Monday, April 16, 2012

Careful with that Vitriol

I especially enjoy the Monday edition of the Radio France news, because it contains the "expression de la semaine," where Yvan Amar, an avuncular reporter with a voice like Maurice Chevalier, explains the meaning and nuance of a word or phrase in French.

Today's edition explains "au vitriol." I knew the word vitriol in English to mean caustic speech, but did not know until today that vitriol is the historic name for sulfuric acid, and that it was popular among certain French women in the 19th century--as it is today among men in certain countries for more misogynistic purposes--as a means of attacking a distaff rival for the affections of a loved one.

Tres curieux, non?

No comments:

Post a Comment