Tag Archives: Paris
cherchez la femme

cherchez la femme

  caricature of Alexandre Dumas by André Gill – La Lune, 2nd December 1866     The phrase cherchez la femme, search for the woman, is used to indicate that the key to a problem or mystery is a woman, and that she need only be found for the matter to be solved. It first appeared as a […]

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foie gras

foie gras

  duck being force-fed corn in order to fatten its liver for foie gras production photograph: GAIA – Voice of the Voiceless     The French term foie gras, from foie, liver, and gras, fat, fatty, denotes the liver of a specially fattened goose or duck prepared as food. Short for pâté de foie gras, […]

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midinette

midinette

    Phonetically and semantically similar to milliner, the French word midinette was defined as “a milliner’s female assistant, especially in Paris” in the 1933 Supplement to the New English Dictionary (as the Oxford English Dictionary was known). However, while milliner literally means a Milanese, a native or inhabitant of Milan, midinette is a portmanteau word, composed of midi, midday, and dînette, light dinner, […]

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cordon bleu

cordon bleu

  cross and blue ribbon of the order of the Holy Ghost (18th century) photograph: Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais       The French noun cordon denotes a ribbon, usually worn scarf-wise, as part of the insignia of a knightly order. The cordon bleu (the blue ribbon) was the sky-blue ribbon worn by […]

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blotto

blotto

  image: Tonton Vélo       MEANING   drunk     ORIGIN   The word originated in World War One British military slang. It was first recorded by Ward Muir in Observations of an Orderly: Some Glimpses of Life and Work in an English War Hospital, published in July 1917: The words for drunkenness are […]

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restaurant

restaurant

   La Mère Catherine – Maison fondée en 1793       When Randle Cotgrave published A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues in 1611, the French noun restaurant still had its original meaning: Cotgrave translated it as a restorative. It is a noun use of the present participle of the verb restaurer, thus […]

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boulevard

boulevard

  Paris, around 1895 boulevard de la Madeleine with l’église de la Madeleine on the left       English borrowed the French noun boulevard in the second half of the 18th century; writing from Paris on 30th August 1769, the English author and politician Horace Walpole (1717-97) told John Chute: My dear old woman […]

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Quasimodo

Quasimodo

    MEANING   Quasimodo, in full Quasimodo Sunday, is the Sunday following Easter Sunday.     ORIGIN   The English word, via French, is from post-classical Latin quasimodo, of same meaning. The origin of the term is quasi modo, the first words of the antiphon of the Latin introit of the Mass for this […]

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gigolo (texte français)

gigolo (texte français)

  You can read this article in English here Vous pouvez lire cet article en anglais ici   Louis Prima (1910-78)   Just a Gigolo-I ain’t got nobody (1956) cliquez sur la flèche     De nos jours, le mot gigolo désigne un jeune homme qui est l’amant d’une femme, généralement plus âgée que lui, et […]

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gigolo (English text)

gigolo (English text)

  Vous pouvez lire cet article en français ici You can read this article in French here   Louis Prima (1910-78)   Just a Gigolo-I ain’t got nobody (1956) click on the arrow for music     A gigolo is a young man paid or financially supported by a woman, typically an older woman, to […]

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