Word of the day – plumitif
Plumitif [plymitif] nm – penpusher, bureaucrat; scribbler.
I came across today’s word last week at the French conversation group and particularly liked the sound of it. It comes from plume (feather, quill, nib) and is marked as pejorative in the dictionary. Plume comes from the Latin pluma (feather, down), from the Proto-Indo-European *pleus- (to pluck, a feather, fleece), which is also the root of the English word fleece.
Other words and expressions involving plumes include:
- il y a laissé des plumes (he left some feathers there) – he came off badly, he got his fingers burnt
- il perd ses plumes (he’s losing his feathers) – he’s going bald
- elle a la plume facile (she has the easy pen) – writing comes easy to her
- homme de plume – writer
- prendre la plume – to write
- je vis de ma plume – I live by my pen
- je lui passe la plume – I’ll hand over to him / let him carry on
- plumeau – feather duster
- plumer – to pluck; to fleece (a person)
- déplumer – to pluck
- se déplumer – to moult, lose one’s feathers; to go bald
- plumeux – feathery
- plumier – pencil box/case
A penpusher is defined as an “Un-needed, beaureucratic employee not making any difference and hampering efficiency” [Urban Dictionary] or “someone who has a boring job in an office” [The Free Dictionary]. Are there similar words in other languages?