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Subject: Grande Armée Slang rss

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Guillaume Gleize
France
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Grande Armée slang

As with all armed forces throughout history, the French Grande Armée of the Napoleonic Wars used a colorful and extensive vocabulary of slang terms to describe their lives, times and circumstances and express their reactions towards them.

Abbaye-de-Sot-Bougre (Abbey of drunks)
the camp prison
un abreuvoir à mouches (fly's drinking trough)
a deep gash in one's face
avoir sa pente (to have one's slope)
to be a drinker.
Les autres chiens (the other dogs, pun for autrichiens, French for Austrians)
Austrians
Avoir de la garnison (having a garrison)
to have lice
Avoir des engelures aux yeux (having frostbitten eyes)
to be afraid during an attack
la bamboche (lit. the marionette, fig. debauchery)
The Legion of Honour.
un beau sabreur (a fine swashbuckler)
a Hussar.
la bouffarde (the puffer)
a short-stemmed pipe.
briscard (from brisque, insignia of a rehired soldier)
a veteran campaigner.
brise-muraille (wall-breaker, or fort-breaker)
artilleryman
le brutal (the brutal one)
Artillery.
un bulletin (bulletin/report)
a liar
Les Carabins (Sawbones)
Surgeons.
Le Casse-Poitrine (Gut Breaker)
Strong drink.
Les Céleris (Celery Eaters)
Commissary officers.
Le Chapeau (The Hat)
Napoleon Bonaparte.
La charmante (the charming [woman])
mange/scabies
Le Cheval Brutal (Brutal Horse)
Horse artillery.
La Côte de Boeuf (Rib of Ox)
A sabre.
Les Cousins de l'Empereur (The Emperor's cousins)
Corsicans.
Un Crâne (Skull, referring to the brain within)
An experienced campaigner.
Le Crucifix à Ressort (Springed Crucifix)
A pistol.
Le Coucou (Cuckoo)
A French eagle.
Le cul-de-singe (monkey's arse)
the round, red, insignia patch on a grenadier's bearskin cap
Les Cupidons (little Cupids)
Russian Bashkir archers
La Débine
Poverty.
Défiler en Parade (March Off)
To die in battle.
Déjeuner à la fourchette (lunch on a fork, or eating lunch with a fork)
a bayonet attack
Descendre la Garde (Drop One's Guard)
To die in battle.
Dur à cuire (lit. "hard to cook", tough guy)
An experienced campaigner.
Dur Cormant (Hardwood)
Beef.
embrassé par une demoiselle (kissed by a young lady)
wounded by a cannonball
être mis aux mites (put in with the moths)
Jailed.
être abîmé (being damaged)
To be wounded.
Faire une Bosse (To make a Bump)
Eat well.
La Fête (The Party)
War.
La flûte a gros bec (the big-mouthed flute)
Artillery
Un Frileux (One who is sensitive to cold)
A frightened soldier.
Friser (To Graze)
A near miss.
Génies (génie has many French definitions -- Genie, wizard, genius, engineer)
Military engineers
Gilets de Fer (Steel Vests)
Cuirassiers.
un gigot (a leg [as in leg of lamb])
an ugly or botched amputation
Les Goddams (the "god damns")
British infantry.
Les Grands Chapeaux (The Big Hats)
Napoleon and his Marshals
Les Grognards (The Grumblers/Growlers)
Imperial Old Guards.
Gros Talons (Big Heels)
Cuirassiers.
Heureux comme un poisson sur la paille (as happy as a fish in the hay)
to be depressed
Hypothèque (Mortgage)
Be wounded.
Les Immortels (Immortals)
Imperial Guardsmen.
Le Jus de l'Arbre (Sap of the Tree)
Wine.
Les Kaiserlicks (from kaiserlich, "Imperial")
Austrian infantry.
Lampion (Chinese Lantern)
Napoleon Bonaparte's cocked hat. Derived from the similar sounding "L'Empereur".
Marchand de mort subite (merchant of sudden-death)
the Master-at-Arms
Marche à Regret (Unwilling walker/marcher)
Conscript.
Marche à Terre (Walks on land, or land-walker)
Foot slogger.
marcher à la queue au loup (marching holding the wolf's tail)
a night march (soldiers would hold onto the coattails of the soldier in front)
Marie-Louise
Enthusiastic but inexperienced Conscript of the 1813-15 drafts.
Mettre les Dents au Crochet (Set One's Teeth on Edge)
To be starving.
Mettre sa vaisselle à l'air (airing one's crockery)
Wearing (showing-off) one's medals
La Mie de Pain (Breadcrumbs)
Fleas.
Le Mot de Cambronne (The Word of Cambronne)
Shit! (Merde!).
Le mois de Napoléon (Napoleon's month)
the thirteenth month of one's tour
Les Musikos
Brothels.
La Musique (The Music)
War.
La Noce (The Wedding)
War.
L'oiseau (The Bird)
A French eagle.
On Déchire de la Mousseline (They Are Ripping Muslin)
A Volley of Fire (by poorly drilled troops).
Le Patron (The Boss)
Napoleon Bonaparte.
peint à l'encaustique (painted with furniture polish)
an inexperienced hussar (they would draw moustaches on them)
Le Petit Caporal (Little(humble) Corporal)
Napoleon Bonaparte.
Le Petit Tondu (Little Shaved/Mowed One)
Napoleon Bonaparte.
Les Pékins (The Muftis)
Civilians.
Piler du Poivre (Grind Peppercorns)
Sentry duty.
pousse-caillou (pebble-pusher)
infantryman
Pousser la botte au cochon (to kick [lit. push one's boot against] the pig)
running one's sword through somebody's throat
Une Rafale (A gust)
A frightened soldier.
Le raisin (Grape)
Blood.
Riz-Pain-Sel (Rice, Bread, Salt)
Commissary officers.
Le Rogomme (Booze)
Strong drink.
Les sans-culottes (the no-pants)
Radical left-wing partisans of the lower classes
Les Sauterelles (Grasshoppers)
British riflemen, who wore green uniforms rather than the red uniforms issued to common British infantry.
Le Sauve-la-Vie (Life Saver)
Strong drink.
la savate (the old slipper)
a punishment where soldiers were spanked with spiked shoes
Se faire laver les cheveux avec du plomb (to have one's hair washed with lead)
to be executed by firing squad
Les soldats à la crème (soldiers with cream)
Austrian troops (because of their white uniforms)
Teufels ('Devils')
Prussian infantry.
Le Tondu ('The Shorn One')
Napoleon
Tourner de l'oeil (Roll One's Eyes/Faint)
To die.
Trouver (To Find)
To steal.
le trottoir à punaises (the bedbugs' sidewalk)
the ornamental fringe on a shako visor
Vieille Moustache (Old moustache)
Veteran campaigner.
Vielle culotte (old pants)
A veteran
Vrai Bougre (True fellow)
Veteran campaigner.
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Guillaume Gleize
France
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My favorite one:

La Fête (The Party)
War.

Mad generation!
 
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Kyle Seely
United States
Carmel
IN
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Excellent!

Thanks for posting these!
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Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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These are cool. What's your source?
 
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Guillaume Gleize
France
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Those Napoleonic numerous expressions crossed the centuries and you can find them easily if you look for « Argot de la grande armee » or « Grande armee slang ».

Also different books like this one: Jean Tulard (direction) Dictionnaire Napoléon édition Fayard 1999. tome 1 notice Argot militaire d'Alain Pigeard.

And witness of the memories of the soldiers themselves (Chevillet, Gervais, Claude Joseph Morel aka “beau regard” (“beautifull eyes”) or this Hussard named Jacques Philippe Bamme aka “Le Patriote” (“the patriot”) etc.
 
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Stacey Hager
United States
Charleston
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Really cool stuff! When I eventually pick up CC:N, I'll print this out and throw it in the box.
 
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Guillaume Gleize
France
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Happy if you appreciate. TY
Waiting for you all to battle on vassal unofficial 2.1 module!
Long life CCN
Marechal GG

Vive l'Empereur!
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