The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Five names that have become household expressions


"Make your sophie", "swallow the gaspard" ... These antonomases dot the French language. do you know them?

"You speak, Charles!"


"To yours, Étienne!"


"At ease Blaise!"

. The French language is delightful, as evidenced by the amusing expressions that dot it. These are antonomases, which are formed with some of our first names. They consist in making a proper name (or a paraphrase) a common name or expressions that we use daily. do you know them? The editorial staff offers you a selection of them.

»READ ALSO - These first names have become very common names

Make her sophie

This is an expression that can make it difficult to use this first name. It dates back to the 19th century and means:

"behave, be difficult or haughty"

. The first name experienced a resurgence in popularity at this time, probably thanks to its etymology: Sophie comes from the Greek


, wisdom. According to the Littré,

"to make your sophie"

, in a language of bad company, means:

"to play the prudish"

. Zola writes in this sense, in



"No doubt, he found Lantier a little proud, accused him of

playing his Sophie

in front of the vitriol."

It is also said that the formula was born in the world of milliners, where a


designated a cardboard woman model who served as a mannequin.

Hence the sense of appearing wise, frozen.

The expression

"to make his josephine"

is a variant to designate a woman who affects an air of chastity and rejects with indignation the gallant proposals of a man.

Be a margot

Here again is an unflattering name in common sense. The first name Margot, diminutive of Marguerite, was once used to designate

"a talkative woman, or a woman of light manners"

, informs the Treasury of the French language. In the past,

we used to say

“run the margottons”

, as Hugo wrote in

Les Misérables


“My dear, advice, don't read so much in books and watch the

margotons a little more

. The rascals have good. "

The meaning of

"light girl"

appears in the 14th century, without our knowing why. In the 19th century, a


was also a

"talkative woman"

, the first name having become a popular synonym of



Have a jules



is above all a

"chamber pot, a night vase"


The idiomatic formula

"to have a jules"

, synonymous with

"to have a lover, a boyfriend"

, first designated in the slang a

"middle man"

, and in particular

"a pimp"

, we read in the dictionary.

Where does this inglorious meaning come from, hidden under the first name of one of the most famous Roman emperors?



, in popular parlance, is a

"man, a guy, a type"


The shift in meaning towards


, then




is due to an ironic use of this first name, without our knowing precisely why.

We also speak of a


, with the same meaning.

Good news all the same for the carriers of this first name: it is also used to designate an

"energetic and courageous man"


Honor is safe!

Wear a marcel

"Marcel" has experienced a certain resurgence in popularity in recent years. Carried by the fetishist author of


, and by the Provençal writer who told the glory of a father, it was also the first name of the secret passion of Edith Piaf, a famous painter and many others. But how can we not immediately think of this sleeveless undershirt, which bears the same name? The


without capital letter in fact designates a


. In the 16th century, it was a

"piece of canvas or fabric with which the body of newborns was wrapped"

, before becoming, at the beginning of the 19th century,

"a kind of boxer shorts or pants that dancers put on to appear. at the theater ”


The shape we know it today appears in the 1840s: it is then

"a sticky and flexible garment which covers the upper body"

, that the many handlers of the market of Les Halles, in Paris, adopt to handle their arms. with more ease.

The first company to market it is none other than the


buttonhole , which was based in Roanne, in the Loire, and which gives this garment its name.

Swallow the gaspard

All the Gaspards will be delighted to learn that their first name is synonymous with ...



This common sense appeared during the Great War, when this vermin infested the trenches, pecking the meager provisions of the soldiers.

But the expression

"swallow a gaspard"

has nothing to do with it.

It means:

"to pray"


"to go to communion"

, without our knowing precisely why this first name rather than another.

No doubt this is because a


, the second meaning of this first name, is also a pejorative synonym of

"an individual who frequents a place with excessive attendance"

, as the TLFi relates.

We thus speak of

"church rat, of the sacristy"


Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-01-13

You may like

News/Politics 2022-05-23T05:23:13.380Z
News/Politics 2022-03-10T06:23:22.763Z

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy