1. Anthony New Member

    UK English
    I have been reading some Camus (l'etrangere) and have come across a term which I can't find a clear definition in any dictionary. And as I don't have my own English translation available, i'm not sure how to render it in idiomatic English. The term is 'les "moeurs"' as in 'appeler les "moeurs"'. Although the normal translation is, of course, morals, I thought maybe here it could mean 'moral police' or something along those lines. Does anyone have any more ideas on how best to translate this phrase?
  2. beri Senior Member

    well well...
    "c'est entré dans les moeurs" means "it has become accepted by the majority"
    so, see, the "moeurs" are the customs of a group of people.
    but there are other significations, rather close to this one.
    maybe try
  3. Anthony New Member

    UK English
    It's difficult. I would give you the whole sentence, but I'm not sure if that's permissible under copyright laws. In the context, the subject of the sentence wishes to accost a woman formerly of his acquaintance at her hotel and then to call 'les moeurs' to accuse her of moral misdemeanour.
  4. beri Senior Member

    then maybe "to call the morals", so-to-speak, would mean, to call the police, for she offenced the good morals...?
    but I don't find anything of that in my French dic...
  5. Dantes Member

    USA English
    moeurs [mœR], mieux que [mœRs] n. f. pl. I. Habitudes (d’une société, d’un individu) relatives a la practique du bien et du man. conduite, morale. Bonnes, mauvaises mœrs. Il a des mœrs dissolue. – En droit. Outrage aux bonnes mœrs. – Police des mœrs, ou ellipt, les mœrs, police chargée de la réglementation de la prostitution. Les mœrs et la mondaine*. II. 1. Habitudes de vie, coutumes (d’un people, d’une société, d’un groupe). usage(s). Étudier les mœrs d’une ethnie, d’une tribu; d’une époque. Cette habitude est entrée dans les mœrs (dans nos mœrs). – Comédie DE MŒRS, peinture de mœrs: qui décrivent les habitudes d’une société. 2. Habitudes de vie individuelle, comportement (d’une personne). Avoir des mœrs simples, des mœrs bohèmes. 3. Habitudes de vie (d’une espèce animale). Les mœrs des abeilles. <moral>
  6. aurayfrance Senior Member

    France, French, English and Spanish
    I think that in the context indicated by Anthony it is a special meaning of "les moeurs". In fact, it is la Police des moeurs ou la Brigade des moeurs, police department in charge of sexual crimes and misdemeanors.
  7. beri Senior Member

    yeah you're right!
    la police des moeurs, I forgot that.
    Well, though forgetting it, I was not far ;)
  8. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france
    which would be, in english, the vice squad ? am i correct ?
  9. kiolbassa Senior Member

    you got there before me, the vice squad is right ... but only for the US - Scotland Yard certainly has an equivalent...?
  10. iasc18 Member

    Think possibly "appeal to someone's conscience", that is if i have the context right. Is the person considering taking a course of action? Then it could be to do a self cross check on a person's morals.
  11. EmmaPeel Senior Member

    Toulouse, France
    France - French
    Hi Anthony,

    Unfortunately I haven't read the book but I'm not sure they're talking about the "Brigade des Moeurs" (Police) here. The theme of the book is that the main character as a foreigner who is a stranger to the community life , customs, usages and faith of the people.
    Hence I'd say that here it is the main meaning of "moeurs": customs, habits.
    He/It had become part of the customs/usage
  12. Les moeurs or la Mondaine is the Brigade des moeurs or the Brigade mondaine, a police service in charge of prostitution, sexual crimes... (I'm not a spécialist ;))
    Appeler les moeurs = call the xxx police (someone said vice police, why not...)

    The story of L'étranger de Camus is set in French Algeria around the 50s or 60s. If you didn't read it, perhaps you know the song of Cure "Killing an Arab" ?
  13. zam

    zam Senior Member

    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    Also used for 'les moeurs', sometimes in an ironic way (quite a lot in high-brow papers -not something you'd come across in the tabloids) is the term 'the mores', e.g '.... in the mores of that village'.
  14. E-J

    E-J Senior Member

    Cambridgeshire, UK
    England, English
    Could we simply say that he wishes to "report her to the authorities"? The "moral" bit being implicit?
  15. How about here, what's the translation?

    En octobre 1822, une ordonnance leur interdit de vendre « tout livre, gravure et objet d’art quelconque qui serait jugé par l’autorité contraire aux lois et dangereux pour les mœurs », et en septembre 1829, défense est faite d’acheter à des enfants de famille, des écoliers, des serviteurs et domestiques sans autorisation de leurs père, mère, tuteur ou maître ou personne sans adresse »


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