badaud,e (ba-doh, ba-dohd) noun
1. a gossipy idler, rubberneck, onlooker, gawker 2. stroller (flâneur)
Synonym: un gobe-mouche (literally "a swallows flies," or "fly swallower," from the image of a gaper standing with his/her mouth wide open--a sure target for les mouches!)
The term badaud comes from the Provencal "badar." (The French definition being to "rester bouche bée" or "to stand open-mouthed, in astonishment").
Badaudage--you know, "rubbernecking." There's a lot of this sort of activity going on around here at the moment, what with our house being wide open and sur le marché.*
From my office window, I watch the passers-by, who bend their backs and crane their cous* and seem to stop and spy. Stretch your neck this way, I whisper, to see the lavender patch that Jean-Marc has just tucked in for the winter. Look over there, and notice several rows of grapevines just below the wall of sleeping jasmine. Regardez,* beside the line of roses braving the cold November air, just beyond the sage-green shutters to where a would-be novelist blackens white pages in her showroom/study.
My Larousse* dictionary defines "badaud" as a "promeneur* whose curiosity is easily seduced by a spectacle" (read: the bright red FOR SALE sign weighing on our gate).
The French call the open-mouthed gapers "fly swallowers" and the term brings a smile. A little humor, even at another's expense, is proving helpful at this, an uprooting time in my life.
Speaking of humor, if you, too, are looking for a good laugh (and a walking, breathing example of badaud), watch for me tomorrow at the mouth of the Hudson. There I'll be, in gray and green* with a gaping mine,* head hung back, mouth ajar, tonsils kissing the sky--my own curiosity easily seduced by a great Big Apple.
Which reminds me--I hope there are no flies in New York City this time of year....
* * *
References: sur le marché = on the market, le cou (m) = neck; regardez = (you) look; Larousse dictionary; promeneur (promeneuse) = walker, stroller; green (see garde-robe story); une mine (f) = appearance (on face)
Listen to Jean-Marc's sentence: Download badaud.wav
Badar, d'où vient le mot badaud, ça veut dire rester "bouche bée."
Badar, from where we get the word badaud, means to stand open-mouthed.
Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 19th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice
Or support this journal by purchasing our memoir, THE LOST GARDENS, about a beloved vineyard in France click here.