legs, pins, shanks e.g. 
Jouer (or Tricoter) des guibolles, (a) To 
run like a hare, to run away, leg it ; 

(b) To dance. Ne pas tenir sur ses 
guibolles, To be shaky on one's pins. 
Griibolle or guibole is another form of gui- 
bon(n)e or guibon, -which goes back to the 
Norman guibon or gibon, from giber,, ' to 
shake ', an old verb still found in patois (e.g. 
in Anjou, where it means 'to kick*). 

"gniehe, n.f. = aecroehe-eoeur. 

By allusion to the guiches, strips of cloth 
attached to each side of the Carthusians' 
robes and used as fasteners (SAIN3&A.N 
Langage parisien, p. 265). 
guide, n.f. Mener la vie a grandes guides, 
To go the pace, to live in great style. 
Lit. 'to drive through life four-in-hand*. 
The grandes guides are the long reins for the 
leading horses when one is driving four-in- 
hand. Cp. mener grand train, sub train 8. 
guignard, n.m. and adj. Unlucky (per- 

guigne, n.f. Bad luck (especially at 
games) e.g. Avoir la guigne. C^est 
la guigne I It's hard cheese ! Quelle 
fichue guigne / What deuced bad luck ! 
From guignon. 

Je n'ai pas de chance. Des 
guignes, des guignes et des guignes, 
v'la ma vie! (J. RIOHEPIH, Contes 
sans Morale}. 

Elle porte la guigne (' She brings 
bad luck '), Madame Guerande I 
. . . autrefois son man, aujourd'hui 
Chagny 1 ... a qui le tour ? (GYP, 
Le JBaron Sinai}. 

guigner, vb. tr. To have one's eye on 
e.g. guigner un emploi, to have one's 
eye on a post. 

Lit. ' to peep at out of the corner of one's eye *. 

Or, vous savez que M. Plancou- 

laine guigne cette maison pour son 

neveu Moche, depuis dix ans (B. 

BOYLESVE, ISEnfant a la Bolus- 

See dieu 6 (Zola). 
guignon, n.m. = guigne. 

From guigner, *to look askance", *to look 
out of the corner of one's eye *, by allusion to 
the superstition of the * evil eye *. 
See erolre 3 (Courteline). 
guilledou, n.m. Courir le guilledou, Togo 
wenching, to go on the loose. 
The expression originally belongs to the 
vocabulary of witchcraft, and means lit. 'to 
go to the witches' sabbath on a broomstick *. 
It is of provincial orisjin and is first met with, 
in the form courir le guildrou in d*Aubign6*s 
Histoire Umverselle (sixteenth century). In 
VendSe courir le gouittedau is 'to frequent 
the revels *, * to walk rapid! y *, Th e primitive 
force is * to run in the mud ', * in the marshy 
spots*; in Poitou gueildrou or gaildreau 
means ' dirty ', * muddy ', synonymous with 
gadrou, the latter going back to gadre, " mud" 
N, Sources indigenes, I, pp. 266-7). 




Oii en serait-on, s'il fallait dormer 
la chasse a tous.les maris en train de 
courir le guilledou ? (L. BERTBAKD, 
V Invasion). 

Chez moi, on ne sort jamais. . . . 
Je ne paie pas des domestiques pour 
que, sous pretexte de voir leurs filles, 
ils s'en aillent courir le guilledou 
(0. MIRBEATT, Le Journal d*une 
Femme de Ohambre). 

guimbarde, n.f. Carriage (specially ram- 
shackle or rickety). 

Properly a long four- wheeled cart the front and 
back of which are fitted with sloping exten- 
sions for the transport of sheaves, bundles 
of straw, hay, etc. 

Et, deux heures plus tard, ayant 
frete une guimbarde, je frappai 
a la porte de Loreley Loredana 
(C. FARBERE, Lix-sept Histoires de 

*guinehe. *1. n.m. Low dancing-saloon. 
*2. n.f. Dance. 
*gulnclier, vb. intr. To dance. 

Elle guinche au bal des Hures, 
qu'on m'a dit ! (C. H. HIKSCH, Le 
Tigre et Cogruelicot). 
gumgols, n.m. De guingois, Awry. 

II se trouva tout seul sous les 
galeries du Palais-Royal, ayant 
laisse sa canne dans la bagarre, les 
bras ballants, rhabille tout de 
travers, et le chapeau campe de 
guingois (M. BOULANGER, Le Pave 
du Moi). 

guinguette, n.f. Open-air, roadside tav- 
ern, tea-garden. 

Tre"voux, in his Dictionnaire of 1752, says of 
this word : " Ce terme est nouveau et has, 
mais il est fort en usage. II a pris naissance 
avec le si^cle. On entend par la un petit 

cabaret dans les faubourgs et environs de 
Paris ou les artisans vont boire I'Ste, les 
dimanches, et les fe"tes. ... Oe mot vient 
apparemnient de'ce qu'on ne vend dans ces 
cabarets que du me"chant petit vin vert qu'on 
appelle guinguet, tel qu'est celui qui se 
recueille aux environs de Paris." It is more 
probable, however, as the D.G. suggests, that 
the word was originally a proper name denot- 
ing a district in Paris. 

Le bal etait commence, les fene- 
tres de la guinguette du Moulin- 
Rouge, vivement Uluminees, mon- 
traient que les ordonnateurs de la 
fte, quoique bourgeois, n'avaient 
pas Iesin6 sur Thuile (T. GATTTIER, 
Jean et Jeannette), 

guise, n.f. A sa guise, After one's own 
way, to one's own liking e.g. Faire 
(or Agir) a sa guise, To go one's own 
way, to behave as one likes, to act 
according to one's own sweet wiU. 

II vivait a sa guise, en bon iuron 
qui fait ce qu'il veut (E. BOB, 

guitare, n.f. Monotonous, tiring repeti- 
tion, well- worn platitude e.g. (Test 
toujours la meme guitare ! It is always 
the same old story (the same old 
familiar saying), He is always harp- 
ing on the same string. Jouer de la 
guitare, To be monotonous. 
Lit. * guitar*. 

Qa, c'est la vieille rengaine re- 
ligieuse : souffrez ici-bas, a ira 
mieux la-haut. Ne jouez pas de 
cette guitare-la J (C. VATJTEL, Mon 
Cure chez les Pauvres). 
*guitoiine, n.f. *1. Home, house. 
*2. Dug-out, funk-hole. 

Military slang, from the Algerian guitoun 
(Arabic Jcitoun), *tent*. 


lialilller, vb. tr. Habiller quelqu'un (or 

Habiller quelqu'un de toutes pieces). To 

abuse, speak ill of a person. 

Enfin bref tout le monde est des 
salauds (" rotters '), et . . . et go, 
ne me convient pas. Voila. C'est 
bref en effet, mais pas tres clair. 
Tu nous Jiabilles bien. Remarque 
que je ne dis pas que tu aies tort 
(COLETTE, La fin de CMri). 

, n.f. Faire (Former, Border) la haie, 

To line the streets. 

Lit. *to form a hedge*. The phrase is 

properly used of troops drawn up in line to 

keep back the crowd. 

haleine, n.f. 1. A, perte d'haleine e.g. 
Gourir a perte tfhaleine, To run until 
one is out of breath. Ge sont des 
phrases a perte d'haleine, Those are 
very long-winded sentences. Un dis- 
cours a perte d'haleine, A long-winded 

2. De longue haleine e.g. Un outrage 

(travail) de longue haleine, A long job, 
a heavy piece of work, a voluminous 
work, a lengthy, sustained piece of 

3. Tenir quelqu'un en haleine, To keep one 
in suspense, in play e.g. II faut tenir 




les gens en haleine, One must keep tin 
ball rolling. 

4. Tout d'une haleine, At one stretch, a* 
one go. 

hallebarde, n.f. II pleut (or II tombe) des 
hallebardes, It is raining cats and dogs 
Lit. * halberd ' ; probably by allusion to the 
fact that a company of halberdiers filing past 
and carrying their weapons in a sloping 
position on their shoulders produce an effect 
similar to that of rain pelting down. 

hanneton, n.m. 1. Avoir un hanneton 
dans le plafond (or dans la boite au sel) : 
To be crazy, to liave a bee in one's 

Lit. c to have a cockchafer in the ceiling (or 
In the salt-box) *. 

2. Pas pique des hannetons = Pas pique 
des vers ; see ver 1. 

hanter, vb. tr. Dis-moi qui tu hantes, (et) 
je te dirai qui tu es, Birds of a feather 
flock together, A man is known by the 
company he keeps. Cp. Qui se res- 
semble, s 'assemble. 
^hardi ! inter j. Courage ! With a will ! Go 
it 1 e.g. Hardi done / More elbow- 
grease, confound you ! 
Lit an adj. denoting * bold '. 
^haricot, n.m. Head. Gounr (or Cavaler] 
sur Fit aricot (or le haricot) a qwelqifun, 
To weary, bore, annoy a person, to 
get on one's nerves. Cp. eourir 2. 
It is not clear whether we have here haricot 
in the sense of ' haricot- mutton stew ' or with 
the meaning of * kidney-bean *. 

Ou bien il disait avec 1'accent 

faubourien : Ta gueule ! Tu me 

* cours sur I' haricot / (M. HARRY, La 

divine Chanson). 

barnaelier, se. To don one's kit, to rig 
oneself out. 
Lit. ' to put on one's haniais, harness '. This 
use of the verb has passed from military slang 
into popular speech. v 

Harnachc-toi, mon gros, et viens 
avee moi (H. BABBTTSSE, Le Feu). 

haro, inter j. Crier haro stir quelqu'un, To 
raise an outcry against a person. 
With reference to haro ' as a cry for help, the 
D,G. remarks : " Origine incertaine ; peut- 
etre simple onomatope'e. Quelques-uns y 
voient un appel & Row (Bollon), ancien due de 
Normandie ; mais 1'ancienne forme hareu ne 
f avoris e pas cette opinion ". Sainean (Sources 
indtffnes ) H ) j>'p. 2-3) points out that the ex- 
clamation is met with in the sixteenth of 
the Fables of Marie de France (thirteenth 
century) : 

Harou ' harou ' he" ! aidiez moi. . . . 
He thinks that it is inseparable from the 
hunting cry hare ' of the same epoch, used to 
urge on the dogs, and still met with, like haro 
itself. Samean considers that the imitative 
origin of the word is beyond doubt, and that 

the interjections harau ' hareu! hari f haro ' 
harou ' were undoubtedly hunting cries to 
begin with. Even to-day harro ! harro f is 
the cry of hunters among themselves when 
chasing a hare 

bant, n.m. and adv. 1. Regarder quel- 
qu'un du Jiaut de sa grandeur or Regarder 
quelqu'un de (or du) haut en bas or 
Regarder quelqtfun de haut, To look 
down upon a person with contempt, to 
look scornfully at a person. Cp. 2. 

La vicomtesse de Percemur les 
regardait de haut (MAUPASSANT, Bel- 

2. Trailer quelqu'un de (or du) haut en bas, 
To treat a person with contempt, 

Elle Favait vue traitee du haut en 
bas par Eugene (J. K. HUYSMANS, 
Les Sozurs Vatard). 

See eheval 7 (Sarcey). 

3. Tenir (or Prendre) le haut du pave, To 
occupy (or take) the first or most 
honourable position, to bave (or 
assume) priority or precedence, to be 
the cock of the walk. 

Formerly pavements were divided longi- 
tudinally by gutters. This facilitated the 
draining away of rain and slops but naturally 
caused the streets to be generally dirty and 
slippery. The part of the pavement crossed 
by the gutter was the bas du pav, and the 
upper part of the two slopes alongside the 
houses the haut du pav$. The latter was 
of course cleaner, so that if one was walking 
in the street with a superior or an older 
person, etiquette required that one should 
give him le Jiaut du pavd; this constituted 
a privilege, and it was customary for such 
a person to have or, if necessary, to take 
this side of the pavement. Cp. the English 
" to give (to take) the wall '. 

M. Poirel de la Voulte tenait le 
haut du pave dans Veziers (MAU- 
PASSANT, La Confession). 

4. Tomber de son haut, To be amazed, 
struck with surprise, taken aback, 
Lit. ' to fall down to the ground *. 

Je tombai de mon haut quand il 
me dit : " Tu ne savais pas que 
je rimaille enormement toutes les 
nuits ? " (E. ABOUT, Le Turco). 

5. Le prendre de haut (avec quelqu'un), 
To act arrogantly (towards a per- 
son), to carry it off in a high-handed 

La princess a refuse de m'en- 

tendre ; elle Va pris de ires haut 

(WiLLY, Jeux de Princes}. 

haute, n.f. La haute or Les gens de la 

haute, The upper classes, the upper 

crust. Etre de la haute, To belong to 




the smart set. Un filou de la haute, 
A cracksman, one of the swell mob. 
La, haute was originally applied to those 
thieves and cracksmen who undertook import- 
ant jobs (as opposed to the basse pfyre, the 
common herd of thieves); and also to 
wealthy prostitutes. 

Eh bien, mon vieux, quand on 
accepte de 1'argent d'une iemme et 
qu'on se croit un monsieur de la 
haute, on n'a pas le droit, ensuite, de 
la traiter comme du poisson pourri 
(BRIETJX, Les Hannetons). 
hauteur, n.f. 1. Eire a la hauteur des cir- 
constances (or de la situation], To be 
equal to the emergency. 
2. Etre a la hauteur, To be equal to the 
task, up to the job, up to the mark, to 
know the right thing to do. fa, c'est 
a la hauteur ! That's the cheese ! 
That's the stuff to give them ! 
See hurluberlu (Bataille). 
This abbreviated form results from a special 
application of 1 in military parlance, in the 
phrase ttr& d la hauteur du service (or du 
metier militaire) 

faaut-le-CCBur, n.m. Feeling of sickness, 
nausea ; disgust, loathing. 
Cp. haut-le-corps, ' start ' e.g. La surprise lui 
fit faire un fiaut-le-corps, His surprise gave 
him a sudden start. 
h6breu, n.m. C J est de Vhebreu pour moi, 

It's all Greek to me. 

hein ! inter j. Expresses interrogation, 
astonishment or triumph e.g. Hein ? 
que dites-vous ? Eh ? What do you 
say ? Hein / qu'avais-je predit / Eh ! 
what did I tell you ? 

herfee, n.f. 1. Couper P herbe sous le pied a 
quelqu'un, To cut the ground from 
under a person's feet, to take the wind 
out of some one's sails. 

2. En herbe, Budding, unfledged e.g. Un 
avocat en herbe, a sucking barrister. 
Lit, ' in the blade *. Cp. ble. 

3. Entendre Vherbe pousser, To hear a pin 

Lit. * to hear the grass growing *. 

Puis elle preta 1'oreille ; elle etait 
dans un etat d'hyperesthesie, elle 
aurait entendu Vherbe pousser (A. 
HERMANT, Le joyeux Gar$on). 

4. Mauvaise herbe croU toujours, 111 weeds 
grow apace. 

This is said jokingly, for example, of a child 
that grows quickly. Variant : Mauvais graine 
est tot venue. 

*5. Manger V herbe par la racine, To be dead 
and buried, to be pushing up the 
G. S'asseoir dans Vherbe, (of a horse which 

one has backed) To lose, go down. 
Cp. efaou 3. 

Hrode, proper name. jRenvoyer d'Herode 
a Pilate ; see Caiphe. 

Vous avez vu le prince de Prusse ? 
dit-elle d'une voix alteree. Qa n'a 
pas ete sans peine. . . . Onmeren- 
voyait d'Herode d Pilate. Enfin je 
Fai joint a la ferme des Meigneux 
(A. THEUBIBT, La Chanoinesse). 
heure, n.f. *1. A cette heure or A 
tffheure, (Just) JSTow, at present, at the 
present moment. Cp. 3. 

M. Coriot, dit Madame Vauquer a 
voix basse, serait done le pere d'une 
comtesse a c^f heure ? (BALZAC, Le 
Pere Qoriot). 

2. A la bonne heure ! Well done ! That's 
right ! Good ! Bravo ! Capital ! That 
is something like ! At last ! 

This expression, which = lit. ' at the right 
moment % just as formerly d la male heure 
meant * at the wrong moment ', has become 
an exclamation with the force of * happily ', 
and expresses satisfaction, approval or 

Si vous me le demandez poHment, 
je n'ai plus rien a refuser. A la 
bonne heure / Voila un bon gerant 
(H. BATAILLE, Poliche). 

Tu as eu souvent besoin des 
rne'decins ? Autant dire jamais. A 
la, bonne heure/ (C. H. HIESCH, 
" Petit " Louis, Boxeur). 
See fixe (Gyp). 

3. A V heure qu*U est> Nowadays, by this 
time, at the present moment. 

4. A ses heures perdues, At odd times, in 

one's leisure moments. 

5. Le quart d'heure de JRabelais, The 
moment of payment, the time to pay 
the bill, the crucial moment, the hour 
of reckoning. 

The expression denotes the moment when, 
having to pay a bill, one finds one has not the 
wherewithal ; or more generally * the time for 
paying'. It alludes to the mauvais quart 
d'heure (see 6) which Habelais is said to have 
experienced when, on his return from Eome, 
he found himself at Lyons without sufficient 
money to continue his journey. The story 
goes that he got out of the difficulty by means 
of a stratagem which enabled him to return 
to Paris at the expense of the authorities. 
This is the story as told by Antoine le Boy, a 
professor of philosophy of the seventeenth 
century: "Ilabelais 6tant entre" dans une 
h6tellerie, fitappelerles principaux me*deeins 
de la ville, et, apres leur avoir fait promettre 
le secret, leur annonca myst^rieusement que 
les Eomains lui avaient remis un poison des 
plus viplents pour delivrer les Francais de 
leur roi ou plutdt de leur tyran, Henri II. 




Les m6decins s*empresse"rent de le denoneer. 
On s'empara de sa personne, on le conduisit & 
Paris sous bonne escorte, et on Famena 
devant le roi auquel il confessa sa ruse, et qui 
plaisanta fort les Lyonnais de leur crfiduliW." 
The anecdote, of which there are other 
versions, is far from being authentic. 

Quand sonnait le quart d'heure de 
Rabelais, il pay ait rubis sur Pongle 
(' paid to the last farthing '), sans 
seulement ronchonner ( l grumbling ') 
(E. BOD, L'Incendie). 
6. Passer un vilain (or mauvais) quart 
d'heure, To have a bad time of it, to 
experience a critical (painful, danger- 
ous) moment* See note to 5. 

Les pouvoirs publics pouvaient 
s'appreter a passer un vilain quart 
d'heure (A. ALLAIS, IS Affaire Blair- 

7 .Tout a rheure, (a) Presently, by and 
by, directly ; (b) Just now, not long 
ago, a moment ago. A tout a Vheure ! 
I shall see you again presently ! So- 
long ! 

See la 3 (Gyp). 

8. L*heure du berger, The happy hour (for 
a lover). 

By allusion to the shepherd in pastoral poems 
who arranges a meeting with his sweet- 

Un Franyais a qui une femme du 
monde dirait le quart de ce que dit 
sans consequence une jeune fille 
grenadine a Tun de ses nombreux 
novios, croirait que rheure du berger 
va sonner pour lui le soir meme (T. 
GATJTIER, Voyage en Espagne). 

Quand nous eumes dine tte a tte 
dans notre petit salon . . . je eras 
bien, cette nuit-la, que rheure du 
berger avait sonne (M. DEKOBRA, 
Mon Co?ur au ralenti). 

9. En derniere heure, (in a newspaper) 

Stop-press news e.g. C'est dans le 

Matin, en derniere fieure. 
Me,n.m. Voila (QT& est la) lehicJ That's 

the difficulty ! There's the rub ! 

From the Latin hie, *here', in the phrase 

hie est guaestio, 'here is the question, the 

difficulty', used in mediaeval disputations. 

Op. lievre 2. 

Qu'est-ce que tu as done fait 
a Baculard ? Moi ? Bien. Je ne 
lui ai jamais parle. Voila done le 
hie / Baculard aime assez qu'on 
lui rende hommage. Tu ne Tas pas 
fait ; tu Fas blesse dans son amour- 
proprej (J. CI^JBETIE, JSrichanteau 

Mer, adv. Je ne suis pas ne d'hier/ 1 

wasn't born yesterday ! Cp. monde 4. 
Mrondelle, n.f. *1. Hirondelle d'hiver, (in 

Paris) Chimney-sweep ; vendor of 


Lit. ' winter swallow '. 
*2. Hirondelle (de pont or de ponts) f Tramp 

who sleeps under the bridges. 
*3. Hirondelle de potence, Gendarme. 

Military slang originally. 
4. Penny boat plying on the Seine. 
*5. Avoir une hirondelle dans le soliveau, 

To be crazy, cracked. 

Lit. ' to have a swallow in the joist '. 
6. Une Mrondelle ne fait pas le printemps, 

One swallow does not make a summer. 
Mstolre, n.f. 1. C'est toute une histoire, 

It's a long story. 

2. Des histoires, Fuss, bother e.g. Faire 

des histoires, To make a fuss, a to-do. 
En voila (or Voila bien) des histoires 
(pour si pen de chose) ! What a fuss (a 
how-d'ye-do) (about nothing) ! 

Tu te prepares a de belles scenes, 

et des histoires a n*en plus finir (H. 

LAVEDAK, Le nouveau Jeu). 
AUons, monsieur le curl, vous en 

faites des histoires pour un bon Dieu 

de bois (C. VAUTBL, M on Cure chez 

les Pauvres). 

3. Histoire de . . ., Just to . . . e.g. 

Histoire de rire y Por the fun of the 
thing, By way of a joke, Only in joke, 
Only for sport, Just for fun (a joke). 
Plus il entrait de buveurs, plus il 
fallait hurler dans le vacarme des 
vois et des dominos tapes sur le 
marbre des tables, histoire de faire 
plus de bruit encore (MATTPASSAKT, 

Au premier chapitre d'un roman, 
un homme dans ma situation et qui 
irait ou je vais, ne manquerait pas 
de . . . repasser son passe . . . et 
d'anticiper son avenir: histoire de 
mettre le lecteur au courant (A. 
HEEMAITT, Cadet de Coutras)* 

See esperer (Duvernois), esquinter 
2 (b) (Buvernois). 

4. La belle histoire / = La belle affaire. f 

See affaire 18. 

Vous connaissez une intrigue qui 
est ignoree ou que vous croyez 
ignoree dans la maison Desreaux ; et 
puis c'est tout. La belle histoire I 
(B. BOYLESVE, Souvenirs du Jardin 



hola, n.m. Mettre le hola (a), To put a 
stop (to). 

Properly an interjection servingtocallorstop 
a person Hey 1 Stop ! 

Bien des f ois, H fut oblig6 de venir 
mettre le hola entre les deux femmes 
(J. RICHEPIN, Miarka). 

A maintes reprises, les autorites 
administratives tenterent de mettre 
le hold a cette tyrannie, et toujours 
en vain (BE VOGUE, Le Temps du 

homme, n.m. *1. Husband, man e.g. 
Elle aime son homme. 

2. Depouiller le vieil homme, To get rid of 
one's bad habits, to turn over a new 

*3. Jeune homme e.g. Avoir son jeune 
homme t To be drunk, tight. 
Jeune homme is the name given by tavern- 
keepers to a measure of wine of the capacity 
of four litres. Other names for this measure 
are moncaud, petit pire noir. 

4. Homme-affiche or Homme-reclame or 
Homme-sandwich, Sandwich-man. 

5. L'homme dans la rue, The man in the 


A literal translation of the English expression. 
*6. Suivez-moi jeune homme, Ribbons for- 
merly worn in the rear of ladies' 
dresses, l follow-me-lads '. 
The similar English expression *follo\v-me- 
lads * has also been used to designate a curl 
hanging over a lady's shoulder. 
honneur, n.m. 1. Faire les honneurs d*une 
maison^ (d), To receive one's guests 
with kindness and politeness, to make 
it as pleasant as possible for one's 
guests, to do the honours of the 

Cependant, Bluette faisait au 
baron les honneurs de son etablisse- 
ment (A. ALLAIS, IS Affaire Blaireau) 
Apres que nous eumes sirote 
(f sipped ') un petit verre de noyau, 
le capitaine voulut me faire les hon- 
neurs du jardin (0. MIKBEATJ, Le 
Journal d?une Femme de Ghambre). 
2. JSe piguer d'honneur, To make it a 
point of honour e.g. II s'est pique 
ffhonneur, He made it a point of 
honour, He was put upon his mettle. 
*horizontale, n.f. Prostitute e.g. Mle 
fait Vhorizontale, She earns her money 
on her back. 

horreur, n.f. 1. Outrageous action or 
speech e.g. Dire des horreurs, To say 
risky or * naughty J things. Faire des 
horreiir$ 9 To do something outrageous. 

2. Very dirty or very ugly person e.g. 

une horreur d' enfant. 

hOISy prep. Eire hors de soi, To be beside 
oneself (with rage, etc.). Mettre (Jeter) 
hors de soi, To drive one out of one's 
wits e.g. Get enfant me met hors de 
moiy That child drives me crazy. 

See ehipie 2 (Margueritte). 
^iiosteau or liosto, n.m. *1. (Military) 

Apres Vhosteau, on m'a mis en 
convalo au chateau (R. BENJAMIN:, 
*2. (Military) Prison. 

This word, which is also found in the forms 
osto t ousteau, is a provincialism : Angevin 
hosteau or ousteau, Provengal oustau, ' house *, 

* hospice ', * hospital '. 

hote, n.m. Gompter sans son hdte, Not to 
foresee the difficulties, to suffer a dis- 

Op. the proverbial saying, Qui compte sans 
son hdte, compte deux fois, * He who reckons 
without his host must reckon again ', i.e. one 
makes mistakes in one's calculations when 
one does not take other people's interests 
into account. The phrase is applied to one 
who sees his plans upset because he has 
arranged an affair without mentioning it to 
the person concerned. 

hotel, n.m. Large town house or mansion. 
This narrower meaning of hotel should be 
noted ; it signifies the hereditary town 
residence of an aristocratic or wealthy family, 
as distinguished from their cMteau or 

* country seat *. 

hourvari, n.m. Uproar, tumult. 

Properly the cry of the hunter to recall the 
dogs thrown off the scent, ' tally-ho ! ' 

houspiller, vb. tr. 1. To bemaul, pull 

2. To rate sharply, bully. 

According to the D.<?., houspitter is a corrup- 
tion of houspigrwr, formerly houssepignier, 
from housse and pigni&r (for peigner), i.e. 
*to comb the cloak*, *to beat'. Sainean 
(Sources indigenes, II, pp. 338-9) rejects 
this etymology and points out that houce- 
pigner> Jioussepigner or houspigner are purely 
graphic variants and that the verbal suffixes 
-%gn&r and -itter alternate habitually. As for 
houspiUer, it is a provincial pronunciation of 
gouspiller, which may mean (a) ' to spoil * ; 
(&) * to shake * ; (c) * to roam about '. 
! inter j. Be off ! Get away ! 
This word, also written oust(e), is an ex- 
clamation to chase away a dog or other 
importunate animal, and, derisively, a person. 
The full expression was Houste ct la paiUe !, 
d la paitte ', a soldier's term used when 
drill was over and equivalent to * go away, 
go and rest t " (SAEdLiH, Langage parisien, 
p. 356). 

Veux-tu bien me foutre le camp ! 
. . . Houste/ (C. H. HIBSOH, 
" Petit ** Louis, Boxeur). 




hue, inter j. L'un tire a hue, Pautre a dia, 
One pulls one way, and t'other t'other 
(is said of two persons who use opposite 
means). II n'entend ni a hue ni d dia, 
He will not listen to any reason. 
Hue' ' G-ee-up ! 'is an exclamation ad dressed by 
drivers to their horses, especially to make 
them turn to the right, dia ' being used to 
make them turn to the left. 

II est tres possible qu'Hs ne soient 
pas d' accord . . . que Pun tire a 
hue et fautre a dia (J. BOMAIITS, Le 

hulle, n.f. *1. Money. Huile de mains t 
Money, ' pahn oil *. 
Lit. 'oil'. 

*2. De Thuile de bras (or de coude or de 
poignet), Elbow grease. 

Et il arrache la brosse des mains 
de Vincent. En un tour de main, 
les basanes reluisent. Tu sais, il 
faut y mettre de Vhuile de bras, con- 
clttt le vieux (E. PSIOHARI, L'Appel 

See Marianne (Farrere). 
*3. Huile, de cotret, Beating, * stirrup oil * 
e.g. Donner dc Vhuile de cotret a quel- 
qu'un, To give some one a thrashing. 
Lit ' oil of stick *. 

*4. Les huiles, Official, important person- 
ages, big pots, (military} Brass Hats. 
Eire dans les Miles, To be in with the 

Military slang : by allusion to the fact that 
the superior officers are well paid. 

Le prince Szymanowski . . . 
Parait que son grand-pere a ete dans 
les huiles. Les huiles ? C'est-a- 
dire les autorites militaires. ... II 
etait marechal sous le premier Em- 
pire (A. HERMANT, Le Cavalier Hise- 

hills, n.m. A huis clos, With closed doors 
e.g. une audience a huis clos, a case 
heard in camera. 

A legal term. Huis (Lat ostium} is an old 

word meaning the * outer door of a house *. 

huit-reflets, n.m. Tall silk hat, * shiner '. 

huftre, n.f. and adj. 1. Silly person, flat. 

Lit. 'oyster*. Cp. moule. 
2. Gob, spittle. 
niimeur, n.f. 1. Avoir une humeur noire, 

To have a fit of the blues. 
2. Etre d'une humeur massacrante, To be 
in a devil of a temper. 

Bob passait ses apres-midi a se 
disputer avec lui ou a boire avec 
ses interpretes ; et il ne rentrait a 
Auteuil que fort tard et d'une humeur 
massacrante (M. HARRY, La divine 

huppe, adj. (Of people) Bich, of high 
rank, important, tip-top e.g. des gens 
huppes, people of high position, swells, 
Lit 'crested/, 'tufted' (of birds). 

Elle n'avait pour clientes que des 
dames tres huppees (P. VEBER, Les 

See pignon (Gautier). 

^hurf or hurt e ? adj. Fine, first-rate, tip-top, 
slap-up e.g. C'est hurfe, That's AL 
This word, also written urf or urfe, is a 
modification of urpino, itself a corruption of 
rupin (SAIN&AJST, Les Sources de I' Argot ancien, 
II, pp. 207-14). 

Jaurluberlu, n.m. and adj. Giddy-brains, 
giddy-pate, scatter-brained, harum- 

This word, probably imitative, expresses 
* tumultuous confusion *. It is found in Baif 
(sixteenth century) as an interjection : 

Hurlu burlu. ' tout est confus. 
It occurs as a burlesque name * saint Hurlu- 
burlu e in Rabelais, and is perhaps the same 
word as the English hurly-burly (SAIN^AN, 
Sources indig&nes, n, p. 4). 

Oh ! par exemple, je ne suis pas d 
la hauteur, vous savez. Je suis bete 
comme chou (see Appendix sub ehou) 
. . . hurluberlu (H. BATAILLE, La 
Femme nue). 

Ne partez pas dans une etude 
comme un voyageur hurluberlu qui 
ne sait ou il va et n'a pas la moindre 
idee des etapes (M. PREVOST, V Art 

fei, adv. Vous voyez d'tci 
just imagine (picture). 

You can , 

Un jour la Perrier sort sur le pas 
de sa porte : il etait temps. Un 
pen plus la Gagnarde jetait ses 
epluchures chez elle. Vous voyez 
$ici la colere de la Perrier (J. j 
BEHARD, Les Cloportes). \ 

Voyez-vous d'ici nos deux tetes, 
quand vous viendriez m'inviter pour 
la premiere valse ? (C. FARRERE, 
Dix-sept Histoires de Marins}. 
idee, n.f. *1. Very small quantity e.g. 
Boire une idee de rhum 9 To take a drop 
of rum. Obliguer une idee a gauche, 
To slant slightly to the left. 



2. A-t-on idee de . . . (e.g. d'une chose 
pareille) ? Did you ever hear of (suck 
a thing) ? On ri*a pas idee de cela, 
You never heard of such a thing, It's 
something extraordinary (shocking). 
Similarly : En voila une idee ! Well, I 
never ! Did you ever hear of such a 
thing ! 

A-t-on idee cfune feuille de chou 
pareille, Sir Edwards ? ajouta-t-elle 
(T. GATTTIER, Militona). 

See crevant 1 (Aicard), esforouf (f )er 
2 (Mrbeau), fagoter 2 (Hennequin). 

3. Faire a, son idee e.g. II fait tou jours a 

son idee, He follows his own sweet will. 

4. Donner des idees a quelqu'un, To in- 

spire a person with amorous thoughts. 

Avoir encore des idees, Not to he dead 

to amorous desires. 

Dame / . . . N'est-ce pas ? . . . 
Un homme tout seul, et qui a encore 
des idees ... (0. MIRBEAU, Le 
Journal cfune Femme de CJiambre). 

5. Avoir une idee de derriere la tete, To 

have a lurking suspicion. 

6. /Se faire des idees, To imagine things. 
illico, adv. Immediately, there and then. 

From the Latin. 

Anatole avait demande un auto- 
mobile pour ses deplacements, et, 
illico, Favait obtenu (GYP, Miche). 
impair, n.m. Blunder e.g. Faire (Com- 
mettre} un impair, To make a blunder, 
to put one's foot in it. 
The full phrase is Faire un double impair, 
from the game jouer d pair ou impair, in 
which one has to guess if the objects hidden in 
a person's closed hand are even or odd in 
number. Faire un double impair is to pick 
an odd number twice (in mistake). 

Et, soyez tranquilles ! . . . Elle 
y arrivera ! . . . Pas une faute, je 
vous dis, pas un impair (L. DELARTJE- 
MARDRTJS, Douce Moitie). 
Unpayable, adj. Comical, very funny, 
priceless e.g. C'est impayable, It's a 
capital (rich) joke. II est impayable, 
ce type-Id / That fellow is a card ! 
Lit. ' too precious to be paid for *. 

Et puis, j'etais impayable dans les 
roles de f ausses ingenues, vous savez, 
la petite fille vicieuse qui mystifie 
les vieux (L. FRAPIE, La Boite aux 

imperiale, n.f. Imperial (beard), little 

tuft of hair under the lower lip. 
Elliptical for une barbe d I'impfriale, the 
fashion having been set by the Emperor 
Napoleon HE. 


impermeable, n.m. Waterproof coat, 


importance, d% adv. Strongly, vigorously, 
in fine style, with a vengeance 
e.g. Eosser quelqu'un d'importance, To 
give one a fine thrashing. Tancer 
quelqu'un $ importance, To rebuke one 
soundly. Moucher quelqu^un $ im- 
portance, To put a person in his place, 
to snub one soundly, to tell a person 
off properly. 

J'ai la conviction qu'il ignore tout 
de . . . de mes petites histoires des 
debuts. S'il affirme qu'il les con- 
nait, rabrouez-le (' snub him ') ff im- 
portance (J. PELLERIN, La Dame de 
. leurs Pensees). 

See tSte 16 (Lichtenberger). 
impossible, 1. adj. Odd, queer,extrava- 
gant e.g. avoir des gouts impossibles, 
to have queer tastes. Tenir des dis- 
cours impossibles, To make wild 

Quand Eric lui souhaita le bon- 
soir, elle repondit : II est une heure 
impossible ! (A. HERMANT, Le joyeux 

2. n.m. A T impossible nul n'est tenu, 
There is no doing impossibilities, The 
best can do no more. 
index, n.m. Etre a V index, To be for- 
bidden, prohibited. Mettre a Vindex, 
To forbid, prohibit, boycott. 
By allusion to the Index Expurgatorius or 
Index librorum prohibztorum, a list of books 
compiled by order of the Pope and which 
Roman Catholics are forbidden to read. 

Le telephone a apporte ici un 
ordre de greve. Les femmes feront 
le travail abandonne. ^Alors, c'est 
la mise a I' index ( e boycotting '), 
le sabotage ('wilful damaging of 
machinery '), les machines brisees, 
le feu a 1'usine peut-etre (BRIEITX, 
La Femme seule), 

indiqil6, adj. Eire tout indigue (pour), To 
be the very (the obvious) person (or 
thing) (for). 

Je voulais naturellement rame- 
ner cette gosse chez ses parents. 
Naturellement ! Et je Tai ramenee 
chez moi ! Naturellement ! N'est- 
ce pas ? Faute de parents, j'etais 
tout indigue (C. FABRERE, Quatorze 
Histoires de Soldats). 

II y a un pan de mur bien nu, bien 
vide, bien triste, derriere Fautel, 
dans notre chapelle de la Vierge* 




La place est toute prete, tout indi- 
quee pour un bean tableau une 
Nativite, par exemple (F. COPPEE, 
Le Tableau d'lUgUse}. 

- individu, n.m. Chacun soigne son in- 
dividu, Everyone looks after (takes 
care of) number one. 

infect, adj. "Utterly bad, vile, putrid 
e.g. un type infect, a putrid fellow. 
Un temps infect, Beastly weather. Un 
cigare infect, A rank cigar. Un Hire 
infect, A worthless book. Un infect 
individu, A contemptible individual. 
Lit. 'foul*, 'tainted', 'stinking*. 
intelligence, n.f. 1. D' 'intelligence e.g. 
Eire $ intelligence, To act in concert, 
to be hand and glove together. Un 
regard (Un sourire} d' 'intelligence, A 
glance (smile) of complicity. 

Ces effrontes pillards depouillaient 
leur patrie et leur prince sans du 
moins etre d* intelligence avec les 
ennemis du royaume (A. FRANCE, 
Le Mannequin d' Osier}. 

Forrestier echangeait avec sa 
femme des regards d* intelligence 
(MATJPASSANT, Bel- Ami}. \ 

2. Etre (Vivre) en bonne (or par/aite} in- 
telligence (avec quelqu'un}, To be (live) 
on good (excellent) terms (with some 

Re"gine est la femme de Henri. 

Nous n'y pouvons rien, si ce n'est 

de vivre en bonne intelligence avec 

elle (BRIETJX, Suzette}. 

Intert, n.m. Avoir un inter et en jen, To 

have an axe to grind. 
intransigeant, n.m. Politician of extreme 
opinions, who will not make any conces- 
sion, will not sacrifice an iota of his 
programme, a * diehard '. The reverse 
of an opportuniste. 

*introdllire a vb. tr. L'introduire a quelqu'un, 
To take a person in, to cod a person 
e.g. Faut pas essay er de me Vintro- 
duire! It's no good trying it on with 
me ! 

Cp. mettre 2. 

*itou, adv. Also, likewise, ditto e.g. Et 
(puis) moi itou, And me too. 
From the Old French itel (Latin Me talis). 

Elle peut bien faire ce qu'elle 
voudra . . . et moi itou (J. H. 
BOSNY, Harthe}. 

jafcoter, vb, intr. To chatter, jabber. 

Originally used of certain birds in the sense 
of to utter cries as they shake their jabot or 
' crop *. 

Qu'est-ce que vous avez done a 
jaboter ainsi, questionna Silvere (M. 
HARRY, La divine Chanson}. 
faeasser, vb. intr. = jaboter. 

The verb was originally used of the magpie, 
and according to the D.Gf. seems to be derived 
from the proper name Jacques, the diminutive 
of which, jacquette, is jokingly applied to the 

Jacques, proper name. *1. Faire le Jac- 
ques, (a} To play the fool. 

Si on reussit, on sera des hommes, 
mais pour reussir, faut pas faire les 
Jacques (J, H. BOSNY, Dans les 

(b} To try (vainly) to be funny eg. 
Ne fais pas le Jacques / Chuck being 
funny I 

Jacques and Jean, like other very common 

Christian names, have from a very early time 

been used as nicknames, to denote stupidity or 

simplicity. Montaigne in his Essais wrote: 

"Chaque nation a quelques noms qui se 

prennent, je ne sais comment, en mauvaise 

part ; et & nous, Jehan, Guillaume, Benoist/' 

2. Jacques Bonhomme ; see focmhomme 2. 

*jaegueter or jaeter, vb. intr. and tr. To 

speak (especially with self-possession, 

' cheek ') ; to tell e.g. jacter un 


Jacqueter or jaqueter had the force of jacasser 

in Old French ; see note to Jacasser. 

Le pere Bignard ne se genait pas 
pour en jacter monts et merveilles ( J. 
RICHEPIST, Truandailles). 
jamais, n.m. Au grand jamais or Jamais, 
au grand jamais, Emphatic form for : 
Never ; Never again ; Never, no, 

jambe, n.f. *1. Avoir les jambes en 
manche de veste or en forme de haricots 
verts, To be bowlegged. 
*2. Avoir les jambes en pate de foie, To 
shake with fear, to be funky, to have 
the wind up. 

*3. Avoir les jambes de (or en] coton 9 To 
have weak legs. 

Le vieux marquis s'etait leve avec 
peine. Bouleverse, les mains moites 
et les jambes en coton, il cherchait, 
sans y parvenir, a comprendre ce qui 
se passait (G-YP, Miche}. 
*4 Avoir une jambe de laine, (a} To have a 
weak leg, a gammy leg ; (6) To be a 
lazy person. 




5. Cela (Qa] me fera une belle jambe! 

(ironical) I won't be better off than 
before ! A fine (fat) lot of good that 
will do me \ Cela (Qa) vous ferait une 
belle jambe J A lot of good that will do 
you ! Comment cela me fait-il une 
belle jambe ? or Comment cela me rend-il 
la jambe plus belle ? How much better 
off am I for it ? 

Variant : Cela ne lui rend pas la jambe mieux 
iaite ' * And a lot of good that will do him ! ' 
* He is no better off for that 1 ' The phrase 
alludes to the practice, in days when breeches 
"were worn, of stuffing one's stockings if one 
happened to have thin legs; this device 
gave one de belles jambes, but those in the 
know were not deceived and would say ironi- 
cally, 0m, oui, cela lui fait une belle jambe. 
Mais songe done ! . . . tu que- 
teras aveo une petite duchesse ! 
Ben, ca in* fera une belle jambe / 
(GYP, Les Froussards). 

Enfin, mon brave homme, vous 
etes un heros . . . quoi ! (Ja ne me 
fait pas la jambe plus belle (0. MIE- 
BEATJ, Le Portefeuille). 

6. Jouer (or Tricoter) des jambes, To take 
to one's heels. Cp. 12. 

7. Jouer quelqu'un sous (or par-dessous 

or par-dessous la) jambe. To beat 
cleverly or easily. Cp. 11. 
Jouer quelqu'un sous (or par-dessous la) jambe 
or Passer la jambe d quelqu'un denotes lit. 
donner un croe-en-yambe d quelqu'un, i.e. 'to 
trip a person up'. Fig. these expressions 
signify to obtain an advantage over a person 
by doing him an ill turn in the eyes of 
influential people. 

Permettez-moi de vous temoigner 
mon admiration pour votre habttete 
. . . wus avez joue ces droles-la sous 
Oendre de M. Poirier). 

Vos amants ? Vous les avez joues 
par-dessous la jambe et ils n'ont 
jamais franchi le seuil de votre 
chambre ! (G. LEROITX, La farouche 

*8. La jambe ! What a bore ! You bore me ! 
Dry up ! Cp. 13. 

II repondit avec lassitude : Ah ! 
Za jambe I (C. EL HIRSCH, Le Tigre et 

9. Les jambes lui entrent dans le corps, He 
is thoroughly worn out. 

10. N'aller que d'une jambe e.g. Cela 
(L'affaire) ne va que d'une jambe t 
Things are going badly, are hanging 

11. Par-dessous la jambe 9 Easily, without 
effort, or scornfully, off-handedly 
e.g. Trailer quelqu'un (or quelque chose) 
par-dessous la jambe, Not to show any 
consideration for a person (or thing). 
Faire quelque chose par-dessous la 
jambe, To do a thing with the greatest 
ease (or carelessly). Cp. 7. 

Les Bocho, qui traitaient la Ban- 
ban par-dessous la jambe, mainten- 
ant lui offrirent pourtant un cassis 
dans leur loge (ZOLA, L'Assommoir). 

Ces menues affaires-la, il les 
traite negligemment, comme "par- 
dessous la, jambe" (0. MIKBEAU, 

12. Prendre ses (or les) jambes a son cou t 
To take to one's heels. Cp. 6. 
Iattr6 remarks : " On a dit au XVe siScle : 
ployer ses jambes et s'en aller. Ne serait-ce 
pas la Torigme de la locution ? Fhomme qui 
s'en va, qui s'enfuit, ploie ses jambes, comme 
le porteballe qui s'en va ploie ses marchandises 
et les met & son cou (le porteballe sc nona- 
maitsouvent un. porte-a-cou)." Perhaps the 
expression is merely an allusion to the move- 
ments of a person who, as he runs away and 
raises his feet, seems as if he wants to prendre 
ses yambes d son cou. 

Le jeune garcon, epouvante, avait 
pris les jambes a son cou (C. DBR- 
ENKES, La Guenille). 

*13. Tenir la jambe a quelqu'un, To bore a 
person. Cp. 8. 

Tous ces visites 1'importunaient et 
rinquietaient. Ont-ils fini de me 
tenir la jambe? se plaignait-il 
devant Valerie (C. VAUTEL, Mon 
Gure chez les Pauvres). 

14. Tir&r la jambe, To limp. 

H etait pale de fatigue, et tirait la 
jambe a faire pitie (A. DAUDET, Le 
Petit Chose). 

See mince (Champsaur). 

15. Tirer dans les jambes a quelqu'un, To 
run counter to a person's plans, to do 
some one an ill turn. 

Je ne m'etais pas trompe, 
songeait Francis, il y a du cur6 
la-dessous ... Ah ! monsieur 
Tabbe, vous me tirez dans les jambes / 
eh bien ! a bon chat bon rat ! nous 
verrons qui aura le dernier (A. 
THETTEIET, Sauvageonne). 
*jamber, vb. tr. To bore. 

Cp. jambe 8 and IS. 

lardiner, vb. tr. To criticise, ran down. 
Lit. ' to garden *. A modem synonym for 
fccher and dSblner. Cp. pierre 2. 
*jar or jars, n.m. *1. Slang. 


220 jeter 

*2. Entendre le jar(s), To be knowing, up 

to snufL 

*3. Devider le jar(s) 9 To (be able to) talk 
slang, to speak the cant of thieves, to 
' patter flash '. 
An abbreviation of jargon. 
jaser, vb. intr. Faire jaser quelgu'un 
e.g. On le fit jaser, They made him 
betray his secrets, They pumped him. 
Lit. *to chatter'. 

*jaspiner, vb. intr. To talk, chatter. 
Jaspiner bigorne = devlder le jar(s). 
An old jargon term which, has passed into 
popular and provincial speech. Its primitive 
force is yapp&r, ' to yelp ' (Norman yapiner). 

Je compte sur votre visite, ami de 
jaspiner ensemble plus commode- 
ment (FLAUBERT, Correspondence). 
jaune. 1. n.m. Les jaunes, Blacklegs 
(in a strike), rats, ratters. 
Les Jaunes was the name originally given to 
workers* syndicates opposed to the revolu- 
tionary syndicates called Les Rouges. 
*2. adj. Eire peint en jaune, To be de- 
ceived by one's wife. 

Elle plaignait son frere, ce Jean- 
jean ( c ninny *) que sa femme peig- 
nait en jaune de la tete aux pieds 
(ZoLA, L* Assommoir}. 
3. adv. Hire jaune, To laugh on the 
wrong side of one's mouth, to laugh a 
forced laugh e.g. II Tit jaune, His 
laugh rings false. 

Bile is yellow, and bilious persons have a 
yellow complexion, are apt to suffer from 
jaundice. People who suiter from this ill are 
otten sullen and morose and look upon every- 
thing wtli a ' jaundiced " eye, so that the 
word jaune has come to be used to denote 
this disposition. Thus il rit jaune implies 
that a person laughs but has at the same 
time a sullen or sulky air. 

Ce fut naturellement avec un rire 

jaune que les Nrana Brocard accu- 

eillirent cette nouveHe aussi f acheuse 

qu'inattendue (A. THEUBIET, Flame). 

*jaunet, n.m. Gold coin, ' yellow- boy '. 

Zackmeyer, sur un coin de table, 
nous aligna done quatre jaunets (G. 
COURTELINE, La Pendule). 
Javanais, n.m. Name given to a purely 
conventional type of slang which en- 
joyed a certain vogue about 1860 in 
the lower strata of the demi-monde. 
It consisted in tacking on to every syllable 
of a word an additional one (especially at) or 
t>a hence the name of javanais or langue de 
Java) in order to make one's conversation 
unrecognisable to the non- initiated. Thus 
the word oiseau became avoisaveau, bonjour 
became bavonyavur, etc. A similar process is 
sometimes used in English by schoolchildren. 
Jean., proper name. 1. C'estGros-Jeanqui 

veut en remontrer a son cure, It's like 
Hodge trying to teach the parson how 
to preach ; One does not teach one's 
grandmother to suck eggs. 
Gros-Jean is the nickname for the foolish 
but bumptious peasant. The expression is 
generally applied to one who wishes to give 
information or advice to a person who is 
wiser or more skilful than himself. 

2. Redevenir (or Eire) Gros-Jean comme 
devant, To be no better off than one 
was before, in spite of all one's efforts. 
Cp. note to 1. Used of a person who has 
been rich, or has held a high position, but 
has fallen from his high rank ; or of one who 
has lost an illusion he once entertained. 
The popularity of the phrase is due to La 
Fontaine's use of it in the f&bl&,LaLaitire et 
l& Pot au Lait: 

Chacnn songe en veillant : il n'est rien de 

plus dous; 
Une flatteuse erreur emporte alors nos 

ames; . . . 
Quelque accident fait-il que je rentre en 

Je suis gros-Jean comme devant. 

Du jour ou j'aurai ete assez niais 
pour me ruiner et redevenir Jean 
comme devant, il n'y aura pas assez 
de pierres dans les carrieres Mont- 
martre pour me les jeter a la tete 
(DUMAS fils, La Question d : 'Argent). 

Je sortis de chez lui Gros-Jean 
comme j'y etais entre, les mains 
vides et I'esprit terriblement inquiet 
(G. COURTELINE, Ah ! Jeunesse). 

3. jean jean, n.m. Simpleton, ninny. 
See note to Jacques. 

La blanchisseuse, des la premiere 
nuit, s'en etait allee retrouver son 
ancien epoux, aussitot que ce jean- 
jean de Coupeau avait ronfle (ZoLA, 

See jaune 2 (Zola). 
jeanBeton, n.f. Servant-girl at an inn, 

with free-and-easy ways. 
je-m'en-fieMsme (or -foutisme), n.m. 
The philosophy of utter indifference, 
See se ficher.^ 

II est enervant, ce jeune camar- 
ade avec son mutisme, son je-m'en- 
fichisme ! (M. NADAUD, Un Bap- 

}e-ni*en-fichiste, n.m. and adj. Casual 

fellow, happy-go-lucky sort of person. 

jeter, vb. tr. *1. En jeter un coup, To 

make an effort e.g. Allons, jetez-en un 

coup / Come now, get on with it (put a 

jerk or some vim into it) ! 

*2. N'en jetez plus (la cour est pleine) I 




Don't go on, that'll do ! Assez ! n'en 
jetez (n'en jette) plus ! Come off it ! 
Draw it mild ! 

Lit. ' Don't throw any more (the courtyard Is 
full) I * This expression is generally addressed 
(usually ironically) to a person who is 
lavish of praise or compliments. 

Assez ! Assez ! Grace ! N*en 
jetez plus f Et changeons d'entre- 
tien (P. VEBER, Les Eentrees). 

A vous voir, comme cela, vous 
avez I'air d'une poseuse, d'une flirt- 
euse, d'une pecore . . . Merci, n'en 
jetez plus ! (BRIETJX, Le Bourgeois 
aux Champs}. 
*3. ga, c'est jete / WeU said ! That's the 

style ! 
jeu, n.m. 1. A beaujeu, beauretour, One 

Jood turn deserves another. 
eau jeu e.g. Vous avez beau (or bon) 
jeu, (lit.) You have a good hand (at 
cards) ; (fig.) You have the advant- 
age, a fine opportunity, an easy job, 
You do not meet with any opposition, 
It is easy for you to do it. Je vous 
donne beau jeu, (lit.) I give you good 
cards ; (fig.) I give you a good oppor- 
tunity, I play into your hands. See 
also 10. 

L'on a beau jeu, quand on avance 
que Dieu ne peut pas se prouver 
comnie le jour, comme la nuit, 
comme 1'homme (L. CLADEL, Pierre 

3. Gela (or Oe) n'est pas de jeu ! That 

(That trick) is not fair, is not cricket ; 
You are not playing the game. 

4. C'est vieux jeu, That is (quite) old- 
fashioned, out-of-date. Une personne 
vieux jeu, A back-number. Cp. nou- 
veau jeu, new-fashioned, latest model. 

C'est un medecin de campagne 
tres vieux jeu, tout a fait rococo, 
mais non sans savoir (GYP, MicJie). 

See coup 29 (Lavedan). 

5. Eire a deux de jeu e.g. Nous sommes a 

deux de jeu, We are even ; We are a 
match for each other ; Two can play 
at that game. 

6. Jouer gros jeu, (lit.) To play for high 

stakes ; (fig.) To risk very much in an 

H finit par m'introduire dans une 
maison ou Von jouait gros jeu (V. 
CHERBTTLIEZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

1. Le jeu ne (or n'en) vaut pas la chandelle, 
The game is not worth the candle. 

An allusion to the times when candles were 
dear, and when bourgeois families, for reasons 
of economy, used to gather together in the 
evening to play games and placed a part of 
the winnings under the candlestick in order 
to defray the cost of lighting. If the sum 
was inferior to the outlay, one would say Le 
jeu n'en vaut pas la chand&lle. 

Monsieur a son art, il ne peut se 
distraire qu'a coup sur, quand le jeu 
en vaut la chandelle (H. LAVEDAN, 
Gens de Maison). 

8. Rentrer dans le jeu de quelqu'un e.g. 
Je ne rentrais pas dans son jeu, I did 
not fall in with his plans, I wasn't 
having any. 

9. Se piquer au jeu, To get excited, to 
warm up, to go on in an enterprise in 
spite of all obstacles. 

10. Voir beau jeu e.g. On verra beau jeu, 
There will be the deuce to pay, We 
shall see fine sport. 

See metier (Cherbuliez). 

11. Voir clair dans le jeu- de quelqifun 
e.g. Je vois clair dans son jeu, I see 
through his little game. 

jeunesse, n.f. *1. Unejeunesse, A young 
girl, a lass, lassie. 

This use of the abstract for the concrete goes 
back to the sixteenth century, and Racine 
used it in LesPlaideurs (Til, 4) " Je .suis tout 
r6joui de voir cette jeunesse.** 

Je decouvris une jeunesse qui etait 
en service chez Deboultot, de Cau- 
ville (MAUPASSANT, Histoire vraie). 
II faudra venir me voir, ma petite 
. . . J'aime les jeunesses, moi (0. 
MIRBEATJ, Le Journal d^une Femme 
de Ghambre). 

See crampon 1 (Daudet). 
'2. 11 faut que jeiinesse se passe, Youth 
must have its fling, Boys will be boys. 
job, n.m. *1. Abbreviation of jobard. 
*2. Monter le job a quelqu'un, (a) To take a 
person in, to cod, humbug; (b) To 
excite the anger of, work upon, work 
up. Se monter le job, (a) To enter- 
tain groundless hopes, to delude one- 
self ; (6) To work oneself up. 
Analogous in origin to the old jargon expres- 
sion battrej'ob(e), ' to dissemble ', * to play the 
simpleton' (Middle French and dialectal 
yobe, ' fool ', ' gullible person ' ; cp. jobard). 

C'est la faute de ce journal, qui 
m'a monte le job (P. VEBEE, Les 

C' etait Men la peine, vraiment ! 
Et il y avait la de quoi se monter le 
job, nom d'un cMen / (J. BJCKEPIN, 




jolbard, n.m. and adj. Gullible fellow 
See note to jo"b 2. 

D'autant plus que tu es sensible 
jobard quelquefois, par consequen 
facile a rouler ('take in') (A 
SALMON, C'est une belle lille /). 

See esquinter 2 (a) (Maupassant) 
iofcarder, vb. tr. To dupe, take in, fool. 

Prom Jobard. 

joint, n.m. Trouver (or Saisir] le joint, To 
find the solution of a difficulty, to 
find the best way of doing a thing, to 
find the proper move. 
Lit. 'to find the proper joint* (in carving 

Mon grand-pere, qui n'etait pas 
une bete, trouva le joint (A. MATTKOIS, 
Les Silences du Colonel Bramble). 
Dans 1'existence, faut saisir 
joint . . . c'est comme celui qui 
veut decouper un poulet, n'est-ce 
pas ? (C. H. HIESCH, " Petit " Louis, 

joli, n.m. C'est du joli / (ironic) A fine 
thing indeed ! A nice state of things ! 
It is shameful ! Cp. propre. 

La merciere m'a donne des ren- 
seignements sur la maison. Qa 
n'est pas du joli (0. MIRBEATJ, Le 
Journal $une Femme de Ohambre). 
joliment, adv. Extremely, awfully e.g. 
Je suis joliment content, I'm jofiy well 

On chuchotait pres de ltd : " II est 
joliment fute, ce gamin ; on voit 
hien qu'il vient de Paris " (A. 
DATJDET, Jack). 

* Joseph, proper name. Faire son (or le) 

Joseph, To affect chaste, timid, vir- 
tuous airs, not to accept a woman's 

By allusion to the Bible story of Joseph and 
Potiphar's wife (Genesis xxxix.), the name of 
Joseph has become synonymous with a chaste 
young man, timid in love. 

S'il n'avait pas rapplique ( e turned 
up '), ma petite, j'aurais du faire 
le Joseph vis-a-vis de sa femme 
(C. H. HIKSCH, Nini Godache). 

* Josephine, proper name. Faire sa Jose- 

phine, is said of a woman who puts on 

virtuous airs, who plays the prude. 

Modelled on faire son Joseph. Variants are 

faire sa Sophie, faire sa Julie. 
*joue 5 n.f. Se caler les joues ; see ealer 1. 
jouer, vb. tr. JEnjouer = Enjouer un air ; 

see air 2. 
jour, n.m. 1. (A) bon jour bonne O3uvre, 

The better the day, the better the 

2. A chaque jour suffit sa peine, Sufficient 
unto the day is the evil thereof. 

See autre 2 (Brieux). 

3. A un de ces jours / I hope to see you 

again soon ! 

4. Cerf est pas tousles jours fete: seefgte2. 

5. C'est le jour et la nuit, They couldn't be 
less alike. 

6. Donner ses huit jours a un(e) dometigues, 
To give a servant a week's notice. 

Andree f eignit de ne pas entendre, 
elle n'avait point d'autorite a Toffice 
et Dieu sait si elle avait, au debut, 
re9u des " huit jours " (P. MAB- 
GTJEBITTB, L'Embusque). 

7. Du jour au lendemain, At a moment's 

See main 12 (Theuriet). 

8. II y a beau jour (que . . .), It is long 
ago (a good long time) (since . . .), 
Long, long ago ! 

Mais il y a beau jour gw'elle ne 
pense plus a vous (H. LAVEDAIST, Le 
Marquis de Priola). 

9. Le jour de Van, New Year's Day. 
Elliptical for le premier jour de Van. 

10. Les jours se suivent et ne se ressemblent 
pas, There is no telling what the mor- 
row may bring forth. 

11. Vivre au jour le jour, To live from 
day to day, from hand to mouth. 

journee, n.f. 1. Aller en journee, To go 
out to work by the day, to char. 

Elle en avait assez d'aller en 
journee chez les uns, chez les autres 
(J. REGARD, Les Cloportes). 
2. Toute la sainte journee, The whole 
blessed (or livelong) day. 

Qu*est-ce que vous fichez toute la 
sainte journeel (H. LAVEDAN, Le 
nouveau Jeu). 

Joyeux, n.m. Soldier serving in the 
bataillon d'Afrique, punishment regi- 
ment in Africa. See bat* d'af. 

M. de Langeron, incorpore aux 
Joyeux, y servait avec degout la 
Republique (C. H. HIKSOH, Le Tigre 
et Coquelicot). 

See tiffes (Harry), 
jugeotte, n.f. Gumption, * nous ' e.g. 
Avoir de la jugeotte, To be sensible, to 
have * savvy '. 
Jules, proper name. Chamber-pot, jerry. 
The word comes from military slang, in which 
it denotes the can or tub used in the latrines ; 
whence pincer (or tirer] I'oreille d Jules, passer 




la jambe d Jules, to empty and clean these tubs 

one of the duties in barracks. Cp. Thomas. 
* Julie, proper name. Faire so, Julie, To 

put on prudish, affected manners. 

Cp. Josephine and Sophie. 
jupe, n.f. Eire pendu aux jupes de sa 

mere, To be tied to one's mother's 

Jurer, vb. intr. 1. Jurer avec, Not to go 

with, to clash, to be in violent contrast 

with e.g. Le vert jure avec le bleu, 

Green does not go with blue, clashes 

with blue. 

Modestes vStements de la vie 
ordinaire dont la pauvrete jurait avec 
1' elegance de la toilette de bal (MATT- 
PASSANT, La Parure). 
2. II ne faut jurer de rien, Anything may 

happen, You never can tell, One must 

not be too sure of anything, Never 

prophesy unless you know. 

See note to fontaine. 

Vous avez eonnu la premiere 
rupture, bon. J'imagine que vous 
n'ignorez pas la seconde, autrement 
dit la definitive. Je connais la 
seconde. Pourquoi ne repetez-vous 
pas, apres moi : " La definitive " ? 
Parce qu'iZ ne faut jurer de rien 
(R. BOYLESVE, Souvenirs du Jardin 

jus, n.m. *1. Coffee. 

Lit. * juice ', ' gravy '. Military slang, which 
has passed into popular speech. 

Le Milord dejeunait d'un croissant 
qu'il accompagnait d'un jus dans 

un petit bar (F. CARGO, Les Inno- 

2. Electric current e.g. Les tramways en 
panne; manque de jus, Tramways 
breakdown ; failure of electricity. 

3. (Motorists' slang) Petrol. 

*4. Avoir du (Jeter un) jus, To possess 

elegance, dash, to be handsome, 

elegant, chic. 

A premier ?us in military slang denotes a 

* first-class soldier '. 

Jetejurequetu serais mieux. . . . 

Qa et une belle robe a rayures, tu 

jetterais un jus (B. DoBGEiiiJS, Saint 


*5. Avoir du jus de navet dans les veines, To 

be lacking in energy, to be a e sappy *. 

Lit. * to have turnip-juice in one's veins '. 

Cp. sang 1. 
*6. Jus de reglisse, A nigger. 

Lit. ' liquorice- juice *. 

*7. (En) Valoir le jus, To "be worth while. 
*8. T mettre du jus, To put some vim into 

9. C'estjus vert et vert jus (or verjus) It's 

six of one and half a dozen of the other. 

Cp. bonnet 1. 
jusquaufooutiste, n.m. Un jusquaubout- 

iste, A whole-hogger, a die-hard. 

That is, one who is prepared to go jusqu'au 

bout, * to the end *. Variant: jusquauboutien ; 

in Marshal MacMahon's orders to the army 

on July 9, 1877, occurred the sentence: 

J'irai jusqu'au bout. The newspapers which 

supported the Marshal's policy were ironically 

called jusquauboutiens. 
Juste, adv. Gomme de juste, As is right, 

Rightly enough. 


kasfoa or kasfoafo, n.f. = casba. 
kif-kif, adj. and adv. Same, equivalent, 
just like e.g. C'est kif-kifoT C'est Uf- 
kif bourricot (or bourriquot), It's six of 
one and half a dozen of the other, It's 
much of a muchness. 
IFrom the Algerian patojs kif-Jsif, 'similar 
to% and Jcif-Mf bourriquot, 'similar to a 
donkey '. The expression has penetrated into 
popular speech from military slang via the 
working classes. 

Oh ! mon Dieu I . . . un peu plus 
ou un peu moins ! . . . C'est kif- 
Mf, allez ! (GYP, La Cfinguette). 

Je propose 1'abbe Guitrel, mais 
1'abbe Guitrel ou I'abb6 Lantaigne, 
tfest bonnet blanc et blanc bonnet, ou 
comme dirait notre oncle, c*e$t Jcif- 
Mf bourricot / (A. EBAKOE, HAnneau 

n.m. Neck, throat e.g. Serrer le Jcihi 
a quelqu'un, To strangulate a person. 
Abbreviation of guiquirigui, ' cock-a-doodle- 

klaxon, n.m. Electric motor-horn. 

From the name of a special make of such 

koxnoff, adj. Fine, topping, first-rate. 
This word, a variation of chocnosoff, enjoyed a 
certain vogue in Balzac's time, especially 
among the boMmes and artists. Russian 
names in -noff and -soff of a more or less 
fanciful nature e.g. KoTcosnoff and Choco- 
nosoff were the starting-p^oint for words 
denoting the elegance or chic peculiar to the 
Russian nobles of the middle of the nineteenth 

krach or krack, n.m. Financial collapse. 
A German borrowing ; the word was applied 
originally to the general collapse of certain 
financial firms in Austria many years ago, 
which caused a great stir in the financial 




Comme ils ont des interets com- 
muns dans dix grosses affaires, 11 
attend patiemment le krach qui lui 
permettra de racheter pour rien la 
part de son ami (B. DORGELES, 

kyrielle, n.f. Long series, string e.g. Une 
kyrielle d* injures (de reproclies], A 
string of insults (reproaches). 

The word formerly meant a 'litany', and 
comes from the ecclesiastical Latin Tcyrie 
(borrowed from the Greek word meaning 
'Lord'), which begins the litany Kyrie, 
eleison (Lord, have pity). 

Je voyais se derouler devant moi 
des kyrielles d'aventures (V. CHER- 
BULIEZ, L'Aventure de Ladislas 

la. *1. Def. article. La is used in popu- 
lar and rustic speech before the 
Christian names of women e.g. la 
Marie. Amongst the people, the wife 
is often denoted by her husband's sur- 
name in the feminine form with the 
addition of the article e.g. la Lam- 
berte, la TMbfmde, the wife of Lambert, 
of Thibaud. 

2. Pron. The pronoun la is found with 
more or less vague force in various 
expressions, which will be found under 
the word in black type e.g. Tu me la 
payeras. II Va echappe (or manque} 
belle. La donner belle a quelqu'un. 
This use is very common in familiar 
and popular speech e.g. Je la troue 
mauvaise (or amere). II ne faut pas 
me la faire. II la connaU dans les 
coins. Tu vas la danser, Je la 
connais, celle-la. Se la eouler douce. 
Although in most cases the la refers to a word 
with vague force like la cfiose, I'affaire, etc., 
it is not always easy to say exactly what is the 
word it represents In certain cases, ho wev er, 
it is possible to determine the origin of this 
la t as in to bailler (donner) belle d quelqu'un , 
see belle 3. 

la, adv. 1. La is frequently used to con- 
vey the idea of abandoning, of indiffer- 
ence and even of disdain and scorn, in 
conjunction with certain verbs e.g. 
laisser la, planter la, en rester Id. 

Madame Lemarie soupira, et, vou- 

lant degager le fils qu'elle gatait : 

Laissons la Victor, dit-elle. II n'a 

rien a voir dans cette affaire (R. 

BAZDT, De toute son Ame). 

2. La is also used to convey a feeling of 

relief after something accomplished, 

with the force of 'There! that's 

done ! ', implying a real or imaginary 

gesture of putting on one side the 

object in question. In conversation it 

may indicate c That's over, at last ', 

* I concede everything, let us say 

no more about it, and leave me 
alone '. 

Ton mariage ? ce mariage ? Est- 

ce vrai ? Eh bien, oui, Id ! (H. 

LAVEDAN, Les Jeunes). 

Et si elle etait ici, ta femme, je 

lui dirais, entends-tu ? " Madame, 

votre mari est degoutant." La! 

(M. PREVOST, Dernieres Lettres de 


3. Since this la serves to underline, as it 
were, what one has just said or done, 
it is naturally intercalated in sentences 
when one wants to stress a certain 
idea, particularly in conjunction with 
mais (see mais 2). 

Tout a Vheure, je vous vois passer 
lentement, 1'air ennuye. . . . Ah ! 
mais la, ce qui s'appelle ennuye ! 
(Gyp, Joies d 1 Amour). 

Et puis, savez-vous ce qui me 
rend tout a fait content, mais la, 
tout a fait ? (H. LAVEDAH, Le 
nouveau Jeu). 

4. La ! La / is used to appease, soothe, 
console, etc. Come ! come ! There 
now, there now ! e.g. La ! La ! 
rassurez-vous / 

5. Oh ! la / la J The force of this excla- 
mation depends on the context and on 
the tone in which it is said. It often 
expresses surprise, impatience, etc., at 
the sight or hearing of something 
exaggerated Dear ! dear ! Oh ! I 
say ! Draw it mild ! etc. 

Vous vous imaginez que c'est une 
lettre d' amour ? Oh / la / la I . . . 
vous n'y &tes pas / (GYP, Geux qui s'en 

See $a 1 (Maupassant), couche 
(Courteline), gages (Cladel), gazouil- 
ler (Zola). 

6. Tout est lti t That's the great thing. 

A present je suis range, je suis 
serieux, je suis un homme legal, un 



mari ! Tout est la / (H. LAVEDAH, 
Le nouveau Jeu}. 

See connattre 3 (Mirbeau). 
*7. Etre (un pen] la, To be all there, to be 
all right (i.e. strong, robust, courage- 
ous, clever, reliable, etc.) e.g. Je suis 
la pour un coup ! You may rely upon 
me ; I'm here if wanted. Mile est un 
peu la, She is a bit of all right. Can 
also be used of things. 

Vous savez, pour la grande vie 
. . . il est un peu la (P. GA VAULT, 
La petite Chocolatie're). 

L'essentiel, i'indispensable, ce 
n'est pas d'avoir un complet propre, 
c'est de posseder un pardessus ** un 
peu la **, qui couvre tout (COLETTE 
WILLY, La Vagabonde}. 
Labadens, n.m. Old school-fellow. 

From the name of a character in a -vaudeville 
by Labiehe, L* Affaire de la JRue de Lourcine. 
lac, n.m. Eire dans le lac, (of a thing or 
person) To be a failure, to go to 
smash, to be in a fix, a hole e.g. Je 
suis dans le lac, I'm done for, I'm in 
the soup (in the cart), It's all up (all 
U.P.) with me. 

Lit. ' to be in the lake '. Cp. the synonymous 
expression 6tr dans le seau (lit. ' to be in the 
laeliage, n.m. Act of forsaking a person. 

From laeher. 

lecher, vb. tr. Ldcher quelqu'un, To leave 
one in the lurch. Ldcher guelgue chose, 
To chuck a thing up. 
Lit. ' to let go of *. 

See earrosse (Coppee), chameau 2 
(Zola), eorde 4 (Champsaur), erin 2 

laeheur, n.m. One who leaves in the lurch 
a person whom he has formerly stood 
From lecher. 

Le Directeur, en effet, M. Negre, 
etait un de ces Idcheurs aimables 
desquels il n'y a pas plus a redouter 
qu'a attendee (G-. CoTOTELninG, Mes- 
sieurs les Ronds-de-Cuir). 
laine, n.f. Se laisser manger la laine sur 
le dos, To let oneself be fleeced, to 
suffer oneself to be eaten out of house 
and home. II ne se laisse pas manger 
la laine sur le dos, He is not the man to 
let himself be made a fool of, He will 
not allow people to take the food out of 
his mouth, He will not tamely submit 
to any imposition. 

Like sheep who allow certain birds to settle 
on their backs and pick their wool off. Fig. 

the phrase is said of a person who lets himself 

be robbed without protesting or patiently 

puts up with annoyances. 
latsse, n.f. Mener quelqu'un en laisse, To 

lead a person by the nose, to hold one 

in leading strings. 

Lit. 'to lead by a leash'. 
laisser, vb. tr. I. Se laisser aller ; see 

alter 6. 

2. Laissez dire, Let people say what they 

3. Laissez-moi faire, Let me do as I like. 

4. Se laisser faire e.g. II se laisse faire, 
He lets people treat him as they like, 
He offers no resistance. 

5. Oela laisse a desirer (or a dire], That is 
unsatisfactory, There is room for im- 
provement, It is not quite the thing. 

6. Je me suis laisse dire que ... I have 
heard, I have been given to understand 
that . . . 

lait,m.m. 1. JBoire du lait, To experience 
keen satisfaction e.g. II boit du lait, 
He is satisfied, happy. 
Lit. ' to drink milk '. Like II avale cela doux 
comme lait, is said of a person who is being 
flattered or praised and shows his pleasure. 
2. II a encore le lait (de nourrice) sur les 
Uvres, is said of a young inexperienced 
fellow : His salad days are not over 
yet. Similarly: n' avoir plus de lait au 
bout du nez, to be no greenhorn. 
Cp. &'i on lui tordait le nez, il en sortirait du lait 
(i.e. du lait de nourrice), a popular expression 
to imply that a young man is still lacking in 
experience of life. 

A tfautres / . . . Je n y ai plus de 

lait au bout du nez, mon petit (GYP, 

Ceutf qui s*en /...). 
laius, n.m. Speech, lecture. Piquer un 
laius, To make a speech, to spout. 
Faire du lams, To speak for speaking's 

This word originated in the slang of the $coU 
poll/technique: in 1804 a course of French 
composition was included in the syllabus, and 
the first subject set by Arnault, the professor 
of literature, dealt with the misfortunes of 
Laius, King of Thebes and father of QEdipus. 
The term and its derivatives soon spread 
among the public, and even supplanted 
the words brouta, broutasser, broutasseur at 
Saint-Cyr, where Brouta was the name of 
another professor. As piquer in the slang 
of the Scole polyteckniyue was equivalent to 
faire, piquer un lalus was first applied to a 
French exercise and then to any kind of 

Un laius sur Tiirimortalite. . . . 

Ne compte pas sur moi pour un laius 

de circonstance (G. BEVAL, Sev- 


Je trouverai 1'inspiration sans pre- 



rrer de lams I J'ai Phabitude de 
parole en public (H. BATAILLE, 
Notre Image). 
laiusser, vb. intr. To make a speech, to 


laiusseur, n.m. Speeehifier, spouter. 
lambin, n.m. and adj. Slow-coach, slow, 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century 
this word was connected with the name of the 
scholar and philologist Denis Lambin (1516- 
1572), the author of numerous commen- 
taries, whose ponderous style, it was said, 
had become proverbial. This etymology was 
put forward for the first time by S<bastien 
Mercier in his Ndologie ou Vocabulaire des 
mots nouveaux (1801), and has been repeated 
ever since by the majority of lexicographers. 
SainiSan (Sources indigenes, li, p. 365) rejects 
this explanation and points out that the word 
is not found in literature before the second 
half of the sixteenth century, when it is met 
with in a Poitevin author with the meaning of 
'sluggard*. Cotgrave (1650) gives 'dolt*, 
'lout*, * foolish lubber*, as some of the 
equivalents. He does not mention the verb 
lambiner, but he lists lambeUiner with the 
explanation ' to gull, deceive, besot, bring into 
a foolish Paradice '. Saine"an is of the opinion 
that lambin is identical with the proper name 
Lambin, a form parallel with Lambel and 
Lambelin. Their common starting-point is 
lambel, i.e. lambeau, 'rag*. This primitive 
meaning, according to him, has undergone 
the analogical influence of the homonym lent, 
' slow ', whence the meaning of * lazy '. 

Eh bien ! monte t'habiller ! Tu 
vas etre en retard. Tu es si lambin 
(H. BERNSTEIN, Le MarcM). 
lambiner, vb. intr. To dawdle. 
Prom lambin. 

Comment ? Tu n'as pas encore 

acheve ta lettre ? J'ai un peu 

lambine, mon oncle, mais je n'ai 

plus que Tadresse a ecrire (B. 

CBJSMIETTX, Le Premier de la Classe). 

*Iampe, n.f. Stomach e.g. 8'en mettre (or 

jS'en coller) plein la lampe, To eat 

greedily, to stuff oneself, to guzzle, to 

blow oneself out. N' * avoir rien dans la 

lampe, To have had nothing to eat. 

See glasse (Rosny). 
*lanee, n.f. Water, rain. 

An old jargon term (properly ranee) from ance 
or anse, which in Old French meant " anguish % 
* anxiety '. " Bans la procedure criminelle du 
passe*, 1'eau servait souvent comme instrument 
de torture : la question a 1'eau anse, tor- 
ture a fini par designer 1'eau elle-mme ** 
(SAiNfiAN, Les Sources de I' Argot ancien, II, 
p. 269). The word has survived in popular 
speech, and is particularly common in army 

lance", adj. 1. II est lance, He is very 
merry or He is slightly intoxicated. 
Un repas plantureux, arrose de 

226 langue 

vins de Touraine aussi capiteux 
que parf urnes ! . . . J'avoue qu'en 
sortant de table, j'etais un peu lance 
(A. THEUBIET, Contes de la Vie 

2. II est ires lance, He is in the swim, He 
is c well away '. 

This is said of one who has got oil in society 
or life. 

Nous traversames le Bois. Bras- 
sac saluait beaucoup de gens, a 
cheval comme ltd, des femmes, des 
clubmen, des militaires. "II rfy 
a pas a dire, pensai-je, il est ires 
lance" (A. CAPTTS, Monsieur veut 

See faire 9 (Zola). 
*lancequ1ner, vb. intr. To rain. 

From lance. 

Landerneau, proper name. Gela fera (or 
II y aura) du bruit dans Landerneau or 
On en parlera a Landerneau, People 
will talk about that ; That'll make a 
pretty fuss in Little Pedlington. 
Of all the French towns which have served as 
a butt for the wit of journalists and writers of 
vaudemttes, Landerneau, a small town near 
Brest, easily holds pride of place (cp. * Wigan ' 
and the English music-halls). The phrase 
Cela iera, du bruit dans Landerneau, said 
of an insignificant event which would pass 
unperceived elsewhere than in a small 
provincial town or will set going the 
tongues of people who have nothing else to 
do, originates in. a comedy by Alexandra 
Duval, entitled Les Hfritiers ou le Naujrage 
(1796). In this play the heirs of the sailor 
Antoine de Kerlebon, whose death seems 
certain, are gathered together in his home, 
near the little town of Landerneau, in order 
to share the spoils. Suddenly Antoine himself 
appears, having miraculously escaped from 
the wreck, and is just in time to thwart his 
unworthy relations and reward the only two 
who have remained faithful to his memory. 
His servant Alain exclaims at the end: 
** Oh 1 le bon tour I Je ne dirai rien, mais 
cela fera du bruit dans Landerneau 1 " 
langue,^./. 1. Avaler sa langue, To keep 
silent, hold one's tongue. 

2. Avoir la langue bien pendue, To have 
the gift of the gab, to have a glib 
(fluent) tongue e.g. Mle, a la langue 
bien pendue, Her tongue is well oiled. 

Je le quittai, me promettant de le 
saisir souvent au passage, afin de 
Tinduire a jaser. Or, la chose me 
fut doublement facile : il avait, 
d'abord, la langue assez bien pendue 
et fort preste . . . (L. CLADEL, Les 

3. Jeter (or Donner) sa langue aux chiens 

(or aux chats or au chien or au chat) t To 



give up guessing, to give it up (of 

riddles, conundmms, etc.). 

Implying that when one cannot reply one's 

tongue is useless and therefore only fit to be 

thrown to the dogs (or cats). 

" Qui viendra nous voir, demain 
dimanche ? " proposa-t-il a la per- 
spicacite de chacune. II les decour- 
agea de chercher : " Donnez votre 
langue au chat, vous ferez mieux ! " 
(0. H. HrascH, Le Cceur de Poup- 
See cheveu 1 (Gyp). 

4. La langue m'a (lui a) fourche or Ma (Sa) 

langue a fourche, I (He) made a slip of 
the tongue, It was a slip of the tongue. 
Fourcher = lit. ' to fork *, * branch off *. 

Ma premiere reforme, mon eher 
gargon. . . . Vous voulez dire mon 
cher Gaston, je pense ? La long 
vous a fourche. Cher Gaston, cher 
gargon . . . c'est tout un (AuaiER ET 
, SANDS ATI, Le Gendre de M. Poirier). 

5. La langue verte, Comprehensive name 
for slang of all kinds. 

La langue verte originally denoted the slang 
of cardsharpers and of gamblers those who 
use the tapis vert, or green cloth which 
covers the gambling-table. The modern 
extended use of the expression is due to 
Alfred Delyau's application of it in the title 
of his Dictionnaire de la langue verte (1866). 

6. Mauvaise langue e.g. Avoir une (or 
Eire) mauvaise langue, To be a scandal- 
monger, slanderer. C*est une mauv- 
aise langue, She (He) is a scandal- 
monger, backbiter. 

7. Ne pas avoir sa langue dans sa pocke, 
To have a ready (glib) tongue, not to 
be at a loss for a reply. 

n ne dit rien parce qu'il y a du 
monde ; mais, a 1'occasion, il n*a pas 
sa langue dans sa poche. . . . Sur- 
tout quand il a bu un petit coup 
(BBIETJX, Le Bourgeois aux Champs). 

8. Prendre langue avec quelqu'un, To get 
talking to a person, to get into conver- 
sation with. 

Pas rigolo le nouveau ! . . . Sais- 
tu ce qu'il lit ? Demande-le-lui 
. . . ga sera une fagon com me une 
autre de prendre langue (M. NADATJD, 
Un Bapteme). 

9. Se mordre la langue, (a) To stop short 
just when one is about to say some- 
thing silly, to bite one's tongue in 
time; (b) To repent what one has 

*lanlaire. Envoyer faire lanlaire, To send 

to Jericho. Alter se faire lanlaire, To 
go to Jericho, to the deuce, about one's 
business -e.g. Va te faire lanlaire !, 
Go to Jericho ! Cp. Va te fairefiche, 
under fieher 2 (d). 

Lanlaire originates in old song-refrains e.g. 
gud Ion la lanlaire, Vogue la gaUre, LanUre, 

J'ai eu beau prendre 1' omnibus, 
le tramway . . . entrer dans des 
magasins, traverser des maisons a 
double issue I Va te faire lanlaire ! 
L'animal me rejoignait toujours (J. 
BICHEPDT, Le Pave). 

II y a des hommes politiques 
qui font des programmes et puis 
qui, une fois au pouvoir . . . va te 
faire lanlaire, mon programme ! (L. 
HALBVY, Les petites Cardinal). 
^lansquiner, vb. intr. = lancequiner. 
lanterner. 1. vb. intr. To waste one's 
time (on trifles), to dilly-dally. 
In Rabelais lanterner has the force of *to 
Titter twaddle ', which is one of the meanings 
he ascribes to lanterne, by allusion to a thing 
which is as empty and as uncertain as the 
flickering light of a lantern (SAI^AN, La 
Langue de Rabelais, II, p. 291). 

Pourvu quo Vingart veuille m' en- 
tendre ! Du reste c'est convenu, je 
ne lanterne pas, je suis rond comme 
une pomme (FLATJBEBT, Madame 

2. vb. tr. To delude or humbug a person 
with empty words. 

Mais oui, des promesses ! On 
connait ga, nous autres. Voila 
vingt ans qu'on nous lanterne avec 
ga, ici (CEOISSET ET FLEBS, Les 
nouveaux Messieurs}. 
lap or lapp(e). See peau 6: 
lapalissade, n.f. Une lapalissade or Une 
verite de La Palisse f An obvious truth 
(of ridiculous simplicity), a truism. 
Jacques de Ghabannes, seigneur de la Palice 
(or Palisse), was one of the most valiant 
captains of the army of Francis I; he was 
killed at the battle of Pavia in 1525. After 
his death, a number of popular songs were 
composed in his honour 3 originating perhaps 
in the following lines : 

Monsieur de la Palisse est mort, 

Est mort devant Pavie : 
Tin. quart d'heure avant sa mort 

II 6tait encore en vie, 
which probably implied that he fought 
bravely till his last hour. Gradually, how- 
ever, as the memory of the captain's brave 
deeds faded from memory, only the naivete" 
of the lines was retained, and similar verses 
were evolved on the same model, so that a 
certain writer, Bernard de la Monnoye, was 
able to collect as many as 51 verses, each of 




which ended with a glaring truism of the 

type exemplified above. Thus arose the 

expression une vrit6 de (Monsieur de) la 

Palisse to denote an evident truth. According 

to certain historians, the above anecdote is 

apocryphal, and it was only in the eighteenth 

century that a fanciful song, which really did 

not concern La Palisse, was applied to him. 

Et a s'arrange. Ou $a ne 

s'arrange pas. Svidemment, La 

Palisse (H. LAVEDAIST, Nocturnes}. 

Si tu ne m'avais pas connn petit, 

je n'aurais pas ete le camarade de 

tes enfants, et si je n'avais pas 

ete le cam . . . Oui, La Palisse ! 

Tiens, mange iin bonbon (H. BAT- 

AILLE, Mam an Colibri). 

lapin, n.m. *1. Un lapin, A cunning or 

smart or plucky fellow. C'est un 

lapin, He's a brave fellow or an artful 

dog or hot stuff. Un rude (or fameux) 

lapin, A strong, fearless fellow, one 

who is c spry *. 

Implying virility, by allusion to the prolific 
qualities of the rabbit. 

Agnppa d'Aubigne, je 1'ai connu 
dans le temps. C'etait un rude 
lapin I (A. ALLAIS, IS Affaire Blair- 

*2. Mon (petit or gros) lapin, Terms of 
endearment. Mon vieux lapin, Old 
chap, old buck. 

3. En lapin e.g. Aller (or Eire or Se 
mettre or Voyager) en lapin, To sit with 
the driver, to ride by the side of the 
coachman, to sit as bodkin. 
En lapin is said of a traveller who sits any- 
where except in the proper place for travellers 
on the steps or beside the ^driver. See 
note to 4. 

Elle va en lapin chaque fois que 
nous sommes nombreux (GYP, Une 

Deux jours plus tard, la limousine 
. . . emportait sur la grand'route 
de Bretagne Raymond Lebigre, Gil- 
berte, Philippe Arnal, la princesse 
Kalidje, et Mahmoud, en lapin a 
cote du chauffeur (A. SALMON, C'est 
une belle Fille /). 

*4. Poser un lapin a quelquSun, JN"ot to keep 
an appointment or rendezvous. 
This expression goes back to the days of 
stage-coach and omnibus drivers, among 
whom un lapin denoted a passenger carried 
illegally, with the intent of defrauding the 
company. Thus a driver would say ' J'ai fait 
aujourd'hui deux lapins ' or ' J'ai pos< deux 
lapins au contrOleur des recettes'. Later 
poser un lapin came to mean f to bilk* or 
not to pay a prostitute, and then its use was 
extended with the general implication of ' not 
to keep a rendezvous *. 

I/oi n'attend que le decret de 
I'Officiel pour filer a P anglais e et 
. . . poser a sa duchesse un de ces 
lapins \ (A. DAXIDET, L'Immortel). 

Ah ca / dit-il a voix haute, est- 
ce que par hasard elle me poserait 
un lapin ? (A. HERMANT, Coutras, 

5. Sentir le lapin, To smell close, fuggy. 

6. (7 est le lapin qui a commence, is said 
ironically in aflusion to a difference or 
fight between a strong man and a weak 
one, when the latter is worsted and 
blamed into the bargain. 

Robert (Phrasdoloyie, p. 461) conjectures that 
the following anecdote is probably the start- 
ing point of this saying : " Le chien d'un 
particulier, passant sur un marche", Strangle 
un lapin dans la boutique d'une fruit ire. 
Quoique Fhomme lui offre dix fois la valeur 
du lapin, la marchande vent 1'emmener chez 
le commissaire. Un gamin, qui a entendu 
la dispute, promet au maitre du chien 
d'affirmer, moyennant un pourboire, que 
c'est le lapin qui a commenceV* 
larbin, n.m. Male servant (in livery), 

The word is generally used contemptuously, 
particularly of valets in big houses, and has 
passed into popular speech from old jargon, 
in which it meant 'beggar' as well as 
'servant*. The primitive meaning of the 
word is * dog % ' beggar * and * dog * being re- 
lated notions, since blind (real or self-styled) 
beggars use dogs to guide them (SAIN^AN, 
Sources indig&nes, I, p. 343). 

Mais retirez votre habit, sacre- 

bleu ! Vous avez l*air d*un larbin 

(MAUPASSANT, Une Soiree). 

: Iard, n.m. Human flesh, body e.g. 

Sauv&r son lard, To save one's bacon. 

Faire du lard, To grow fat in idleness, 

to lie in bed of a morning, to laze 

in bed. Perdre son lard, To become 

thin. Rentrer dans le lard a guelgu'un, 

To pitch (slip) into a person e.g. Je 

vais lui rentrer dans le lard I I'll soon 

set about him ! 

Lit. ' bacon ' j cp. the English use of the word. 
Elle voulait sauver son lard. Elle 
en prenait a son aise et ne donnait 
plus un coup de balai que lorsque 
les ordures manquaient de la faire 
tomber (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
*Iardon, n.m. Baby, brat. 

Lit. ' strip of bacon or pork used to lard meat ' 
(diminutive of lard, * bacon*), 

Est-ce qu'ils ont des lardons, tes 
bourgeois ? Des enfants ? pas un 
seul (H. LAVEDAN, Gens de Maison). 

See autor 2 (Gyp). 
large. Ne pas en mener large, To feel very 


229 lavasse 

small, crestfallen e.g. Entre les gen- 
darmes il n*en menaitpas large, He cut 
a sorry figure between the gendarmes. 
Monseigneur me fait venir a son 
rapport, lui dit le cure*, et j'avoue 
que je n'en mene pas large. J'ai les 
foies, comme nous disions au front 
(C. VATJTEL, Mon Cure chez les 

Moi, je ne suis pas hostile a la 
religion, mais je ne me vois pas me 
eonfessant. . . . On dit 9a, mon 
gros. Et puis, quand on se sent 
mal, mais la vraiment pas bien . . . 
on envoie le chasseur chercher une 
soutane au petit galop et on n'en 
mene pas large (H. LAVEDAST, 

See nord (Willy). 

*largeur, n.f. Dans les grandes largeurs, 
Very much, extremely, in the last de- 
gree e.g. Se faire estamper dans les 
grandes largeurs f To be done brown. 
Se faire engueuler dans les grandes 
largeurs, To get a rare talking- to. 
Lit. ' in the big widths * ; a phrase borrowed 
from hawkers and linen-drapers' assistants 
with reference to the dimension and therefore 
quality of their cloth, and then applied to 
the excellence or high degree of anything. 
Op. dans les grands prix, under prix 2. 

Toute la famille allemande, sous 
la menace du revolver de Vladimir, 
etait ficelee, baillonnee, et le loge- 
ment cambriole dans les grandes 
largeurs (G. LEBOUX, Le Chateau 

larme, n.f. 1. Une larme, A drop, the 
least drop (of wine, etc.) e.g. Ne m*en 
versez qu*une larme, Pour me out just 
a thimbleful. 
Lit. ' a tear '. 

Plus d'alcool ? Pas une larme 
(C. H. HIRSCH, "Petit" Louis, 

2. Pleurer a chaudes larmes, To weep 

copiously, to cry one's eyes out. 

3. Hire aux (or jusqu'aux) larmes, To cry 
with laughter. 

4. T alter (or Y &tre) de sa petite larme, To 
pipe one's eye e.g. Elle y est allee (y a 
ete) de sa petite larme, She had her little 

*Iascar, n.m. (a) Fine fellow ; (6) Know- 
ing, clever fellow; (c) Fellow in 
general, blighter, especially one with 
experience and energy ; (d) Loose- 
living, turbulent fellow, a dare-devil. 
From the Arabic a'sfcer, meaning both * army* I 

and * soldier '. Originally the word denoted 
a good soldier of long service ; then, a soldier 
generally; subsequently it was applied 
especially to a soldier up to all the tricks of 
the trade, or, by contrast, and ironically, 
to a lazy, turbulent, loose-living soldier. 
(SAIN^AN, Langage parisien> pp. 153-4). 

Ces deux lascars se sont bien paye. 
ma figure et ils m'ont fait monter a 
Vechelle com -me un bleu (G-. COURTE- 
LINE, Le Train de 8 h. 47). 

Le contraste etait vraiment trop 
drole entre ce sous- lieutenant de 
demoiselles et les lascars a tous crins 
qu'il venait commander (E. ABOUT, 
Le Turco). 

Et Cherbourg, c'est une rude ville, 
allez . . , pleine de marins, de sol- 
dats . . . de sacres lascars qui ne 
boudent pas sur le plaisir (0. Mnt- 
BEATT, Le Journal d'une Femme de 

See coin 2 (Hirsch). 

latin, n.m. 1. Latin de cuisine, Dog 

In the Middle Ages, when Latin was spoken 
widely, even the cooks and kitchen-boys in 
certain colleges were made to use that 
language, and their speech was naturally not 

Quant au breviaire, avec votre 
permission, c'est du latin de cuisine, 
comme tout le missel, d'ailleurs (J. 
EiCHEPiisr, Miarka}. 

2. Y perdre son latin, To lose one's pains ; 
to be at one's wit's end, to make 
nothing of it e.g. J^y perds mon latin, 
I am nonplussed, I can make neither 
head nor tail of it. 

Cp. &re au bout de son latin, under bout 7 ; in 
the Latin debates of the Middle Ages one who 
could not nonplus his opponent was said to 
avoir perdu son latin. 

Prechez-le un peu, monsieur 
Koissy ; moi, fy perds mon latin 
(H. DE REGNIEB, La Peur de 

See guerre 3 (Sandeau). 
, n.m. Water-closet, lavatory. 
A modern extended use of the word, which, 
means properly *washstand*. 
*lavage, n.m. Sale at low prices and at 
considerable loss of one's property 
through shortage of funds. 
From laver 1. 

See frieoter 1 (a) (Zola). 
lavasse, n.f. 1. Beverage of any kind 
diluted with too much water, (watery) 
slops, belly- wash. 
2. Weak fellow, dud, wash-out. 

See fausse-couche (Hirsch). 




laver, vb. tr. *L To sell (generally from 
want of money, and therefore at a loss 
or low price). Cp. lessiver. 

Si la petite s'achetait quelque 
chose de gentil, un nceud de raban, 
des bontons de manchette, les 
parents le ltd confisquaient et 
allaient le laver (ZOLA, ISAssom- 

2. Laver la tete a quelqu'un ; see tete 16. 
*Lazaro, proper name. *1. Prison of 
Saint-Lazare where prostitutes used to 
"be sent. 
*2. Le lazaro, Military prison, clink. 

A term introduced into the army by ^the 
pimps whose womenfolk were in the prison 
of Saint-Lazare. 

Alors le malheureux . . . enfilait 
sa blouse et s'en allait firn'r son reve 
au lazaret (G. COTJBTELIKE, Les 
Qaietes de VEscadron}. 
le, la, def. art. The definite article is 
often used with strong demonstrative 
force in exclamations of admiration 
(sometimes ironical) when the noun 
has a preceding adjective e.g. Ah ! le 
joli bracelet I Oh ! what a pretty brace- 
let ! 

La, delicieuse fillette ! se dit-il (P. 

Oh I la bonne, la charmante, la 
delicieuse soiree ! ( J. DE LA BRETE, 
M on Oncle et mon Cure). 
*Ieehe, n.f. Faire de la leche (or Passer une 
Uche) d quelqu'un, To suck up to some 

From Ucher, 'to lick*. 

leQOH, n.f. Faire la legon a quelqu'un, To 
dictate in detail to a person what he 
must do, to chide, give some one a 
lecture, to take one to task. 

Je n'accepte pas qu'on me parle 
sur ce ton. ... Je ne suis pas un 
homme a qui on fait la le$on, vous 
entendez ! (BuiETrx, La petite Amie). 

See cafarder (Hirsch). 
*legitime, n.f. Wife. 

L& Ugitime is also used for ' husband *. 
*legume, n.f. Important personage, high 
official e.g. Une grosse legume, A big 
^pot, big bug, big- wig. 
Ltffume, ( vegetable', is masculine, and un gros 
Ugwne is also used with the above meaning; 
but the feminine form is commoner in this 

La porte de ma cellule s'ouvre, je 
vois entrer le procureur general, le 
chef de la Surete, M. de Paris, ses 
aides, mon avocat, M. Tauindnier. 

. Le cure se tourne vers les 
legumes qui etaient la, il leur crie 
... (P. MILLE, UAnge du Bizarre}. 
n.f. Faire (Essuyer] une lessive, 
To lose a lot of money (in business or 
at gambling), to sustain a heavy 
financial loss. 
Lit. * washing * (of dirty linen). 

*lessiver, vb. tr. = laver 1. 

Lit. ' to wash * (dirty linen). 
*levage, n.m. *1. Theft, larceny. 
*2. Easy conquest, * picking-up ' (of man 
or woman). 
See lever 1. 
lever. *1. vb. tr. (a] To steal, pinch, 


(6) To make an easy conquest (of man 
or woman), to * pick up '. Lever un 
miche, (prostitutes* slang) To pick up 
a c flat '. 

Pour elle, un salon etait une sorte 
de bastringue de luxe ou on levait des 
f emmes ( J. K. HUTSMAISS, Les Sozurs 

2. n.m. Un lever de rideau or Un lever- 
rideau, Short play (in one act, per- 
formed before the main play), curtain- 

lezard, n.m. Faire le (or son) lezard, To 
take it easy, to loll about. 
Lit. to warm oneself in the sun like a lizard, 
to doze in the daytime like a lizard basking 
in the sun. 

Le baron preferait faire son 
lezard au soleil sur le galet (MATT- 
PASSANT, Une Vie). 
l^zarder, vb. intr. = Faire le Mzard. 
Hard, n.m. 1. Jen^ai pas un (rouge) liard, 
I haven't a brass farthing. 
A liard was an old coin worth a quarter of a 
2. II couperait un liard en guatre (or deux), 

He is a skinflint. 

libre, adj. Libre a vous de . . . e.g. 
Libre a vous de partir, You may go if 
you like. 

*liehade, n.f. Excessive eating or drinking. 
From lieher. 

Voil& ou menaient 1'amour de la 
fripe ('food'), les lichades et les 
guwletons (ZoLA, L'Assommoir). 
*lielier, vb. tr. and intr. To drink or eat 
gluttonously, to tipple e.g. Lich&r un 
petit verre. To take a nip, a wee drappie. 
An old form of Ucher, ' to lick ', found as 
early as the twelfth century and still quite 
common in Berry and Picardy. 

AUons, Uche ton glass. On radine 
au perchoir (F. CHAMPSATTR, Tuer 
les Vieux / Jouir f). 




*Iieneiir, n.m. Tippler. 
From lieher. 

Toi, licheur, ta luette se desseche 
arrose-la d'une cliopine et meme 
d'un litre (L. CLADEL, Les Va~nu- 

1i&,adj. Eire ires lie avecquelqtfun, To be 
very friendly, intimate, * thick' with 
a person. 

Bien de plus facile. . . . Je vous 
obtiendrai cela quand vous voud- 
rez. ... Je suis ires lie avec la 
presse (BBIEUS, Menages d' Artistes). 
lieu, n.m. I. Les lieux, W.C., privy. 
Elliptical for les lieux d'aisances. 

2. Un mauvais lieu, House of ill-fame. 

3. Mettre en lieu sur, To imprison, to * put 
away '. 

Lorsqu'il s'agira de le mettre en 

lieu sur, on ne viendra pas nous con- 

tester sa folie (E. BAUMANN, La 

Fosse aux Lions). 

lievre, n.m. 1. Avoir une memoir e de 

lievre, To have a memory like a sieve. 

2. C'est la que git le lievre, There's the rub, 
That is the main point, You have hit 
the nail on the head. See hie. 

Lit. ' That Is where the hare lies ' ; by allusion 
to the fact that when le gite, the ' form ', of 
a hare has been found, one can expect to see 
it return there, and thus the main difficulty 
is overcome. Cp. the Latin hie jacet lepus. 

3. Ilnefautpas courir deux lievres (ovplus 
d'un lievre} a la fois, You must not 
have too many irons in the fire. 

*lignard, n.m. Foot-soldier of the line. 
ligne, n.f. 1. Hors ligne, Superior, first- 
rate e.g. C*est un homme hors ligne, 
He is a first-rate man. 

Ce ciboire est un ouvrage tout a 
fait hors ligne, dans le style du 
treizieme siecle (A. FRANCE, TJAn- 
neau d'Amethyste). 

' 2. Entrer en ligne de compte, To be worth 
considering. Je mets cela en ligne de 
compte, I take that into account. 
*limaee, n.f. Shirt, e flesh-bag '. 

Lime and limace (or limasse) are old fargon 
terms which have passed into popular speech 
via military slang. They go back to the low 
Latin limas, a kind of woman's dress. 

H n'a qu'deux costumes : en bras 
d 5 ' limace ou en redingue (= redingote, 
' frock-coat ') (J. RIOHEPIN", Truan- 

limoger, vb. tr. (Of generals in the army),