Ambulance 464/Glossary

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Ambulance 464 by Julien H. Bryan
French Glossary

FRENCH GLOSSARY

 

Abri: a dugout, shelter from shell fire.

Allemand: German. Allemagne: Germany.

Arrivé: a shell coming towards one from the enemy.

Aspirant: a new officer, or one who is on trial; a candidate or cadet.

Aujourd'hui: today.

 

Assis: men slightly wounded and able to sit up.

Assez: enuf.

Barrage (tir de): gun fire which prohibits the movement of troops; curtain of fire.

Beurre: butter; petit beurre, little crackers.

Bidon: gourd, or canteen; pail for water.

Blessés: wounded.

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge: Blue, white and red, the colors of the French flag.

Boche: German. The word has come to mean thick-head. It was used to denote a person who butted into a game, or was the goat against whom everyone joined.

Bois: forest or wood.

Boulangerie: bakery.

Boyau: a trench, usually a communication trench; originally, a passage-way.

Brancardier: a stretcher-bearer.

Briquet: a cigarette lighter.

 

Camion: a truck; camionette: a little truck.

Camouflage: means used to render objects inconspicuous.

Cantonnement: cantonment; quarters.

Centime: monetary value, about one-fifth of a cent. The smallest coin used is the five centime piece.

Chasseur (Alpin): a soldier belonging to a famous French corps.

Château: a country mansion, formerly the word meant castle.

Chef: chief.

Cognac: a kind of brandy.

Couchés: stretcher cases. Literally, men so badly wounded as to have to be carried lying down.

Confiture: jam, or sweets.

Coup de main: trench raid.

Croix de Guerre: the War Cross, a French decoration.

 

Departé: one of our own shells, on its way to the enemy.

Douille: a brass shell case.

Douze: Twelve.

Drapeau: a flag.

 

Eau-de-Vie: whiskey.

Éclat: fragments of shells or grenades; shell splinters.

Encore des blessés: still more wounded!

Epicerie: grocery store.

Evacuation: transporting wounded to the rear; simply, moving of wounded.

Essence: gasoline.

 

Fatigue cap: pointed cloth cap worn by French.

Feuille: the opposite of a marraine. The man with whom the girl corresponds.

Fil-de-fer: barbed-wire.

Franc: coin worth about twenty cents. The standard of French money.

Fromage: cheese.

Fusée: a fuse, usually a time fuse.

 

Genie (Soldats du-): sappers and miners—engineers.

G.B.D.: divisional stretcher company.

Grands blessés: seriously wounded men.

Guerre: war.

 

Hors d'oeuvres: small appetizer, sardines, pickles, etc., served at the beginning of a meal.

H.O.E.: evacuation hospital.

 

Kilogramme: a measure of weight, a trifle over two pounds.

Kilometre: a distance, about three fifths of a mile.

Kilo: abbreviation used for either.

 

Malade: sick.

Marraine: literally, a god-mother; used of a girl who sends letters and packages to some man at the front.

Marseillaise: the French National anthem.

Médecin-chef: medical officer in charge of the brancardiers.

Merci: thank you.

Metro: Paris subway.

Midis: men from the south of France.

Mitrailleuse: machine-gun.

Monsieur: Sir, or Mr.

 

Obus: a shell.

Opera-comique: the light opera; a theater in Paris.

Ordre de mouvement: field orders to move, for troops or individuals.

Pain: bread.

Patisserie: pastry.

Permis de séjour: paper allowing one to stay in France.

Permission: leave of absence.

Pied gélé: severe frostbite of the feet; frozen feet.

Pigeon lamp: small gasoline torch.

Poste de secours: first aid station.

Pinard: slang expression for wine; poor poilu wine.

Poilu: literally "the hairy one." The French soldiers are given this nickname because they often go unshaven for long periods.

P.G. (prisonnier de guerre): the abbreviation for prisoner of war, which is stamped in huge letters on the backs of all captured soldiers.

Premierés Lignes: first line trenches.

 

Ravitaillement: supplies of all kinds for the army, but usually food.

Repos (en repos): period of rest and inaction behind the lines.

Rouge: red.

 

Salle à manger: dining-room.

Saucisse: sausage. French observation balloons are called sausages on account of their peculiar shape.

Secours: help or aid. Poste de secours means a first aid station.

Sejours: sojourn or visit, etc.—permis de sejours means the official paper allowing one to remain in France. This applies, of course, to only foreigners.

Soixante-quinze: 75. The famous 75 millimeter gun, about the same size as our three inch piece, is known simply by the numeral 75, or soixante-quinze.

S.S.U.12—Section Sanitaire (Etats) Unis 12: Translated it reads, "American Sanitary Section Number 12. The letter "U" is rather a poor abbreviation for the word American or United States, but "A" cannot be used since it stands for Anglais, meaning English.

Soupe: simply the word soup. It has come to mean supper which usually begins with soup.

 

Tir de barrage: Tir means the firing of a gun. Barrage means a barrier. The phrase therefore can be translated by the expression "curtain or barrier of fire."

Tirage: meaning a drawing or dragging. A tirage at the front means a relay station or an intermediary post between the advanced postes de secours and the hospitals.

T. M.: Freely, transport of munitions. The truck sections of the Field Service were called T.M. Sections.

 

Vin rouge: red wine.

 

EXPRESSIONS IN FRENCH

 

Eteignez les lumières blanches: Literally, "Put out your white lights."

Ou est la rue Cherbourg? Where is Cherbourg street? We were continually asking the inhabitants "Ou est" such and such a place.

Gare du Quai d'Orsay: A railroad station in Paris called Quai d'Orsay.

N'est ce pas. Is it not so?

C'est la guerre. The Frenchman's excuse for everything. "It's the war," or "the war did it."

 

PLACES NEEDING EXPLANATION

Esnes: The little village at the foot of Hill 304 in which our Poste de Secours was situated.

Fontainebleau: A city south of Paris where the most important artillery school in France is stationed.

Strafen's Corner: (strafen means to punish). The bend on the Esnes road which the Boches shelled so regularly.

 

Printed in the U. S. A.