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coupes sombres

English translation: sweeping cuts

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:coupes sombres
English translation:sweeping cuts
Entered by: Sandra Petch
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12:43 Sep 8, 2006
French to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Economics / news article
French term or phrase: coupes sombres
Describing action taken by Artur da Costa e Silva, an army officer and president of Brazil in the mid-1960s :
"Costa se donna des pouvoirs illimités et put ainsi effectuer des purges politiques, des *coupes sombres dans l'économie * et imposer la censure.

More than anything I'm having a hard time grasping the meaning of "sombre."

Many thanks for your translations ideas!
Sandra Petch
Local time: 09:23
swingeing cuts
Explanation:
FWIW, my Larousse monolingual gives this as a set phrase and defines it as "(fig.) réduction importante (emploi critiqué)." So swingeing cuts, maybe, or something along those lines?
Selected response from:

Peter Shortall
Local time: 08:23
Grading comment
Thank you. Definitely a new one for me. It is indeed in the PR, under "coupe" rather than "sombre". So nothing to do with being dirty at all!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +1explantion
Richard Benham
3 +1sombre manoeuvres / dark manoeuvresMarion Sadoux
2 +2swingeing cuts
Peter Shortall


Discussion entries: 6





  

Answers


13 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +2
swingeing cuts


Explanation:
FWIW, my Larousse monolingual gives this as a set phrase and defines it as "(fig.) réduction importante (emploi critiqué)." So swingeing cuts, maybe, or something along those lines?

Peter Shortall
Local time: 08:23
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you. Definitely a new one for me. It is indeed in the PR, under "coupe" rather than "sombre". So nothing to do with being dirty at all!
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks Peter, this clears it up for me. Never had I come across this expression before. So in the sense of sweeping or massive cuts. Thanks!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Richard Nice: absolutely, and it's in the Petit Robert
9 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  Richard Benham: "Swingeing" is much better than "sweeping"!
42 mins
  -> Thanks - it's a favourite of mine!

neutral  Ben Gaia: never heard of swingeing, sweeping cuts would be better.
1 day4 hrs
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
sombre manoeuvres / dark manoeuvres


Explanation:
Je ne suis pas sure du sens exact de "coupes" mais le reste de la phrase est assez générique

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Note added at 19 mins (2006-09-08 13:03:17 GMT)
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Merci Sandra, mias je crois que le terme est ici employé dans un sens plus vaste (le contexte étant simplement celui du secteur économique). On pourrait peut-être dire "sombre economic policies" tout simplement?

Marion Sadoux
China
Local time: 15:23
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks Marion. I must have some kind of Friday-afternoon word blindess as I don't see how "coupe" can be anything but some kind of cut or cutback (Petit Robert - "On a fait une coupe sombre dans le personnel" = on a licencié bcp d'employés.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Richard Benham: Bonjour Marion. I have just checked my old Hanse: "Dictionnaire des difficultés...", which confirms my memory. "Coupe sombre" was originally an initial, light felling (leaving the forest still dark), but somehow the sense has evolved to a major cut....
47 mins
  -> Hello Richard... what an irony, so a "coupe sombre" makes the forest lighter!!! Thanks for that
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
explantion


Explanation:
I shall copy the explanation from Hanse: "Dictionnaire des difficultés grammaticales et lexicologiques”:

Une coupe sombre, au sens figuré – des coupures, des suppressions importantes pratiqueées dans un écrit, ou une élimination énergique d’une partie d’un personnel. Ce sens est entré dans l’usage. Il es curieux cependant de remarquer qu’au sens propre, une coupe sombre, appelée aussi coupe d’ensemencement, est, d’après Littré, une coupe au premier degré (de manière à laisser la forêt sombre) ; elle peut être suivie d’une coupe claire, d’une coupe définitive et enfin d’une coupe de nettoiement. Le Dictionnaire général dit cependant : « Coupe sombre : où l’on abat tous les arbres » ; et cela montre bien l’évolution du sens, au propre comme au figuré.

This explains why the usage is criticized: it is actually a misunderstanding of the original sense of the term.

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Note added at 1 hr (2006-09-08 14:05:57 GMT) Post-grading
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De rien. I hope everything is clearcut and nobody is left in the dark, unable to see the wood for the trees.

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Note added at 23 hrs (2006-09-09 12:29:26 GMT) Post-grading
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Sorry: "explanation".

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 09:23
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you Richard, dare I say that is enlightening! ;-)


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxBourth: Was about to say the same about the forestry term, though in context here it makes sense to be "sweeping".
1 hr
  -> I got the wood on you there then. Of course "sweeping" makes sense, but "swingeing" is more colourful!
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Non-PRO (1): Richard Nice


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