âme [ama] damnée à pendre et à dépendre

Quentin Dollinger

English- England
I have encountered this in a letter written in 1822. The original sentence reads:

[…]. ama damnée à pendre et à dépendre, […]
In English it appears to be:

I found your poisonous man immediately in the Goth. Kalender. Quite right; he is an arch......[French], like all of his nation and kind.

The writer likely meant to write arch-villain, but left it as just arch...

Thanks to anyone who can put this French phrase into the proper context. It appears a literal translation is not adequate, so if I have to elaborate on its meaning in a footnote to my work, that is fine. Is it possibly a legal phrase?
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  • pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    The French passage contains two idioms:
    une âme damnée, pejorative, is a friend who exerts an bad/evil influence on someone; a "partner in crime," so to speak (see def. in the Trésor);
    il est à pendre et à dépendre is (or rather used to be) said of a friend who is entirely devoted (def.)

    I wouldn't dare suggest an English translation, but I hope this helps.


    Senior Member
    français - English (Can)
    I think the author meant 'arch' in the sense of;
    “principal” (archenemy; archrival) or “prototypical” and thus exemplary or extreme (archconservative)
    And with âme damnée
    Celui qui est entièrement dévoué à quelqu’un, qui exécute ses ordres aveuglément
    which would give something like arch-henchman - the best of his kind.

    As for 'à pendre et à dépendre' (originally, à vendre et à dépendre, as PV's link points out) I think it means something like 'to use and abuse as one sees fit'.

    Hope that helps you find a suitable translation
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