Posted by RRC on June 27, 2006
In Reply to: Re: 50,000 Frenchman can't be wrong posted by Bob on June 27, 2006
: : : What does the meaning 50,000 Frenchman can't be wrong mean and where does it come from.
: : There was a discussion about a song from the 1920s. But I don't know if that's the origin. Meaning, anyone?
: : http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/4/messages/1177.html
: The song does indeed seem to be the origin, poking fun at American prudishness compared to less-inhibited French behavior. While the number gets quoted, and misquoted as in this current decimal-shift example, the meaning still rings true today if you watch, say, television in both countries. The flamboyant Sophie Tucker used to sing the song, starting in 1927, and it means "don't condemn me for my lifesyle, I'm just doing what the French do, and 50,000 Frenchmen can't be wrong."
It has since become sort of a formula, e.g. "Tea must be good for you, 1 billion Chinese can't be wrong", etc.