Posted by Bob on August 16, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Trying to think of an English word meaning "double entendre" posted by Bob on August 16, 2003
: : The postings of August 8-10 "What does 'Pick a finger' mean?" clearly indicate to me that both of the suggested interpretations of the hand gesture are intended simultaneously--that is, paraphrasing, 'what alternative procedure would you have undertaken?', and 'bugger off'. I'm sure there's an English word to describe this double meaning, but it's been eluding me. Any suggestions?
: I don't think there is one, which would explain the widespread use of the French phrase. I'm prepared to stand corrected, but I can't really think of one. A number of similar phrases and words come to mind, that remain in the original tongue, simply because it takes 4 or 5 English words to say the same thing. Schadenfreude. Eventually, of course, these words become English, and the OED grows. Our language has the largest number of words because of this hospitality.
Using that same rule of thumb, "joie de vivre" is not at all efficient, since it takes the same number of syllables to say it in English, so using the French smacks of pretention.
See also - other French phrases in English.