Have a name to sleep outside (Middle Ages, Napoleonic Wars)

Have a name to sleep outside (Middle Ages, Napoleonic Wars)


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Today, that expression means having a name that is difficult to pronounce or remember. It comes from a time when a person was lost or had to ask for shelter from strangers, it was better for her to have a Christian-sounding name so that someone would agree to offer her a place to spend the night. night.

It was the same in hostels, where people with more bourgeois names were more likely to get a room. On the other hand, the others had to sleep outside. The meaning of the expression is different today, although it still has a rather negative value.

Another possible origin is the Napoleonic army. It was made up of many soldiers recruited during campaigns abroad. When parked in towns, residents were required to accommodate officers holding a housing ticket. Some of its officers had foreign sounding names. He could pass for enemies. It was said that they had names to sleep outside with "a housing ticket".

For further

- Treasures of French expressions by Sylvie Weil. Belin, 2008.

- La Fin des haricots: And other mysteries of French expressions by Colette Guillemard. Omnia, 2009.


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