March 09, 2007

excuse my french

I haven't had anything to say about Bravo's show "Top Design" so far. Everyone, including the Blogging Top Design team, seems to agree that it can't touch "Project Runway" -- the challenges, the judges, the contestants, all very blah and bland. Here's one of the judges sprinkling his comments with French, or what he considers French:
Michael—That one has never met a shade of grape he didn’t love! I kind of j’adored seeing him get all up in Carisa’s face in the waiting room while we deliberated. He suffers from high self esteem and comes across as quite arrogant. But, swear to God, he’s a very sweet and smart guy.
Tim Gunn, will you come and save us, please?

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In the expression "Excuse my French", "French" is used as a euphemism for "bad language". According to the OED, this first occurred in the late 19th century. Much older is the use of "French" as a euphemism for venereal diseases "1505: A Surgeon whiche heled him of the Frenche pox", 1592 "There you shall see men diseased of the French Marbles"). On the bright side, however, there are French cuffs, French kisses, French fries (except when they're freedom fries), and French windows. Recent additions to this entry in the OED are French ticklers ("a condom of which the tip incorporates several small protrusions") and French knickers ("loose-fitting and usu. lace-trimmed ladies' knickers or underpants with a short, full leg"), and French press ("an exercise designed to develop and strengthen the triceps").

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