badaud,e (ba-doh, ba-dohd) noun
1. a gossipy idler, rubberneck, onlooker, gawker 2. stroller (flâneur)
Synonym: un gobe-mouche (literally "a swallows flies," or "fly swallower," from the image of a gaper standing with his/her mouth wide open--a sure target for les mouches!)
The term badaud comes from the Provencal "badar." (The French definition being to "rester bouche bée" or "to stand open-mouthed, in astonishment").
Badaudage--you know, "rubbernecking." There's a lot of this sort of activity going on around here at the moment, what with our house being wide open and sur le marché.*
From my office window, I watch the passers-by, who bend their backs and crane their cous* and seem to stop and spy. Stretch your neck this way, I whisper, to see the lavender patch that Jean-Marc has just tucked in for the winter. Look over there, and notice several rows of grapevines just below the wall of sleeping jasmine. Regardez,* beside the line of roses braving the cold November air, just beyond the sage-green shutters to where a would-be novelist blackens white pages in her showroom/study.
My Larousse* dictionary defines "badaud" as a "promeneur* whose curiosity is easily seduced by a spectacle" (read: the bright red FOR SALE sign weighing on our gate).
The French call the open-mouthed gapers "fly swallowers" and the term brings a smile. A little humor, even at another's expense, is proving helpful at this, an uprooting time in my life.
Speaking of humor, if you, too, are looking for a good laugh (and a walking, breathing example of badaud), watch for me tomorrow at the mouth of the Hudson. There I'll be, in gray and green* with a gaping mine,* head hung back, mouth ajar, tonsils kissing the sky--my own curiosity easily seduced by a great Big Apple.
Which reminds me--I hope there are no flies in New York City this time of year....
* * *
References: sur le marché = on the market, le cou (m) = neck; regardez = (you) look; Larousse dictionary; promeneur (promeneuse) = walker, stroller; green (see garde-robe story); une mine (f) = appearance (on face)
Listen to Jean-Marc's sentence: Download badaud.wav
Badar, d'où vient le mot badaud, ça veut dire rester "bouche bée."
Badar, from where we get the word badaud, means to stand open-mouthed.
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