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Origins of "frog" as term for French person?
| July 17, 2002
Posted on 07/17/2002 12:36:51 AM PDT by zapiks44
Can someone tell me the origins of how the term"frog" came to be a disperaging slang for a French person?
posted on 07/17/2002 12:36:51 AM PDT
I think it has to do with the French eating frog legs.
From Plateau Express's Word For Word
|Mark Kronauer: What is the origin of the word "frog" when used as a slang term for "French" or "Frenchman"?
Terry O'Connor: English people and French people have long been enemies, culturally, militarily and commercially. In fact the two countries have almost been at war more often than at peace. (Well, not really, but it sometimes seems that way when you browse the history books.) So insults between the two nations are common. The French have described the English as a nation of shopkeepers and the English have described the French as a nation of frog-eaters. So, boil it down over the years and "frog-eaters" becomes frogs or froggies. N'est pas?
RICHARD YOUNG: The story I heard was that this term dated from the middle ages, when the French flag had a blue background with gold fleur-de-lys on it. The ignorant English, not knowing that the fleur-de-lys was supposed to be a flower, though that it represented a gold frog. Hence "frog" became a derogatory term for the French.
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Got this from http://allaboutfrogs.org/weird/general/myths.html
The French and the Frogs
For some reason, the French have been given the nickname Frogs...There are many different theories about how this came to be...
The story I had always heard was that the nickname dates waaay back to sometime around the 18th century, when Paris was surrounded by many swamps...The French nobility that would visit Versailles apparently tended to refer to Parisians as frogs because of the swampy surroundings...and only later did the term get picked up to describe the French in general.
Another story I've heard was that American soldiers adopted the nickname for the French during the World War II because they ate frog legs and hid well when camouflaged.
I've also heard that a frog used to be on the French Flag, before the Fleurs de Lis was adopted when King Clovis took the throne....
In fact, there are so many stories....I don't think anyone really knows for sure...
posted on 07/17/2002 1:03:26 AM PDT
posted on 07/17/2002 1:11:32 AM PDT
To: Libertarianize the GOP
Ah, so then properly, the French are "frog-eating surrender monkeys".
It seems to be a general term of abuse for anyone, not specifically French but the connection with eating frogs has sort of cemented that meaning. The Oxford English Dictionary gives, in part: b. = froggy n. 2. Also, the French language. Also attrib. or as adj. 1778 F. Burney Evelina I. xiv. 79 Hark you, Mrs. Frog..you may lie in the mud till some of your Monsieurs come to help you out of it. 1845 F. A. Kemble Let. 15 Dec. in Rec. Later Life (1882) III. 110 Surely I shall always be able, go where I will, among frogs or maccaronis, to procure sucre noir, or inchiostro nero. 1914 R. Brooke Let. July (1968) 601 Could we go on Friday to the Frog-Art show at Grosvenor House? From the First Frog to Czanne. 1932 J. Dos Passos Nineteen Nineteen 55 Even the dogs looked like frog dogs. 1938 S. V. Bent Thirteen OClock 234 But thered be the nuisance of learning frog-talk and the passage there and back. 1955 W. Faulkner Fable 333 Ask him... You can speak Frog. 1962 I. Murdoch Unofficial Rose viii. 84 Not that I want you to marry a frog, but she sounded quite a nice girl. 1970 Private Eye 27 Mar. 16, I dunno about the no hard feelings bitfrom what I hear about them frog sheilahs!
posted on 07/17/2002 1:28:49 AM PDT
So insults between the two nations are common.
The Brits were even more disparaging of the Dutch, with whom they were naval rivals in the 17th century. English seafarers coined several derogatory terms prefixed by "Dutch" including:
Dutch courage - induced by liquor
Dutch door - half a door
Dutch oven - roasting pan
Dutch rub - a painful rub
Dutch treat - you pay
Dutch uncle - one who scolds
Initially, I define the Dutch oven as a "roasting pot". Anyone know the difference between a "pot" and a "pan"? For anyone who can tell me, I'll provide the difference between a teepee and a wigwam.
Also, when you get a bad car, appliance, etc., it is called a "lemon". Anyone know the term fo a bad lemon?
posted on 07/17/2002 1:31:18 AM PDT
Ask The History Doc: Why are the French called Frogs?
by Jean England Freeland
Dear History Doctor:
Why are the French called frogs? Is it because they like to eat frog legs?
Not an Amphibian Fan
Well, for a change the History Doctor gets a chance to answer a genuinely presented question! Let's not let this start a trend.
I am happy to report that I have not one but several answers to this particular question, in spite of the fact that the inquiry is not, strictly speaking, of an historical nature. But we will let that pass, because the answer is at least potentially related to history. I must point out that I had to do some research on the net to come up with this information, and I am therefore indebted to Cecile Charron for her important contribution to human understanding. So here we go!
For quite a long time, apparently, the French have been known as frogs. One would think, of course, that the appellation had something to do with the consumption thereof, and that is indeed one potential explanation for the nickname. The French fondness for frog legs was especially noted by British soldiers during World War I, who, being keen culinary observers, saw that their French counterparts customarily preferred frog legs even to good old steak and kidney pie. Hmmm, there is definitely a lesson here somewhere.
A later version of this explanation declares that in the NEXT war, the French resistance soldiers were called frogs because they were able to hide so well from the Germans that the Germans began to complain they couldn't find them any easier than one could find a frog in hiding.
But wait, there's more! One explanation involves the History Doctor's favorite (English) monarch, Elizabeth I, who really liked frogs and frequently applied the word affectionately to her close buddies. She frequently referred to at least one of her, um, very close friends as my dear frog, and at one point this gentleman was her representative in France. Also, for a brief time she was about-to-be-engaged to the youngest son of Henri II, whom she also referred to in froggy terms. Of course, that union came to naught since Elizabeth never did marry.
And then of course there is the Parisian explanation. For quite a while the area of and around Paris was quite swampy and therefore full of the croakers. You may already know that what is today the Marais was, in fact, a real swamp for quite a while (marais = swamp). Needless to say, this area was not regarded as upscale real estate at the time. When everybody who was anybody took to living outside of Paris at Versailles, the in crowd began to refer to those who still lived in the swamp as frogs. The term became popular with foreign ambassadors, and voila! the French became frogs.
There are other possible explanations, but you will have to investigate these for yourself. On a personal note, I must point out that the History Doctor's wonderfully informed but somewhat wacky husband insists that the term applies because on the forthcoming voyage to France all the beautiful young Frenchwoman are planning to kiss him so he will turn into a handsome prince. He hopes.
posted on 07/17/2002 1:36:22 AM PDT
"Anyone know the difference between a "pot" and a "pan"?"
To me, generally pots are much taller/deeper. Normally have 2 small handles, which require lifting with 2 hands. And pans are shorter/shallower and have one long handle to be lifted with one hand.
Ever hear of a 'frying pot'?
posted on 07/17/2002 1:37:20 AM PDT
Frogline, frogline, my pretty frogline....Very popular song in the 50's. (What's so bad about frog legs anyway?) Ever hear of gigging frogs??
posted on 07/17/2002 1:45:37 AM PDT
One of these is probably the real answer since the others are fairly modern and the term frogs has been used The second one makes more more to me sense than any of the other answers.
Frogs Frenchmen, properly Parisians. So called from their ancient heraldic device, which was three frogs or three toads. "Qu'en disent les grenouilles? " - What will the frogs (people of Paris) say? - was in 1791 a common court phrase at Versailles. There was a point in the pleasantry when Paris was a quagmire, called Lutetia (mud-land) because, like frogs or toads, they lived in mud, but now it is quite an anomaly. (See Crapaud.)
Frogs. The Lycian shepherds were changed into frogs for mocking Latona. (Ovid: Metamorphoses, vi. 4.)
"As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs
Railed at Latona's twin-born progeny."
Milton: Sonnet, vii.
source http://www.bootlegbooks.com/Reference/PhraseAndFable/data/491.html .
This above reference source is worth going to their home page and bookmarking it. My problem with this story as the foundation for the Englsh slur on the French is how did the name frogs become widespread in England among the common people.
Another popular story is shown below and has good possibilities Clovis crowned in 816 in Reims Cathedral where all French kings were crowned until 1825. The first king to actually use the fleur de lis instead of either King Louis VI or King Louis VII (sources disagree) in the twelfth century.
The Norman French invaded and conquered the English in 1066. I dont know when the Normans came under control of the King of France but I think it was before the Norman Conquest. If they did while England was still being ruled by the Normans as Normans then the English common man as well as nobles would have seen the 3 frog flag. It would have been a easy thing to pass into the common language and a pretty good reason why the English would turn it into a derogatory comment about the French.
E.B. Elliot discovered that the original arms of France were a banner with three black toads or frogs. Clovis, king of the Franks converted to Christianity and changed the flag from three frogs to the familiar fleur de lis. The french do not like to be called frogs so their histories of the fleur de lis don't mention this fact.
Elliott reveals that the three frogs came from an Egyptian medal. This would have to be a symbolic representation of their triple frog goddess, the dark goddess, Hecate.
Here is a picture of that original coat of arms:
posted on 07/17/2002 2:22:06 AM PDT
Comment #13 Removed by Moderator
To: Lancey Howard
"frog-eating surrender monkeys".
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