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""To encourage the others"" Topic

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741 hits since 15 Nov 2013
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Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2013 8:00 a.m. PST

Sparked by the discussion about whether British Marines in 1762 wore the mitre…

The phrase "to encourage the others" comes from Voltaire's Candide where

In Portsmouth, Candide witnesses the execution of an officer by firing squad; and is told that "in this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others" (Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres).

from Wikipedia

My question is whether there is a more subtle meaning in the French "encourager" than a simple English "encourage".
Are the words strictly analagous?
Today, "encourage" in English means that all the kids in the Youth Soccer League get trophies. grin Hardly the same thing!

I am wondering because of how the word "amuse" has evolved, among others. The word used to mean that a force would demonstrate in front of the enemy to distract or harass them. Now it means to make them laugh.

britishlinescarlet2 Inactive Member15 Nov 2013 8:04 a.m. PST

My mother had an "encourager"… was a piece of wood about two foot long that she used to both stir the copper and "encourage" me to behave.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Nov 2013 9:06 a.m. PST

Of course, 18th Century French is a bit different from modern French, however, I don't think there is any hidden linguistic meaning here. I think is is plain old sarcasm, a forte of Voltaire, which seems to translate well across the centuries.

Parzival15 Nov 2013 11:51 a.m. PST

"encourage": Means what it saysó to put courage into someone.

The root word is the French for "heart," (as in Richard Cour de Lion). So, even in French, the word "encourage" literally means to give someone heart.

I think the meaning has always been what it is today, and etotheipi is correct regarding Voltaire's satirical intent.

Last Hussar15 Nov 2013 1:55 p.m. PST

I enjoyed Candide – I was pleasantly surprised by that fact.

Personal logo UltraOrk Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2013 9:25 p.m. PST


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