I encountered this while reading Astérix. The exchange goes as follows:

(Astérix and Obélix are walking down a newly-constructed Roman road out of Lutèce)

Astérix: Quelle circulation !

Obélix: Les jours de beau temps, il doit y avoir des amphorisages !

This word doesn't come up in any dictionaries nor in google image search, so I assume it's some sort of joke or play on words. What might it mean?

  • These Asterix questions are the best thing on this site. I'm laughing just reading the title Apr 3 '17 at 0:09
  • I'm glad you're enjoying them! I wish I could get all the wordplay as intuitively as native speakers do. I imagine there's a ton that I'm not even noticing. Apr 3 '17 at 0:24
  • Keep 'em coming! And don't worry, I until I was like 12-14 I had to my parents about things I didn't understand ^^ And there are probably other puns you're missing because they're hard to notice if you don't know what they're referring to, so don't hesitate to re-read them in a few years if you can ;) Apr 3 '17 at 0:32

It's a jeu de mots that won't be in any dictionary: in French, we have embouteillage, meaning a traffic jam, but containing the word bouteille. In Antiquity, bouteilles were amphores, so they re-used the construction for embouteillage to make amphore + -age = amphorisage.

The word does not really exist in French, it's just made up here. Nobody will understand what you say if you go around talking about amphorisage for traffic jams - well except maybe you could pass for somebody who has read Astérix, if people recognize the reference.

Be on the lookout for jeux de mots in Astérix, it has quite a few (chaque été les Ibères deviennent plus rudes is one of my favorites).

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