KudoZ home » French to English » History

méforrer?

English translation: massacrer

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
12:18 Feb 5, 2009
French to English translations [PRO]
History / 18th Century French
French term or phrase: méforrer?
I'm translating a letter written by Comte Louis de Lauraguais to Jean le Rond d'Alembert in 1772 and I can't decipher this word in the original manuscript - if anyone can work out what it might be I would be so very grateful.

This is the link to the page containing the word in question:
http://image.sl.nsw.gov.au/banks/30022.jpg
the word is about 3/4 of the way down the page with an ink splodge on it.

Here is a transcription of the section containing the word:
...je puis vous dire mon confrere, qu’un des motifs qui ont determiné Mr. Banks, a me donner l’Extrait de son voyage, (quoique les preparatifs du second, que le premier lui fait entreprendre; lui laissent a peine le tems d’en arranger les Materiaux) a été de rendre a Mr. de Bougainville, la justice qu’il n’attendoit de personne, et qui doit le flatter de la part de Mr Banks. mais comme il ne suffit pas d’etre observateur, et vrai,pour dire ce qui est; quoi qu’on dise ce qu’on a vu quil est des Choses qui ne se decouvrent enfin, qu’aux Philosophes: et que le tems Seul, leur fait decouvrir. il est tres Simple que notre ami Bougainville voyant les Otahitiens ce peuple si doux, [***word – meforrer ???***] cependant une grande quantité d’Enfans: et remarquent des Lieux consacrés à la Mort, ait crû, que la Superstition chez cepeuple si sensible, etoit la Cause des Exès ou la Barbarie eut porté des peuples féroces. Le Spectacle qui lui donnoit chez les Otahitiens l’Idée de Culte, de victimes humaines: dans quelques endroits de la Cote des Papous, par Exemple, lui eut donné l’Idée de suplice. mais il me paroit que les Otahitiens croyent moins devoüer leurs Enfants a la Mort, que les empecher seulement de prendre la vie: il sembleroit qu’ils attachent au Mot Raison quelques unes des Idées que nous attachons a l’Idée ame, au mot vie, que nous distinguons d’existence quand ils enprivent leurs Enfans, ils les enterent alors. Mais les Hommeset les femmes qui meurent apres avoir vecu, sont exposés sur des lieux consacrés a la Mort, pendant la Revolution de 5 Lunes. Je crois que c’est dans ce tems que leurs ames vont au Ciel.

and here is my translation (not finalised) of this extract for reference:
I can tell you my dear colleague, that one of the reasons behind Mr Banks’ decision to give me the Extract of his voyage (although the preparations for the second, which the first led him to undertake, leave him barely enough time to put the material together) was to render justice to Mr. de Bougainville which the latter was not expecting from anyone and which must be for him a compliment coming from Mr Banks’ However, merely being observant does not suffice, and to tell the truth, whatever is said, what has been seen can only be revealed to the Philosophers: and that with time alone. It is most straightforward that our friend Bougainville, seeing the Tahitians, this gentle people, nonetheless [***illegible word –– méforrer?***] a large number of children, and observing places consecrated to Death, believed that the superstition nurtured by this very sensitive people be the cause of immoderation where barbarity rendered people savage. He perceived the spectacle of human sacrifices on the Tahitian territory as being driven by spirituality; in some areas of the Papuan shores, for example, these brought to mind the notion of torture. But it seems to me that the Tahitians believe less in consecrating their children to death than in simply preventing them from taking on life: it would seem that they attach to the word Reason some of the ideas that we attach to the concept of the Soul, to the word life, that we distinguish from existence, when they deprive their children of life, they then bury them. However the men and women who die having lived their lives are exhibited in sites consecrated to death, throughout 5 revolutions of the moon. I believe that it is during this time that their souls go to heaven.
pmcd
France
Local time: 10:22
English translation:massacrer
Explanation:
Possibly too long for the length of the word, but that might explain the smudge if the writer tried to add the second "s", say.

Certainly looks to me as if it starts with "ma-" (m'a-, in fact, but the reflexive would make no sense, so the "apostrophe" must be a smudge).

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-05 13:44:20 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Oops, confidence not intended to be that high.
Selected response from:

xxxBourth
Local time: 10:22
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
4 +6massacrerxxxBourth
4abuse
kashew
4do away with
kashew
1 +3méservir
Sandra Mouton
3mépriserxxxArabellaCE
3immoler (?)emiledgar


Discussion entries: 9





  

Answers


9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
immoler (?)


Explanation:
In other words, sacrifier.

emiledgar
Belgium
Local time: 10:22
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Stéphanie Soudais: possible, mais "immoler" ressemble assez peu au graphisme du mot
17 mins

neutral  Christopher Crockett: Makes good sense but, alas, the first letter is definitely an "m" (see "remarquant" just below).
1 hr
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

27 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
do away with


Explanation:
You could keep the guess in square brackets as the source is not clear.
Seems highly probably it is méfaire = do away with (kill) or sacrifice (Emiledgar's immolate is quite possible too). The following text bears that out.

kashew
France
Local time: 10:22
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
massacrer


Explanation:
Possibly too long for the length of the word, but that might explain the smudge if the writer tried to add the second "s", say.

Certainly looks to me as if it starts with "ma-" (m'a-, in fact, but the reflexive would make no sense, so the "apostrophe" must be a smudge).

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-05 13:44:20 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Oops, confidence not intended to be that high.

xxxBourth
Local time: 10:22
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 154
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks for your help.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sandra Mouton: I think you're right. We can see above in "possible" that the double ss is wrtitten like a f.
8 mins

agree  Christopher Crockett: Florence has convinced me.
1 hr

agree  Alain Pommet: Given that the native people used to throw children to the sharks and such like, what else could it be? (The author did a fair job of massacring the word too).
1 hr

agree  Serena Zarbo
3 hrs

agree  Susan Nicholls
1 day5 hrs

agree  Florence B: Some other accounts of that time are saying that babies were often killed at birth in this part of the World, this is likely. He possibly first forgot one s then tried to correct, or wanted to write something else (hence the ') then changed his mind.
1 day10 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +3
méservir


Explanation:
Une idée sachant la forme des s au XVIIIe. Méservir pourrait être utilisé au sens de maltraiter.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-05 13:45:01 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I hadn't seen the .jpg file. My mistake. Sorry I couldn't help.

Sandra Mouton
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:22
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Christopher Crockett: Could be made to make textual sense, but I can't see the second letter as an "é"; nor the third as an "s" (no other example of that "f" form of "s" that I can find); nor "vir" at the end (no dot over the "i" and the "v" isn't right). Other than that...
26 mins

agree  xxxBourth: Certainly fits the context, particularly since it would cover sexual abuse (as was apparently the case - "no girl of 12 having not suffered physical or moral abuse") as well as infanticide.
37 mins

agree  SJLD: IMO the "apostrophe" can't be other than an acute accent
2 hrs

agree  kashew: Excellent solution. So what does one put in English?
21 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

22 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
abuse


Explanation:
*maltreat

kashew
France
Local time: 10:22
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 days10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
mépriser


Explanation:
an immediate reaction looking at the handwritten text, which would fit with the overall sense.
I agree with your feeling the accent is not an apostraphe but is deliberate.
given the ink blob is on the f/p/ss letter it's hard to be absolutely certain, but this is my take on it, for what it's worth!


xxxArabellaCE
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:22
Native speaker of: English
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search