Couche

Maroseika

Moderator
Russian
In Russian we have an expression "Сорвать куш" meaning décrocher la timbale, to snatch a large sum.
Russian etymologists derivate this word куш ([kush] = somme rondelette, large sum) from the French couche.
However I don't see in my French dictionaries any significance of couche that could originate such significance.

Maybe this word - couche - has or had some other meaning, colloquial or slang?
 
  • themaster

    Senior Member
    FRANCE/French
    That might be an obsolete word meaning. It's not used in French anymore. All I can say is I never read/heard this word anywhere to say "somme rondelette".
     

    niko

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Hi Maroseika,

    Well, I've been searching a bit, and I didn't find anything either, relating "couche" to money.
    Now we could try to make some guesses but for that, I suppose it would be better of you could give the meaning of sorvat'.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Hi Maroseika,

    Well, I've been searching a bit, and I didn't find anything either, relating "couche" to money.
    Now we could try to make some guesses but for that, I suppose it would be better of you could give the meaning of sorvat'.
    Sorvat' means in this case "to break" like in the idiom "to break the bank", i.e. to win too much in the casino, or wider and figuratevely - to earn much money at once.
    So couche may be some cards term, or refer to the roulette wheel or something like that.
    For example, couche might mean a layer or stack of the cards in some game (something like canasta). The winner of each turn gets all the cards in the stack.
    Is it possible that couche meant a stack of the cards?
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Well, this page says the same. It should have to do with coucher, but I'm not sure either how to get there:

    "ставка, выигрыш" (Мельников), из франц. соuсhе -- то же; также куш -- межд. "смирно! лежать!" (собаке), охотничий язык (Даль). Из франц. соuсhе от соuсhеr "класть, ложиться", лат. соllосārе.
    "betting, profits" (according to Melnikov), from French couche, but also куш: interjection "stand still! lay down!" (speaking to a dog), hunting language (from afar?). From French couche from coucher "to hide, to lie down", from Latin collocāre.

    Corrections regarding the translation are most welcome. :)
     

    niko

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Sorvat' means in this case "to break" like in the idiom "to break the bank", i.e. to win too much in the casino, or wider and figuratevely - to earn much money at once.
    So couche may be some cards term, or refer to the roulette wheel or something like that.
    For example, couche might mean a layer or stack of the cards in some game (something like canasta). The winner of each turn gets all the cards in the stack.
    Is it possible that couche meant a stack of the cards?
    When a player gives up, in a card game, we say "il se couche". But there's no relation with the money you would gain ;
    I was wondering wether it could be related to the bed, that is to say, by subtile distortions, something like "win the girl" or something. But it's really just a guess, for I never heard any expression of that kind in French so far.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    When a player gives up, in a card game, we say "il se couche". But there's no relation with the money you would gain ;
    I was wondering wether it could be related to the bed, that is to say, by subtile distortions, something like "win the girl" or something. But it's really just a guess, for I never heard any expression of that kind in French so far.
    So you can't call la couche a stack of cards?
    At least according to my dictionary couche may mean a layer of something: couche limite, intermédiaire, couche d'oxyde, etc.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    How about couche in the meaining of a gold or silver-bearing vein or stratum in a mine where one would "strike it rich".
    I toyed with the idea of a corruption of English cash from Italian cassa(box) , or French and English cache (from Fr. cacher, to hide), a treasure trove of hidden loot, but these seem improbable,
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    To be honest, I wondered about that myself, too. I didn't know Melnikov was a publisher of Russian etymological things, but this is what I found on a quick search. Is he well-known among Russian linguists?
    To my shame I've never heard of him. Your link says him to be an author of rather specific lunguistic books, however I don't know any sistematic etymological dictionary other than Vasmer's and Chernykh's.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    How about couche in the meaining of a gold or silver-bearing vein or stratum in a mine where one would "strike it rich".
    Very interesting idea!
    I toyed with the idea of a corruption of English cash from Italian cassa(box) , or French and English cache (from Fr. cacher, to hide), a treasure trove of hidden loot, but these seem improbable,[/
    According to my sources cash originates directly from Prov. caissa - money box (while caissa itself really originates from the box).
    Further this word really descends to "hold, hide" (as well as case).
     

    Montaigne

    Senior Member
    French, France
    Nicot dans son Trésor de la langue française (1606) donne une acception de "couche" ; l'argent qui est misé par un joueur ou de dés ou de cartes et sur lequel l'autre joueur doit enchérir ou quitter.(J'ai transcris en français contemporain)
    Je crois que cela est une bonne piste.
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    Une autre possibilité viendrait de couche = matelas, matelas dans lequel l'argent (or, pièces, etc.) était couramment caché, dans les campagnes. On ouvre la couche pour trouver le magot (pile of money).
     

    Montaigne

    Senior Member
    French, France
    Sorry for being so stubborn, BUT:

    La première édition du Diictionnaire de l'Académie Française (1694) indique entre autres sens : "couche" ce que l'on met (mise) sur une carte (ex : "La première coouche doi têtre au moins d'une pistole").

    88 years after Nicot, almost the same definition.
     
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