Friday, July 2, 2010


Okay, I'm a little bit behind on the news. So shoot me. Or just get in your time machine and travel back to earlier in the week. Here's the French take on President Obama's decision to give General Stanley McChrystal the boot. The headline for the article in Le Figaro read: Limogé, le général McChrystal en retraite.

If you're stumped by the term, "Limogé," let me enlighten you. It's the past participle of the verb, "se faire limoger" which means literally to send someone to Limoges. Figuratively, it means, "So long sucker! You are relieved of your duties and sent to the provinces." Supposedly, this dates from the World War I when French general Joffre had to relieve a group of insubordinate officers of their duties and sent them away from the front. Not all of them ended up in Limoges but somehow the name stuck.

I'm dreaming, though, of a corollary situation in American English where the headline in last week's New York Times might have read, "Paducah-ed, General McChrystal takes his leave." It's got a ring to it, doesn't it?

If you're from Kentucky and you find this offensive, come up with a snappy alternative to insult some other part of the country and leave it in the comments section.


Starman said...

I think in the US we would normally say, "sent to Timbuktu".

Danna said...

Kokomo-ed perhaps?

Ann said...

My husband and I have a joke that the term "limogé" came from Limoges, used for the poor factory workers who broke one too many pieces of porcelain.

Anonymous said...


Popcorn said...

Actually an assignment to Limoges was not a bed of roses for military officers during this era. Limoges, the town where I was born, was known at the time as La Ville Rouge (The Red Town). It was a rebellious town, birthplace of one of the first and most powerful extreme left labor union (Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) General Confederation of Labor established in 1895), friendly to Socialism and prone at confronting the authority in the street as the smallest provocation. The Army was expected to then go in the street and reestablish order. Because most of the Army was involved in battle in the Northeast the garrison was comprise of reserve old men from the working class and not in the mood of craking down on their fellow workers. That situation was very close of suicidal for any officer trying to reestablish order against an hostile mob. Beside the social scene of the upper class was very subdued depriving Officers of all the nice parties, balls and reception they were used to.

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