no-account as substantive ?

zita beretta

Senior Member
France - French
Hi there,
Who can help me ? I'm puzzled with "no-accounts" in the following sentence :
(context : people attend a burial, look at each other and comment. Play written around 1920)

"Gee, George, put every one's name down, I dare you. Half the toughs and the no-accounts in town are here."
Could it be "bank account" ?
So a funny way to call these people "beggars" ?
My attempt :
"Ça alors, George, note tous les noms, chiche. La moitié des durs à cuire et des traîne-misère de la ville est là".
Any help welcome
thank you in advance
  • zita beretta

    Senior Member
    France - French
    A "no-account" is someone who worthless or good-for-nothing. "Nullités", peut-être?
    Ahhh, very interesting.
    Nullités is ok, but a bit formal.
    Could you tell me the level of language of "no-account"?
    (So I can chose between "incapables/nullards/minables/pauvres types/ traîne savates etc.....)
    thank you Old Novice
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - Southern England Home Counties
    It's not a reference to not having a bank account; a no-account is someone who you take no account of. Worthless and irrelevant. Good for nothing, of no account. Not too strong because it implies that if you are important you would ignore them, take no account of them. Just ordinary, unimportant people.
    Pauvres types sounds a good version to me - incapables and minables are too negative.

    zita beretta

    Senior Member
    France - French
    Thank you so much Guillaume and Old Novice, very heplful.
    "Pauvres types" sounds good in this play (Sherwood Anderson's adaptation of his own novel Winesburg Ohio)...
    let's go !

    zita beretta

    Senior Member
    France - French
    "Vaurien" seems to me a much better idea : same etymology in English and French
    E : no-account = of no value
    F : vaurien = ne vaut rien
    all comments welcome
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