Posted: 22 September 2007 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  3070
Joined  2007-01-30

Coming across this phrase in Motteux’ translation of the Fourth Book of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, “with a jantee pair of Canvass Trowzers”, I dodn’t for a moment recognize it as the word jaunty. Checking the gloss I saw that the word comes straight from the French gentil.

Here’s OED:

[First found in 17th c., in forms jantee (in 8 also jantée, janté) and janty, anglicized phonetic representations of F. gentil (pronounced {zh}an-ti), noble, gentle, genteel; at first app. with final stress (d{zh}an-ti), but soon treated like an Eng. adj. in -y, and with the F. a lengthened as in chant, aunt, haunt.]

It just never struck me before although I suppose the connection is obvious.

Nothing to do with the word jaunt, by the way, which is of obscure origin.

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