Soûl comme une grive

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In south Louisiana, we use a very old French expression "soûl comme une grive" (drunk as a thrush). In the New World the French name for the thrush was applied to its cousin, the American robin.

But it is well-documented that members of the thrush family, and several other bird species, become drunk by eating berries that have fermented on the tree. Years ago naturalists near New Orleans had to spray pyrocaentha bushes planted alongside the public highways so that they would no longer produce fruit.

The problem was that large flocks of "cirier" (cedar waxwings) would collectively descend upon these trees then begin flying erratically into motorists' windshields. "Soûl comme une grive" has been attested at least as far back as the 1600's (Duneton 1990) and I was under the impression that it is still used at least sporadically in France today. It certainly is in Cajun French!




Publié dans Polyglotterie

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