Lest we forget

Georges

Member
Switzerland/French
'Lest we forget' is the phrase used in England during the ceremonies which take place in November to remember the deads of the last two world wars, meaning 'unless we forget'. Perhaps it is an archaic way to express the view that we should not forget?
 
  • FromMarseille

    Senior Member
    France
    to clarify, 'lest' is an archaic imperative form; thus:

    - 'lest we forget' means 'let's not ever forget'

    - 'Lest one think of the word "gentrification", city officials assured residents that buildings would remain rent-controlled' means 'may not someone think of the word "gentrification", city officials assured residents that buildings would remain rent-controlled'
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    Lest we forget is, in French, In memoriam.

    Another translation of lest is dans l'éventualité, and I think it could fit Jayjara's bill:
    Lest anyone should ask you, ...
    Dans l'éventualité où une "gentrification" serait évoquée, ...

     

    pifnane

    Senior Member
    French - France
    après une énumération : xxx,yyy, and least we forget zzz
    my suggestions
    sans oublier zzz
    de x à y en passant par z
    what do you think ?
     

    allezallez

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    SwissPete a raison, c'est "lest we forget."
    Aussi, je pense que "sans oublier" marche bien.
     
    Last edited:

    kite4life

    Member
    french
    Salut,

    A l'occasion d'Anzac Day en Australie, on entend souvent l'expression "Lest we forget"
    Je comprend que c'est une forme honorifique et de respect a l'égard des personnes mortes lors des combats, mais je ne comprend pas précisément sa signification.
    Quelqu'un se tenterai-t-il à une traduction littérale? :D Juste pour voir le sens des mots utilisés, en particulier "lest" :)

    Pour essayer, je vais dire: "de peur que nous oublions".... mais je trouve que c'est pas terrible comme marque honorifique :D .

    Merci :)
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    It's from a poem by R.Kipling. For memorial services like ANZAC day, maybe "N'oublions pas [jamais]!" (or in other contexts, maybe "Pour que nous n'oublions pas.")
     

    constantlyconfused

    Senior Member
    English - British
    "Lest" means "in case"

    Keep your child away from the swimming pool in case he falls in. - [to prevent your child from falling in...]

    For those interested, the poem atf refers to is Recessional by Rudyard Kipling (author of The Jungle Book), written in 1897.
    It is a prayer asking God to preserve the British Empire (as it was then) "spare us yet, lest we forget"...[the sacrifice of Christ].
    As above: "prevent us from forgetting..."

    It's basically a reminder not to get too 'cocky' in victory.

    After World War I the poem became closely associated with Remembrance Day, and the phrase "lest we forget" is often used on its own meaning "lest we forget the sacrifice of all those who died".
     

    chalni

    Member
    NZ
    English- Canadian, NZ
    Salut,

    A l'occasion d'Anzac Day en Australie, on entend souvent l'expression "Lest we forget"
    Je comprend que c'est une forme honorifique et de respect a l'égard des personnes mortes lors des combats, mais je ne comprend pas précisément sa signification.
    Quelqu'un se tenterai-t-il à une traduction littérale? :D Juste pour voir le sens des mots utilisés, en particulier "lest" :)

    Pour essayer, je vais dire: "de peur que nous oublions".... mais je trouve que c'est pas terrible comme marque honorifique :D .

    Merci :)
    Qu'ils ne soient jamais oubliés? That may be pretty poor French, but that is approximately the sentiment being expressed. Btw, we say "Lest we forget" during Anzac Day in NZ, too, and also during Armistice Day in Canada. I think it is fairly universal in the English speaking world as a traditional expression of respect for the fallen men and women of the two World Wars, and to recognise and acknowledge their sacrifice for us so that we may enjoy the peace that we do. (For example, my father's brother, a 20-year-old Canadian soldier, was killed by a sniper bullet in Belgium in WWII and still lies in a Canadian military cemetery in Belgium. So this is a subject that is personally meaningful to me.) The idea is that these men and women died so that we may live. The phrase is old fashioned but in the face of "the ultimate sacrifice", a slightly old-fashioned, courtly, poetic phrase seems to do more justice to the sentiment than purely modern language could do, which is why the phrase has survived in use for this particular occasion.
     

    chalni

    Member
    NZ
    English- Canadian, NZ
    'Lest we forget' is the phrase used in England during the ceremonies which take place in November to remember the deads of the last two world wars, meaning 'unless we forget'. Perhaps it is an archaic way to express the view that we should not forget?
    Yes, that is exactly the view that is being expressed, I believe. It is an archaic structure that gives an emotionally poetic ring to the idea, which is not so much "unless we forget" but rather "so that (or- to ensure that) we never forget".
     

    petit1

    Senior Member
    français - France
    Nous ne les oublierons jamais.
    Leur souvenir sera à jamais gravé dans nos mémoires.
     
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