[Ravensfort] Pas d'armes

House Lizardkeep lizardkeep at sbcglobal.net
Mon Nov 11 15:00:24 PST 2002

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Greetings all!
I was going to send this to HE Brian and then thought that I might as well send it to the list so that we all can benefit.
Pas ( from the latin passus) has two meanings.  The first, as a noun, is "step" like in foot step or a march.  It is also used in a military sense to mean a cadenced or orchestrated  step or march.  The second meaning, as an adverb, indicates a negative as in "not", or "none", or "not either".

D' is the contraction used for the preposition "de".  It is used when de is in front of a noun starting with a vowel ( just like you use "an" rather than "a" in front of a vowel in english).

"Arme" (from the latin arma) means weapon.  The "e" at the end is "mute" or silent.  This is the reason why a lot of people, including native french speakers, will make the mistake to drop the "e" entirely.  "Arm" doesn't mean anything in French!  To indicate the plural you add a "s" at the end.

So, the correct spelling is:

If it is a single weapon tourney: pas d'arme.

If using more than one weapon: pas d'armes.

And the reason I giggle so much each time I hear it?  It's pretty simple: due to the double meaning of "pas" you end up with a terrible pun!  You see, pas d'arme also means "no weapon"!   Just visualize it: an entire tourney fought with "air swords"!!!!


PS: remember if you have any question about French culture/language/food don't forget to use the resources at hand!  Ask your resident French native, I'm there to help.

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