Le Roi Bobèche

Thomas Tompion

Senior Member
English - England
Thank you very much for helping me with Boulotte, a character in Offenbach's Barbebleue. It's just struck me that the King's name may have overtones too. He's called Le Roi Bobèche.

Does Bobèche mean anything in French? I didn't think it could mean fine-spade. He's a take-off of Louis Napoleon, if that helps.
  • LadyBronwyn

    France French
    Don't worry, Bobèche means nothing :) But it can be, as Tartuffe, a nickname which tell us more about the personality of the character : he may have a spade-looking head or he may be tall and thin like a spade... I don't know, I hadn't read this book... !


    Senior Member
    UK English
    I checked this word on WordReference first (easy than reaching for the dictionary!), then found it in Le Robert & Collins – it is indeed a candle-ring, as Wildan1 suggests.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Thomas Tompion: "I wonder what the etymology is - and in which direction it goes: did the clown name himself after the wax-preventer, or vice versa?"

    Le Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue française says the first known use of bobèche as "une partie de flambeau" dates to 1335. The etymology is obscur, perhaps from bobine. The clown was clowning in the 19th century, so that answers part of your question.
    < Previous | Next >