What's in a Word | All Blogs


Getting close

By Debra Dobbins

 

 

French is often considered the language of diplomacy. For centuries, it has been viewed as a language used by sophisticated people. It has become a lingua franca, a language that has transcended its national borders and spread throughout the world.

We have taken the French word rapprochement into English to describe the establishment of friendly relations between two nations. It came into English in 1809, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, which adds that literally it meant “’a bringing near,’ from rapprocher ‘bring near,’ from re- ‘back, again.’"  In today's paper, it is used in an editorial on relations between the United States and Iran.

The world has just lost South African leader Nelson Mandela. Among his many legendary accomplishments, “Madiba” surely can be considered a master of rapprochement.
 

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