abracadabrant(e) (ah bra kah dah brahn [brahnt]) adj.
: amazing, extraordinary
syn: invraisemblable (bizarre), extravagant
abracadabra : interjection , also, masculine noun for magical formula
Audio file: Listen to "abracadabrant" at French Wikipedia...
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
When Jean-Marc needed to spend the day prospecting with an American wine importer, I offered to host the man's 8-year-old son, or traveling companion.
Doubtful about my decision, I ran to the phone and rang Jules, in Mexico.
"Oh, Mom. How will I do with him?!"
Jules told me not to worry. Instead she shared the story about "Hefty", the giant carnival hand:
"When I was a little girl," Mom began, "I had a horrible wart on my thumb... I was always trying to hide it. One day I was sitting on a tree stump, outside the carnival grounds, staring at my thumb. That's when Hefty appeared. The giant, noticing my sadness, assured me I would never shed another tear. I watched Hefty disappear into the carnival tent and, fast as that, return with a secret ointment. Abracadabra! The wart disappeared!"
As Mom told the story, I could sense her wonderment. The kindness of a stranger... it was such a small detail in the grand scheme of a child's being, and yet the carnival hand's caring gesture never left her.
I considered Mom's words. I might not be as giant, or giant-hearted as Hefty, but there is that unmistakable oddness, or rather, that awkwardness that amounted, did it not, to no more than self-doubt?
I began to hope for a genuine gesture, like Hefty's, to somehow surface from deep within me. Maybe in this way my eight-year-old guest and I would enjoy the same simplicity?
"Don't worry," Mom assured. "And what an exciting thing... just think about your visitor and wonder just whom, after all, you are hosting." Thinking about it that way... perhaps Einstein was coming for the day? Or Victor Hugo, or Gandhi, or some other hero... or hero-in-progress!
When Braden arrived I was as nervous as a bride. "Would you like orange juice? Milk? A pain au chocolat?" Our hero was not so hungry and, after a bite or two, I was wondering what to do? what to do?
I spotted my camera on the comptoir....
"Would you like to take some photos, Braden?"
And—voilà—we were off! The rest of the day I spent in the privileged presence of an artist and visionnaire. As I followed the intrepid ingénu... I began to notice ordinary things anew! And oh the possibilities... of pairing grapes with flowers and pumpkins and trees!
By the end of Braden's stay my narrow world was as wide as the Milky Way. And it's all thanks to Hefty whose heart went out. And to the child he helped, who then pointed the way to me:
"The potential of a child... is as endless as a giant's smile."
The artist's self portrait. "Looking in" by Braden.
le comptoir* = counter
voilà = just like that!
*Newforest, whom many of you know via "Le Coin Commentaires" offers these notes:
Originally, "un comptoir" (from the verb "compter") was a table used by a shopkeeper, on which he showed the goods you wanted to buy - he also used that table to count his money which he kept in a drawer.
Nowadays, "un comptoir" can be found in shops and bars, in banks, post offices, libraries & commercial places.
For a kitchen: "un plan de travail", "une surface de travail" (I heard French people saying "la table de travail" but I believe "un plan de travail is the most common expression)
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A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.
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