FRENCH WORDS

Did you know that onomatopoeia makes words from a sound? Coquelicot, which appeared in the 16th century, is derived from cocorico, because the red flower is reminiscent of a rooster’s crest. Click, which in 1306 meant “to make a dry noise” had disappeared from the French language. It came back in 1980, reported by the English as “To click” to designate the use of the computer mouse. But there are many other terms derived from onomatopoeia such as chuintement, claque, hibou, hiccup or even z├ęzaiement…

Over the course of time, we will also discover that words are sometimes taken from proper names. As early as the 16th century, the “truism”, in other words “an obvious fact that is unnecessarily specified”, was known. It comes from Jacques de la Palissade, who had nothing to do with this posthumous glory. In fact, it was a song celebrating the death of this Marshal of France in 1525 that gave rise to this word. It was at the origin of these various maxims: “If he had not died, he would still be alive… When he was naked, he had no shirt… When he said nothing, he observed silence… “. And that was enough to make Monsieur de La Palice the king of truisms. A “blonde” Marshal of France before his time.

But Antoine Silhouette was not to be outdone: as Controller of Finance under Louis XV, he bequeathed his name because of a barely sketched portrait, like his tax reforms which never came to fruition, practising the art of these schematic outlines. A Pascal Marrant under Louis XV, a must! The Fashion Bimbos would say: “I know how to use my tongue very well”.

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