“Carabistouille”, “elixir”… The use of these pretty terms is waning. Le Figaro offers them a makeover.
A “Gouape”, a “Proud-to-arms”, “Go out bareheaded”… These words are no longer heard in our conversations. Not that they have disappeared from the French language. But their use has withered away, they have bowed out in favor of more contemporary words. They are found in dictionaries, witnesses of a revolutionary era and language. The editorial staff suggests that you, dear reader, bring them up to date.
● Telling “carabistouilles”
If Emmanuel Macron, fond of obsolete words, had used it on the set of Jean-Pierre Pernaut in 2018, it is clear that the “Carabistouille” is shunned by speakers today. Charming and rounded, the word was born in the land of Jacques Brel. The “Carabistouilles” are “nonsense”, a “Calembredaine”, Robert notes. A “tall story”, add the Treasure of the French language. The word is in other words synonymous with “Lies”, “Stories”, “nonsense”. Of obscure origin, it could have been formed after “Bistouille” , a word from the northern dialect, which means “Bad brandy”.
● Wearing a “knit”
Deliciously old-fashioned, the “knitting” faded in favor of the more generic “Pull”. It still blooms sometimes on the lips of our grandmothers. The word had a specific meaning in the 19th century. In sailors, it designates a “Piece of clothing made of knit, with blue and white stripes”, lit in the Treasure of the French language. At the start of the 20th century, the “undershirt” is a mesh fabric underwear, covering the torso, which has been renamed today “undershirt”. On the old days called him “knitting skin”.
● “Billévesées! “
Hearing it is never a good sign! “Empty words”, “About, written empty of meaning and often erroneous”, this tasty term dates back to the 15th century. Its origin is as unusual as the word is pretty. According to’French Academy, it is composed of vesé, that is to say “Pot-bellied”, “inflated”, “breath”, derived from veze, “Bagpipe”, and a first element of obscure origin. It belongs to the onomatopoeic root “Ves”, expressing “A slight buzzing, a breath”, specifies the CNRTL. If it appears in the singular, it is mostly used in the plural. It designates by extension a “Frivolous idea, behavior, occupation or concern, without merit”.
● Enjoy an “elixir”
This pretty word is very old, since it has its origins in 13th century French. In 1269, theelixir does not yet designate a liquor, but a “Philosopher stone”. This alchemy term is said elect. It is borrowed, via Latin elixir, to arabic al-iksir, name of the philosopher’s stone, specifies the French Academy. In Arabic, it is also a kind of medicine, through its Greek root xerion, “Drying powder”. This is why our word, which entered the French language, designates a ‘Liquid preparation based on alcohol and syrup, which masks the taste of medicinal substances’, sold in some pharmacies. It is also found in monasteries, in the form of “Digestive liquor containing various aromatic substances mixed with alcohol”.
● The “alcove” bedroom
One can imagine with this name alone a famous scene painted by Fragonard. “The lock” perfectly embodies the idea we have of “The alcove”. Shimmering colors, cozy environment, unmade bed, elegant woodwork, intimate atmosphere (dare we say libertine?) … The word, which comes to us from the Spanish “alcoba, from the Arabic al-qubba, properly means “cupola”, then “Small adjoining room”. “The Alcove” is indeed of an implicit meaning, since it means figuratively: “Place of romantic encounters”. We thus speak of “Alcove secrets”, relating to intimate life, or “Alcove stories”, that is to say “Erotic characters”.