forelock-tuggers

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Andrew1980, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. Andrew1980

    Andrew1980 Senior Member

    Cannot get the meaning of "forelock-tuggers" in the biography of Dominique de Villepin:

    "But what was it about Dominique de Villepin that made Mr Chirac appoint him first as chief of staff, then foreign minister, interior minister and finally his prime minister? It was the poetry and the intellect, as French journalist and commentator Anne-Elisabeth Moutet explains."Chirac has always needed to admire someone who's got intellectual ascendancy over him," she believes."Villepin is the last Svengali to shape Chirac's brain." Mr de Villepin knows well from his study of French history that forelock-tuggers can quickly turn nasty in a crowd."

    Who are these guys: forelock-tuggers? Poets?
     
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    Traditionally, the working classes tugged their forelock to show respect to the upper classes, a bit like saying, 'Gor bless you, sir,' but visible as the exalted personage passes. It can now only be used in an ironic sense, as here: those who tug their forelock are those who say 'yes sir, of course sir' to the political master.
     
  3. Andrew1980

    Andrew1980 Senior Member

    Thank you very much!
     

Share This Page

Loading...