fait divers

Reading E. M. Cioran’s All Gall Is Divided, I discovered a new word: “fait divers,” from (and still kind of located in) French. Says Cioran:

In this provisional universe, our axioms have only the value of a fait-divers.

Searching around some, I found that

In French “Fait Divers” is an expression not too easy to translate if one wants to keep its Gallic flavor. It is used when, for example, newspapers report strange events that have no relevance to the greater design such as a love triangle murder or a specific museum robbery. Not quite “miscellaneous” but somewhere along the line.

That’s good enough for me. I used to hate French terms thrown into English, because they seemed too uppity. But this one seems forgivable, maybe because it is essay-related, this random associative stuff, the divers as diverse as diversion. I think my favorite syllable is “div.”

PatrickWords03/08/05 1 comments


Dad • 03/09/05 5:14 PM:

I think I need more. What’s the translation if you don’t want to keep the Gallic flavor (which makes my breath stink)? Is it supposed to be hyphenated or not? How come it sounds plural but is used as a singular? How come the example you cite used it as a noun, but you define it as an adjective? Why wouldn’t a museum robbery be relevant to the greater design?

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