posted by Simon Kemp

Usually this blog tries to give you things that will help you better understand what’s going on in France, and language tips that will help improve your French.

This week, though, I can’t help you understand what happened in Paris last Friday night, as I don’t understand it myself. And the only French word I have for you is one that, if it hasn’t been part of your vocabulary up to now, you won’t be able to use in normal conversation for a while:

BATACLAN, noun, masculine
Familiar. Attirail encombrant composé d’objets dont on veut se dispenser de donner le nom.

Cumbersome materials made up of things one does not want to take the trouble to name. ‘Gear’, ‘clobber’.


1. ‘Ta bonne maman ne pourra pas être à Dieppe dimanche. Il lui faudra, au moins, un jour ou deux pour resserrer tout son bataclan.’
FLAUBERT, Correspondance, 1866, p. 221.

Use in phrases: (Et) tout le bataclan. Et cætera, et tout le reste. Etc., and all the rest

2. Ah! si l’on n’avait pas la religion, la prière dans les églises, (…), si l’on n’avait pas la Sainte-Vierge et saint Antoine de Padoue, et tout le bataclan, on serait bien plus malheureux, ça c’est sûr…
MIRBEAU, Le Journal d’une femme de chambre, 1900, p. 21.

Etymology: Origin obscure. Possibly onomatopoeic.

Normal blogging again from next week.

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