Enfant Terrible – Friday’s Word of the Day


Friday’s Word of the Day ay dictionary.com is enfant terrible. (Think French accent when you say it…”ahn-fahn te-ree-bluh”). It is defined as an outrageously outspoken or bold person who says and does indiscreet or irresponsible things; an incorrigible child, as one whose behavior is embarrassing.

As for the origin of this word, In  French enfant terrible means “terrible child,” one whose language and behavior are embarrassing to adults. From the beginning of the appearance of enfant terrible in English in the mid-19th century, the phrase has also referred to adults who embarrass or compromise their party or faction by outrageous speech or behavior, especially artists or other creative people notorious for their unconventional lifestyle.

As its definition states, enfant terrible is a French word that literally, translated means ‘terrible child’. While it may have originally been used to describe actual incorrigible children, it is more often used these days to describe unconventional adults, particularly artists and designers in the fashion industry whose eccentric lifestyles and actions are forgiven for the fact that there is an undercurrent of genius displayed in their creations. And then, there are politicians…

I know what you’re thinking. You are probably surprised that I did not immediately apply this word to our current E.T. in Chief. It is tempting and all too easy. I did try to avoid the obvious in order to explore the nuances of this interesting, albeit timely word. But since my enfant terrible brain keeps bringing it up, I’m not completely sure that genius is a part of the makeup of political enfant terribles. It is quite possible there are other factors in play such as greed, lust for power, privilege, narcissism that drive their enfant terrible behavior…less forgivable for the resulting chaos they create…but I digress. And I’m a day late. Admittedly, I was rapt in the yesterday’s news of a roomful of enfant terribles who voted to shut the government down. A fitting one-year anniversary gift for our E.T. in Chief.

At any rate here are three Haiku to make up for my naughtiness.

enfant terribles
need an audience to shock
captive to torture

tell it like it is…
find an enfant terrible
if you want the truth

big baby
enfant terrible


6 responses to “Enfant Terrible – Friday’s Word of the Day

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