Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Word Of The Week


As usual, I was watching a daily French talk show on tv and one of the guests was a woman named Claire Faÿ. She was hawking her new book entitled, "Cahier de gribouillages pour les adultes qui s'ennuient au bureau." Quite a long title for a book.

In the course of the panel discussion it quickly became clear to me what gribouillages are. The little book's title means Doodle Notebook For Adults Who Are Bored At Work. If you look closely at the book's cover, you can see it is published by the PaNaMa company.

Gribouillage is synonymous with gribouillis, both serving as the noun form for a scribble or a doodle. The verb form is gribouiller - have fun conjugating that one; the imperfect of the subjunctive in the first person plural is il a fallu que nous gribouillassions. And yes, I had to look that up.

A person who doodles or scribbles is a gribouilleur or gribouilleuse, while a gribouille is a hasty fool, rushing in where angels fear to tread. Be careful not to mix those up !

It never, ever occurred to me what the French word for "doodle" or "scribble" or "scrawl" might be. Now I know !


  1. Did you actually BUY the book?
    I just ordered a French dictionary and a Bescherelle of French verbs (all gone when my daughter moved out)
    I have a Robert en 6 volumes that she left me, but that's too many volumes for me!
    I never thought I'd need anything like that until I started my French blog. It turns out that sometimes, online dictionaries aren't quite enough, or more trouble than a quick look at a paper dictionary

  2. Claude,
    No, I didn't buy it. But I do have a Bescherelle that I've had since 1981... and the online Petit Robert. But I agree that paper dictionaries can be better.

  3. On-line dictionaries have great advantages. For example, if you want to look up an expression, you can look up the dictionary entry for one word in the expression and then search the definition for the other word. Then you find the expression and its definition.

    I use the Grand Robert Electronique all the time. It's easier for me than pulling out one of the heavy volumes of the printed dictionary.

  4. Sounds like you've got a great name for a French blog of your own.

  5. Now there's an idea... hmmmm...

  6. Et scribouilleur, tu connais, Walt :-) ?!!! La définition vient du Grand Robert Electronique qui est devenu ma Bible :-)

    - SCRIBOUILLEUR, EUSE [skRibuj(infini)R, øz] n.
    Fam. Personne qui écrit sans cesse, aime à écrire; mauvais écrivain.

    Dans mon dico Hachette-Oxford online, je n'ai trouvé que scribouillard :

    scribouillard [!], scribouillarde / sk1ibuja1, a1d / nom
    masculin et féminin pen pusher[!]GB, pencil pusher US.

    Bises. Marie


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