The double-A battery has a special name in France: mignon. I think it's really cute that they have a nickname for a battery type. I'm trying to think if we do something so charming in English. I can't think of much (Bring me that lil' batt'ry, you big git!), but maybe I am just blind to the cuteness of my own language. I do wish we had a more flexible diminutive ending in our language, like Spanish does. Pilita (or would it be pilacita?) sounds pretty cute. Even German, when it's not saying things like "small-stored-energy-capsule," has a nice diminutive ending which can be put, at least by old ladies, on practically anything.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Anyway, because, up to the point of learning this, mignon suggested to me something along the lines of "hunk of meat," I decided to research this mysterious battery-meat connection. I was pleased to find mignon to mean "cute, sweet, nice, kind." Or, in the context of meat, apparently, "dainty." A relative term, obviously, since beef is one of the less dainty foods I can think of at the moment. To confuse the issue further, in France filet mignon usually refers to pork. Filet of beef is called tournedos.
So now you know all about mignon and can impress people next time you're out ordering meat at some tony steakhouse, or asking your French friend for a battery. Just remember to pronounce it correctly or you'll lose all your credibility.