Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Francophile File: “Where Did the Term ‘Sacré Bleu’ Originate?”

“Where Did the Term ‘Sacré Bleu’ Originate?”
by CP

“The phrase originated from the swear words "sacré bleu", a Marian oath, referring to the color (i.e., "sacred blue") associated with Mary, mother of Jesus. Other sources propose it coming from old blasphemous curses relating to God, used from the late Middle-Age (some are attested as early as the 12th century) to the 14th (at the latest), with many variants: morbleu or mordieu, corbleu, palsambleu, jarnidieu, tudieu, respectively standing for mort [de] Dieu (God's death), corps [de] Dieu (God's body), par le sang [de] Dieu (by God's blood, the two latters possibly referring to the Eucharistic bread and wine), je renie Dieu (I deny God), tue Dieu (kill God)... Those curses may be compared to the archaic English [God']sdeath, sblood, struth or zounds (God's wounds). They were considered so offensive that Dieu was sublimated into the similar sounding neutral syllable bleu. The verb sacrer has several meanings, including to crown, to anoint, to name someone [champion, best actor, etc], and in the past, rarely in France but more common in French Canada, of swear, curse. Therefore, sacrebleu could be in modern French je sacre par Dieu and in English I curse by God.”
Wait, wait, it's coming... at the end of the previous post.

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