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bosser au black

English translation: to work illegally, to work "on the side", to "moonlight"

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07:39 Nov 5, 2008
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
Social Sciences - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / expression
French term or phrase: bosser au black
Quel est le sens exact de cet expression & Pourquoi le 'black'?

Merci d'avance...
malamour
Local time: 16:03
English translation:to work illegally, to work "on the side", to "moonlight"
Explanation:
bosser au black = travailler au noir

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-11-05 09:04:47 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

After a check, it appears that Terry is right about the term "moonlighting". I'd always assumed that it meant that the work was undeclared (in the same way as "travail au noir"), but this is not necessarily the case.

Interestingly, the term "moonlighting" originates from the fact that second jobs are usually done at night. I'd always assumed that "travail au noir" had the same roots as "marché noir", but now I'm wondering if this too comes from "working in the dark"?

Anyway, this does not alter the fact that "bosser au black" means "travailler au noir" which can be translated by a variety of expressions as above and below.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2008-11-05 10:28:41 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thanks to Sandra's investigations, "travailler au noir" does seem to originate from the fact that such undeclared work was done at night. So maybe there is a link with "moonlighting" after all!
Selected response from:

David Goward
France
Local time: 09:33
Grading comment
Merci.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +10to work illegally, to work "on the side", to "moonlight"
David Goward
5work off the booksTerry Richards
4 -3to work on the black/to work on the dole
swanda
Summary of reference entries provided
Origine de l'expression "travailler au noir"Sandra Petch

Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
work off the books


Explanation:
Another option.

It means to be (illegally) paid in cash without records or taxes and social charges being deducted.

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 09:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 28
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -3
to work on the black/to work on the dole


Explanation:
in slang:
www.geocities.com/aufheben2/dole.html


swanda
Local time: 09:33
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 6
Notes to answerer
Asker: Merci pour la reponse.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Terry Richards: "Work on the black" is not a common English expression. Working on the black does not necessarily mean you are receiving dole as well.//Yes, but not quite the same thing. All work on the dole is black but not all black work is on the dole (unemployment)
10 mins
  -> used by native English/Scottish/Irish speakers...

disagree  Sandra Petch: Sorry, I have never in all my life heard the expression "to work on the black" (and I am a native GB EN speaker). / Google "work on the black" and let me know what you find.
34 mins
  -> so I suppose my native Scottish speaker friend is wrong....!

disagree  Tony M: Careful, as 'to work on the black' can mean 'to work on the roads' (i.e. with tarmac, cf. 'Boys from the Blackstuff') / Well, this particular native speaker has never heard it in connection with illicit employment... and apparently, neither have 2 others
1 hr
  -> at least this is the way native speakers talk in slang... acccording to my English/Irish/Scottish friends...
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +10
to work illegally, to work "on the side", to "moonlight"


Explanation:
bosser au black = travailler au noir

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2008-11-05 09:04:47 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

After a check, it appears that Terry is right about the term "moonlighting". I'd always assumed that it meant that the work was undeclared (in the same way as "travail au noir"), but this is not necessarily the case.

Interestingly, the term "moonlighting" originates from the fact that second jobs are usually done at night. I'd always assumed that "travail au noir" had the same roots as "marché noir", but now I'm wondering if this too comes from "working in the dark"?

Anyway, this does not alter the fact that "bosser au black" means "travailler au noir" which can be translated by a variety of expressions as above and below.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2008-11-05 10:28:41 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thanks to Sandra's investigations, "travailler au noir" does seem to originate from the fact that such undeclared work was done at night. So maybe there is a link with "moonlighting" after all!

David Goward
France
Local time: 09:33
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 43
Grading comment
Merci.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Emma Paulay: Not declared, cash in hand...
28 mins
  -> Thanks, Emma. "Cash in hand" is a good colloquial equivalent.

agree  Clair@Lexeme: "on the side" or "moonlight" for an equivalent colloquial expression
30 mins
  -> Thanks, Clair, but not "moonlight" apparently.

agree  carolynf: yes, insofar as "illegally" does not pertain to the actual work but rather to the fact that the income is not declared, so "undeclared work" may be a more precise way of putting it?
33 mins
  -> Thanks, Carolyn. Yes, Emma suggested that too and you may well be right.

agree  Frederique Taylor
37 mins
  -> Thanks, Frederique.

agree  Cervin: moonlighting
47 mins
  -> Thanks, Cervin, but "moonlighting" is apparently not quite the same thing (see Terry's comment).

neutral  Terry Richards: "Moonlighting" is just a second job, it is quite possible to moonlight legally.
56 mins
  -> Well, I didn't know that (or hadn't really thought about it thoroughly, I suppose). Thanks for enlightening me.

agree  xxxcmwilliams: cash in hand
1 hr
  -> Thanks. Emma suggested "cash in hand" earlier and it's a good alternative.

agree  lydiar: I was going to suggest "cash in hand"..
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Lydia.

agree  juliebarba: agree with Terry's comments
2 hrs
  -> Me too now! Thanks, Julie.

agree  Tony M: And another idiomatic way of expressing it, similar in register to the original, is 'to work on the QT' (QT = quiet)
2 hrs
  -> Sssshhh! Thanks, Tony!

agree  Susan Nicholls: "Do a cash job" (if it's not a long-term thing)
5 hrs
  -> Thanks, Susan.
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Reference comments


2 hrs peer agreement (net): +3
Reference: Origine de l'expression "travailler au noir"

Reference information:
http://www.mon-expression.info/travailler-au-noir

Activités -salariées ou non- exercées de manières occultes en violation de la loi. Travailler sans être fiscalement déclaré.

Cette expression n’a rien à voir avec l’esclavage du moins pas du peuple noir!!!
“Travailler au noir” trouve son origine au Moyen-Âge. A cette époque, le travail était réglementé de telle manière qu’il ne soit effectué qu’à la lumière du jour . Hors certains maîtres faisaient travailler leurs employés le soir à la lueur des chandelles ceci dans un souci de rendement optimum et sans grande considération pour le bien-être des ouvriers.
Cette pratique étant interdite par la loi, ce labeur illicite s’appela “travailler au noir ” en raison du contexte.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2008-11-05 10:10:50 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.culture-generale.fr/expressions/812-travail-au-no...

Puisque l’on parlait il y a peu des différents modes de rémunération, j’en profite pour faire le point sur un type de rémunération spécial puisque non déclaré : le travail au noir (ou “travail au black” si vous voulez faire jeune)

Vous vous demandez surement pourquoi on dit travail au noir (ou vous ne vous êtes jamais posé la question puisque c’est le thème de ce blog)!

“Travailler au noir” provient du moyen âge où la règlementation du travail voulait qu’on ne fasse pas travailler les personnes après le tombée de la nuit.

Toutefois certains petits malins ont eu l’idée de détourner cette règlementation et de faire travailler leurs employés à la lueur de la bougie.

Ces employés travaillaient donc même lorsqu’il faisait noir, d’où l’expression “travailler au noir”.

Et par pitié cette expression ne vient pas de l’esclavagisme…
C’est juste que les employeurs qui faisaient ça avaient en général peu de considération pour leurs employés!

Sandra Petch
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44
Note to reference poster
Asker: Merci pour l'information etymologique.


Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  David Goward: Excellent! So there is an etymological link with "moonlighting", even if the meaning is not (no longer?) exactly the same.//Used in N.Notts (my neck of the woods) too!
17 mins
  -> In my neck of the woods (Yorkshire, UK) you might do a "moonlight flit" i.e. disappear under cover of darkness, usually to avoid paying your debts!
agree  Tony M
31 mins
agree  Emma Paulay: I wonder how many of today's expressions will be as long-lived.
1 hr
  -> Anyone remember "waz up!!!!!"? ;-)
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Changes made by editors
Nov 5, 2008 - Changes made by writeaway:
FieldArt/Literary » Social Sciences
Field (specific)Poetry & Literature » General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters


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