How did French people greet in 1400?

In particular I'm looking for french expressions that a peasant like Saint Joan of Arc could have used to greet a friend.

2 Answers 2


You could use one of the following expressions :

[Hé,] Que y'a ?

What's up?

Ayez un bon jour

Literally "Have a good day", used to say "Hello" (became "bonjour").

Diex vos sait (very formal)/Diex beneï toi

"God bless you", very ancient, used to start or end a conversation.

You can find more information in « Quelques formules de salutation en ancien français » (Anker Teilgàrd Laugesen, in Revue Romane, Vol. 8, 1973, 1-2).

  • 2
    Could you please provide a proof (link) for this?
    – user6768
    Dec 25, 2015 at 11:06
  • @BorbagUskada do you know if "Ajez un bon jour" would be a proper greet for a new friend? I mean: today I can greet a just known friend of a friend: "Bonjour, je m'appelle Giacomo". Would "Ajez un bon jour" be equivalent to this use of bonjour? Dec 26, 2015 at 19:39
  • Why would you tell a known friend your name? If you know him, shouldn't he already know your name? Seems superfluous… Dec 26, 2015 at 22:49
  • No I'm thinking of the case "friend of a friend": I meet a friend of a friend and I present myself. Dec 26, 2015 at 23:17
  • 1
    Could you provide a reference about "Que y'a"?
    – jlliagre
    Dec 29, 2015 at 10:33


There is a possibility that many used the traditional Faire la bise, which means to give a kiss. This is not just the ordinary peck on the cheek, it is the double cheek kiss that we often see on older foreign films. It is a common way for the French to say their goodbyes and greetings. It is in no way used as a romantic display of affection.

I hope this helped!


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