-âtre

jemappelleK80

Senior Member
le suffixe "-âtre," est-il l'équivalent de "-ish" en anglais?

Par exemple, le mot "jaunâtre," ça veut dire simplement "yellowish," ou est-ce qu'il y a en plus un sens péjoratif impliqué?

Merci pour m'aider clarifier le sens!

~Katie
 
  • Isotta

    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    Hello dear friend!

    From what I remember from Moran's class, yes. "Bleuâtre" is "bluish."

    I have only heard it with colors. I wonder if it can extend to other things.

    Biz.
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    Two things here.
    a) When suffixed to colours 'âtre' is NEUTRAL, i.e 'jaunâtre' is simply 'a different sort of yellow' ('yellowish')

    BUT

    b) it can be used in a derogatory way, e.g in 'bellâtre' (= a handsome but stupid man), 'un bimbo' quoi !!!

    Or used to give an unpleasant flavour to sthg

    'brackish waters' = des eaux saumâtres.
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    When suffixed to colours 'âtre' is NEUTRAL, i.e 'jaunâtre' is simply 'a different sort of yellow' ('yellowish')
    Not sure about this. "Jaunâtre" means a very pale yellow, an almost undefinite color. It can be definitely derogatory. If I say "une chambre aux murs jaunâtres", it's less appealing than "une chambre aux murs jaunes" ;)
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    Less appealing because it's not the same colour or same hue of yellow. It does sound 'derogatory' but it's simply because our mindset conditions us to be 'judgmental' on colours ('les goûts et les couleurs !' as we say). Take 'blanchâtre' for instance, it might not be as appealing as a pure 'white' but it does not mean necessarily that it's a derogatory phrase for 'white'.
    'Le Petit Robert' says (about -âtre- for colours):
    'Element qui marque un caractère approchant'

    Also adds, of course, as I pointed out, that it can be derogatory in phrase such as 'bellâtre' ('qui exprime une idée péjorative')
     

    alyssum

    New Member
    UK, English
    Hello,

    Would French readers consider 'brunâtre' to be of a higher register than 'brun(e)'? Is choosing to use 'brunâtre' a way of being more elegant, or is it simply in order to state that something is 'brownish' rather than 'brown'.

    If 'brunâtre' is of a higher register, does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could keep the formaity in English (brownish just sounds vague and ordinary... )

    Many thanks,
    Alyssum x
     

    BERENICE S

    Senior Member
    French-France
    Hello,

    Actually, "brunâtre" is more pejorative than "brun". It means "not really brown... somehow brown.. no so much brown..."
    Words with suffix "-âtre" are pejorative. For instance, "une marâtre" is a bad mother, "douceâtre" means insipid,...
     

    alyssum

    New Member
    UK, English
    Thanks everyone, I'd never realised that it had such a pejorative sense!

    I'll just stick to 'brownish' in that case...

    Alyssum x
     

    PGalbe

    Senior Member
    English
    And with shapes ? Roundish "rondâtre" ?
    When I typed it in my text, my spell checker changed it to "rond âtre". Two words.
    Does that look right to you ?
     

    LILOIA

    Senior Member
    No, it doesn't look right at all. "rondâtre" doesn't exist (we have "rondouillard") and rond âtre doesn't mean anything. You can't add "-âtre" to any word, as it seems possible in English with "- ish". French is not an elastic language !
     
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    OLN

    Senior Member
    French - France, ♀
    piriforme, cruciforme, lambdoïde, androïde...
    -forme (du latin), -oïde, du grec, ont une consonance savante.

    Courbe et galbe décrivent des contours ; une courbe est plutôt une ligne en 2D, un galbe (galbé = convexe) plus volontiers une surface en 3D.
    Le cintre (concave) est l'inverse du galbe.

    roundish : arrondi (imparfaitement rond)
     
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