I learnt a new word in French today: bouder, which means to sulk; to pout; to avoid; to turn one’s nose up at (sth); to refuse to have anything to do with (sb).

Related expressions include:
– boudant = sulking; pouting
– bouder son plaisir = to deny oneself a good thing; to sulk one’s pleasure (never heard this one before – have you?)
– ne pas bouder son plaisir = to enjoy fully; to enjoy without restraint
– se bouder = not to be on speaking terms
– on ne boudera pas = we shall not complain (about); we shall not avoid

It came up in my Breton course – the Breton equivalent is mouzhat – and appears in the sentence, Perak ‘ta, klañv eo pe o vouzhat emañ? (Why? Is she sick or is she sulking?).

The origins of the English words pout and sulk are unknown, according to the OED.

Are there any interesting expressions featuring the equivalents of these words in other languages?

This entry was posted in Breton, English, French, Language, Words and phrases.

10 Responses to Bouder

  1. Lev says:

    There’s also boudoir.

  2. Jayarava says:

    Online Etymology Dictionary has some suggestions for pout and for sulk see sulky.

  3. Di says:

    The Welsh verb pwdu has same meaning, and sounds related to bouder, especially when mutated to bwdu.

  4. David Eger says:

    Could this be the origin of ‘to brood’ – in the sense of ‘to ponder or worry over something’? I can’t think of any obvious connection between that sense and the other sense – a ‘brood of chicks’ for example, or a woman getting ‘broody’ (although, I suppose Could it be another case like ‘bridegroom’ (OE ‘bridgum’), where the original word has become erroneously assimilated with another, similar sounding, word? Perhaps 11th Century teenagers ‘booded’ rather than ‘brooded’.

  5. David Eger says:

    Sorry – an unfinished parenthesis there. I meant to say: (although, I suppose a mother does instinctively worry about her brood – but doesn’t generally brood over them so much as fuss over them).

  6. David Eger says:

    ‘Bother’ bears a resemblance – and, in some of its senses, a similarity in meaning. The Chambers, however, connects it with ‘pother’ (‘a choking smoke or dust’) and, ultimately, ‘powder’.

  7. missjane says:

    A side note on denying oneself pleasure – my mother used to talk about “cutting off your nose to spite your face”; not an identical sentiment, but associated.

    David, brood is indeed related to chickens:

  8. TJ says:

    Speaking of Arabic, there are a number of expressions and words to express sulking and/or frowning:
    1. قطّب الحاجبين [qattaba al-hajibayn], literally means “(he) crossed the eye-brows” and it is an expression noting frowning or sulking.

    2. عبس [abas], which is a direct verb meaning “(he) frowned”. It is also a source for the masculine name in Arabic: عبّاس [aabbás], which most probably means “he who make men frown (in time of war)”.

  9. TJ says:

    I was trying to use html codes for underlining in my previous comment but it didnt work out.

  10. Chris Miller says:

    Canadian (informal) French has boquer, which probably comes from ‘balk’.

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