Friday, November 16, 2012


Dégourdi(e); that's an interesting word.  The first time I ever heard it spoken it was used by a French friend to describe an unaccompanied five year old who followed directions well and knew her way around the neighborhood. (I fear that in most cases, the days of that sort of parental confidence are long gone.) 

Dégourdi(e) means smart or bright. Remove the "dé," however, and you have the French word "gourde" which as an adjective means thick or numb; or as a noun can either mean a gourd as grown in the garden or a flask; and in certain surly cases, a numbskull. It's not uncommon to hear a French person who has been sitting too long say that he wants to " dégourdir les jambes," i.e., to stretch his legs.

dégourdir:  to restore the circulation to
se dégourdir les jambes:  to stretch one's legs
engourdir:  to numb
s'engourdir:  to become numb

Painted gourdes at the market place in Olonzac.

©2012 P.B. Lecron