Word of the Week: Grinch, Grincher, Grincheux[se]

As you may know from my Year in Books, I enjoy keeping my foreign language skills honed by occasionally reading Harry Potter books in French.

What does this have to do with “The Word of the Week?”

Whilst making my way through Harry Potter et le prisonier d’Azkaban, I came across an adjective: “grincheux.”

That was a new one for me. I usually read about art in French, and while it is true that many artists are cranky, grumpy, grouchy, peevish, tetchy and petulant (among other similar synonyms), this is rarely referred to in a description of a work or object of art.

Of course, I immediately thought of Dr. Suess’s How Grinch  Stole Christmas! Based on the context of the sentence, “grinchy” seemed to make sense.

And so it did. The Grinch is grincheux. If he was a she, she would be grincheuse.

When one is the in act of grinchant (grinching, grincher = to grinch), they are making heard their discontent. It is a fairly familiar verb to use, apparently. Be warned. This verb usage is largely according to Dictionnaire Reverso; however, the verb does not appear in the Collins Robert French Unabridged Dictionary in my possession. Thus, it may not actually be a word. Who knows? Perhaps I should inquire at the official Académie.

The French are incredibly organized.

According to the Collins Robert:

Grincheux, -euse, adjective or noun
(adj) grumpiness; (n.) grumpy person, misery

According to Oxford American Dictionaries’ widget for Mac:

Grinch, noun, informal
A person who is mean-spirited and unfriendly.
Origin: mid-twentieth century: From the name of the title character from Dr. Suess’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957).

Someone did not do their research, am I right?

In related French vocabulary news, “grigou” means “curmudgeon.”


1 Comment

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One response to “Word of the Week: Grinch, Grincher, Grincheux[se]

  1. Pingback: Mr. Men in French: Collection Bonhomme, Monsieur Curieux | Words to Bumble

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