Friday, June 12, 2020


Avoir le bourdon. . . to have the blues
Bumblebee in French is bourdon, which is also the word for a low-pitched sound. It's as well the word for an organ pipe--in both French and English, and the expression for a typesetters's omission of a word. 
The origin of "avoir le bourdon" as an expression for having a low morale is thought to be from the deep sound of huge bells that are customarily rung to signal grave events. However, a typographer who left out a word from a text could have cause for feeling low, too.
Good friend Sylvia photographed this bumblebee in her garden in the south of France in the middle of the Covid 19 confinement and contributed it along with the expression. Thanks, Sylvia!
un bourdon:  a bumblebee
un bourdonnement:  a buzzing, a humming

©2020 P. B. Lecron


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