Pull up a pew

Take a pew

One thing that came up in the French Conversation Group last night was church pews, and particularly how uncomfortable they are. We discovered that in French a pew is un banc (d’église).

Banc also means seat or bench, and can mean other things in combination with other words:

– banc de sable = sandbank
– banc des accusés = dock (in court)
– banc des témoins = witness box
– banc de touche = dugout
– banc des avocats = (legal) bar
– banc de brouillard = patch of fog
– banc de sable = sand bar

Banc comes ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰeg- ‎(to bend, curve, arch), which is also the root of banque (bank) and banquet (dinner, reception, banquet), as well as bank, banquet and bench in English, and related words in other languages.

The French equivalent of pull up a pew or take a pew (take a seat, sit down), is prends-toi une chaise or tire-toi une bûche (pull up a log). Are there other ways to say this?

Sources: Reverso, Wiktionary, WordReference.com

This entry was posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Words and phrases.

2 Responses to Pull up a pew

  1. David Eger says:

    I just happened to look up bunk a couple of days ago and that too is a cognate.

  2. MadFall says:

    “Take a seat” used in formal situations. French equivalent is “prenez place”.

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