Edible Idiom: Ecrire des tartines

Part of the continuing series originated by Chocolate & Zucchini extraordinaire, Clothilde Dusoulier,  on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food.

“Ecrire des tartines.”

Literally translated as, “writing tartines” (a tartine is a slice of bread topped with some sort of spread, such as butter or jam), it means writing reams, or being unnecessarily wordy.

Example: “J’étais surprise que sa lettre soit si courte ; d’habitude, il m’écrit des tartines.” “I was surprised his letter was so short; he usually writes me tartines.”

This colloquial expression can also appear in the singular (“écrire une tartine”) and is derived from the 18th-century journalists’ slang, in which une tartine was a very long (and, it is implied, boring) article or speech. A rather self-explanatory image; I always picture the writer or speaker fastidiously buttering a long piece of split baguette.

 

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~ by eaesthete on 01/15/09.

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