Dictionary. Brouteur, babtou, woke: what do the new words of Petit Robert mean?

What do the noun “ecoanxiety”, the verb “chill” and the expression “babtou fragile” have in common? The answer is that they all appear in the 2023 edition of Le Petit Robert. As usual, the famous French-language dictionary has included in its next vintage new words that are essential in society. Small glossary.

First of all, there are the words prized by the younger generations, such as the name “embarrassment”, which translates a “feeling of embarrassment, of discomfort experienced in an embarrassing situation”, according to the definition of the Petit Robert. Don’t forget the verb “chill”which consists of “having a good time doing nothing”, and the name ” lease “described as a “business”, an “ill-defined project”.

How are new words chosen?

To integrate the paper version of Petit Robert, a word must meet three main criteria, according to Le Robert editions. It must first be used frequently. It must then be widely disseminated, both in the media, literature and on social networks. Finally, it must be lasting or have an “importance in understanding the current era”, explains Le Robert on his site. This is why “it is rare for a word to enter the Petit Robert less than a year after its appearance”.

Editorial committees are responsible for determining which words deserve a place in the dictionary. And it is librarians and lexicographers who identify them upstream, by studying corpora of texts, by analyzing current conversations or by looking at unanswered searches in online dictionaries.

Among them, several find their origin in Africa. Like the name “go”, which means “young girl, young woman” as well as “girlfriend”. This term, which appeared in the famous French dictionary, was originally taken from Ivorian slang. It has become more popular in France, in particular thanks to the tube first gaoufrom the Magic System group.

What are NFTs again?

We also find in the Petit Robert 2023 the name “babtu”, which is none other than the verlan (a process consisting in inverting syllables) of “toubab”, a name given in black Africa to a Westerner, a Caucasian, a white person in general. The expression “fragile babtou” is used to qualify a “weak person, who poses as a victim”.

Another word popularized thanks to Ivorian culture and now found in the dictionary: the name “grazer”, which refers to a “scammer who tricks his victims on the Internet”. This term, which refers to someone who eats effortlessly, has spread thanks in particular to the success of the Ivorian series Brouteur.com.

In the “New technologies” category, Le Petit Robert has also chosen to include in its new edition the “cyber espionage”a practice of infiltrating computer systems to sseize strategic data, and “instagramers”, those “people who carry out their activity by posting photos and videos on Instagram”. The dictionary even managed to come up with a simple definition of “NFT”describing them as “cryptographic certificates associated with a digital object (image, video, music, etc.) whose authenticity and traceability are guaranteed by the blockchain”.

“Iel” on paper too

And, true to tradition, the Petit Robert 2023 has selected a list of words illustrating the evolution of society. We thus find in the pages of the 2023 edition the name “ecoanxiety”in other words an “anxiety caused by the environmental threats that weigh on our planet” or the adjective “woke”. The latter designates someone “aware of and offended by the injustices and discrimination suffered by minorities” who “mobilizes to fight them, sometimes in an intransigent manner”. Le Robert also adds to its paper dictionary the pronoun “hey”after doing it online last year, which sparked controversy.

Proof that the Covid-19 is not yet behind us, terms relating to the epidemic are still appearing in the Petit Robert, such as the adjective “covid”, designating a person with Covid. In previous years, the words “confinement”, “Covid long” or even “swabbing” had already entered the dictionary.

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Dictionary. Brouteur, babtou, woke: what do the new words of Petit Robert mean?


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