1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)
  1. Mrs Large Senior Member

    London
    English and Polish
    I have always thought that garenne means a rabbit warren. However, I have a text describing a beautifully landscaped garden containing a "garenne" planted with exotic shrubs and flowers.

    Can one plant things in a rabbit warren? Or does "garenne" have another meaning?
     
  2. xiancee

    xiancee Senior Member

    france
    French
    It can be a place with trees.
     
  3. Dynamite Senior Member

    East South of France
    French - FRANCE
    CNTRL : Endroit clos (garenne forcée ou privée) ou ouvert (garenne libre) où l'on élève des lapins en semi-liberté; tout bois ou toute bruyère où abondent ces animaux.
    It has to see with rabbits
    tout bois ou toute bruyère où abondent ces animaux = all wood (forest) or heather-land where there are many rabbits
     
  4. xiancee

    xiancee Senior Member

    france
    French
    Rabbits are optionnal but wood is needed or at least a shrubbery!
     
  5. Mrs Large Senior Member

    London
    English and Polish
    Makes perfect sense now, although I can't immediately think of a good English equivalent.

    Many thanks, everyone
     
  6. Gonfalon New Member

    New York State
    English-American
    In English, warren originally meant a piece of land that was enclosed and used for breeding beasts and fowls and later an area for breeding rabbits or marked by rabbit burrows. The English word is derived from the old French "garenna" meaning "game park."

    I believe in French, the word has two meanings: 1) warren (as above) and 2) game park or enclosed private pleasure park. See the following quote:
    L’homme de génie a dans la conscience de son talent et dans la solidité de la gloire comme une garenne où son orgueil légitime s’exerce et prend l’air sans gêner personne. Honoré de Balzac, Modeste Mignon, 1844).

    It does not necessarily mean a structure to house rabbits, which is a rabbit hutch. Therefore, I believe "garenne" would translate as "warren" or "enclosed pleasure park" while a rabbit hutch would be a "lapinière."
     
  7. Dynamite Senior Member

    East South of France
    French - FRANCE
    Ok your quotation is from 1844 !
    I have to think all night about Balzac's sentence to understand and look for that meaning in all the dictionnaries I have !
    I can tell you surely that in my area nowadays when you say "garenne" you think "rabbit". We just know the phrase "un lapin de garenne" which means a wilde rabbit, versus "lapin domestique".
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  8. Gonfalon New Member

    New York State
    English-American
    Oh, I think you are quite right! Even in English, most people would associate "warren" only with rabbits. Although, in American English, I think most people would associate it with wild rabbits as opposed to domesticated rabbits kept in a hutch.

    But the original context in the initial question evidently pointed toward something quite different. Words change their meaning over time. And, thankfully, even here in America...some people still read Balzac!

    Also, which is quite fascinating I learned something about "le droit de garrenne," an old French feudal right.
     
  9. Pmouns New Member

    France, English
    For those of us interested in etymology (and I realise not everyone is!) this is fascinating. I'd assumed that 'warren' was an Anglo-Saxon word, but the connection with garenne is doubly interesting, partly because its an example of the g > w morphology that you get for example in Guillaume / William; but also because it is inherently unlikely that 'warren' could have been an Anglo-Saxon word for the simple reason that there were no rabbits in Britain before the Norman Conquest!

    The word really only exists in BE as a description of where rabbits live (in the wild) but the other sense of it being an enclosed piece of land still exists in some place names - such as Sezincote Warren in the Cotswolds (though there are other examples). I recently came across the same usage in France at the monastery of Ganagobie in Provence where the enclosed land surrounding the buildings was described as 'garenne' on the (contemporary) plan.
     

Share This Page