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I do not mean a "wingman" in the definition of being a pilot, I believe that would be "un ailier."

I am looking for the definition of "wingman" in the sense of a fellow man who helps you pick up girls at a bar. Is there a good translation for this?

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If I'm correct, in English, we use "wingman" from the movie "Top Gun" where the helper was an actual wingman. I may be wrong, though. –  Oltarus Feb 23 '12 at 7:23
    
Does this "wingman" has a role of pimp or is he someone you know and who would help you generously? (I think an answer from a french guy will be helpful as soon as he understands the nuance of the word) –  sinsedrix Feb 24 '12 at 16:22
    
Can you describe how the "wingman" helps to pick up girl? You should also know that French people hit on girls in bar much less than American people. Couple tends to meet more at parties and so on... In this situation, there is often "entremetteur" that present his friends ( a boy and a girl) to each other, in case they like each other. –  oli Feb 24 '12 at 19:22
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@sinsedrix typically it is a close friend or someone that you know. Essentially, they "break the ice" (get the conversation started) and get you talking to a girl at a bar or similar location. Or if there are two girls at the bar, they will distract/talk to her while you go after the other, etc. See urbandictionary for more info: urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wingman –  Bryan Denny Feb 24 '12 at 21:23
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8 Answers 8

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I would use compère.

Some of the definitions seem to fit perfectly:

  1. Personne qui participe à l'action d'une autre personne et se trouve généralement liée à elle par des rapports de complicité ou de connivence.

  2. Sans valeur péjorative. Personne qui s'associe étroitement à l'action de quelqu'un, qui en favorise le succès.

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About propositions:

  • ailier is a role of a player in a collective sport, maybe you thought about allier. I think neither fits.

  • rabatteur would have in french slang, a verry close meaning to pimp.

  • entraineuse denote a woman whose job is to encourage men to pay for a drink or a dance.

The word I would use since I am french would be entremetteur (a go-between / a matchmaker), it is someone who will encourage a new relation to begin by promoting each part to the other, who matchmakes. It is usual to say:

Il joue les entremetteurs.

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It always seemed to me that that word has a bad connotation, whereas a wingman helps a friend. –  Kareen Feb 24 '12 at 18:30
    
Depending on the context it does not necessarily have a bad connotation. The example illustrates that this role can be a kind of game. –  sinsedrix Feb 24 '12 at 21:48
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Acolyte peut correspondre à "Wingman" même si la traduction exacte d'acolyte est "Henchman"

Acolyte: (Péjoratif) Personne qui est au service de quelqu’un d’autre, ou son compagnon.

Même sens que ami, associé, auxiliaire, camarade, compagnon, comparse, compère, complice, condisciple, confrère, copain, partenaire.

Ce terme traduit des notions de complicité, d'amitié et de fraternité dans les bons et les mauvais coups.

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complice is worth considering. However it is a general term, so you may need to explain the context of girl-picking if relevant.

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In my social circle, people tend not to translate "wingman", because a good translation seems to be lacking. Some people use "co-pilote", but in my opinion it doesn't sound right. "rabatteur" and "entraineuse" both carry on a sense of professional activity, and sometimes in a negative way, I'd avoid them too.

If you really have to translate, "acolyte" is the closest I can think of, but "wingman" itself works best, IMO.

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j’aime bcp rabatteur, mais acolyte me donne l’impression de deux truands, deux lascards. non ? –  qdii Feb 24 '12 at 18:16
    
"Acolyte" refer to somebody helping you do something, that something being usually a prank, something a bit stupid/crazy. While there's a bit of a pejorative connotation in it, it's usually used in harmless situations. Otherwise, "complice" is used. And "rabatteur" has a way more negative touch to it –  ksol Feb 26 '12 at 12:46
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It's true that "Ailier" doesn't seem right, mostly because it's used in sports and has a different connotation.

I naturally would use the term "acolyte", which is normally used for a preist assistant but also used outside this scope for any people who helps another one performing a task.

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Perhaps rabatteur ?

From TLFi :

b) P. anal., fam., gén. péj. Personne qui, le plus souvent moyennant finances, procure des clients à une entreprise, à un commerçant, des adhérents à un parti, des marchandises rares à un acheteur. Le Herz avait réduit le Reinach au rôle de rabatteur; il le forçait à lui procurer des affaires (BARRÈS, Leurs fig., 1901, p. 52). Rabatteur du baron, il lui avait procuré pour quinze millions d'objets d'art et d'ameublement (A. FRANCE, Bergeret, 1901, p. 336).

But a rabatteur can be outside the bar, in the street for example.

Also : entraineuse ; it's in bar, but it's not limited to prostitution. From TLFI :

B. Subst. fém. Entraîneuse. Jeune femme employée dans un bar, un établissement de nuit pour attirer les clients et les engager notamment à danser et à consommer. Marie, elle était entraîneuse dans un bouiboui près de la Porte Saint-Denis (CENDRARS, Homme foudr., 1945, p. 308). La salle était encore vide; autour du bar les entraîneuses bavardaient (BEAUVOIR, Mandarins, 1954, p. 53).

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Boute-en-train selon Émile Littré

1° Terme de haras. Cheval entier placé au voisinage des femelles à l'effet de les mettre en chaleur et de les disposer à l'accouplement.

2° Petit oiseau qui sert à faire chanter les autres.

3° Fig. et familièrement, homme qui met les autres en train, en gaieté.
♦ Je ne veux pas qu'on me pleure, Moi le boute-en-train des fous, BÉRANG., J. des morts.
♦ Eh ! va ton train, Gai boute-en-train, BÉRANG., Désaugiers.

Le 1° est biologique, le 2° romantique, le 3° le comique ... choisir selon la 'girl' à séduire.

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