égalité shmégalité


Senior Member
She began her book with an open letter to Talleyrand, a major figure in the French Revolution, who had argued that, égalité shmégalité, girls don’t need a formal education:

The sentence above is from Rationality by Steven Pinker.
Here, Pinker is referring to Mary Wollstonecraft, and her book in which she advocated women's rights.

I wonder what Pinker means by "shmégalité"! It seems like a word that he has made up. I can't find it neither in French nor English dictionaries.
  • Minnesota Guy

    Senior Member
    American English - USA
    He's alluding to the French motto, "Liberté, egalité, fraternité," ("Liberty, equality, brotherhood"). Many English readers will be familiar with the original French words.

    Pinkeris implying that Talleyrand dismisses the idea of equality when it comes to women.