I recently compiled for myself a list of all conjugations of every irregular verb in the French language, for over 350 verbs (as close to all of them as I could get.) I also had to translate the meaning of each verb, of course.

There were, however, about 20 verbs which I could not find English translations for anywhere on the internet, or which were very unusual and I did not understand. Could someone please provide translations for these verbs?

  • Aveindre
  • Choir
  • Contre-battre
  • Débouillir
  • Démordre
  • Dépourvoir
  • Déprendre
  • Désapprendre
  • Embatre
  • Messeoir
  • Mévendre
  • Paître (to graze, but in what sense? Against something, or on grass?)
  • Parfondre
  • Reclure
  • Recomparaître
  • Rentrouvrir
  • Revaloir
  • Se contrefoutre
  • Se ressouvenir
  • S'entre-nuire
  • Sourdre
  • Sous-tendre
  • 4
    It should be “désapprendre” and “sourdre”. Most of the verbs you quote are very defective, some of them were totally unknown to me [and I'm a native speaker] (débouillir, parfondre, embat(t)re, aveindre). “Paître” is the way cows and sheeps eat and is the only “normal” verb of the list. Rentrouvrir and recomparaître seem odd to me: I don't think they really exist; it's just common practice to add the prefix “re—” before a verb to indicate repetition. So “recomparaître” and “rentrouvrir” are just (debatable) ways of saying “to appear again (in court)” and “to open slightly again”...
    – user1152
    Jun 11, 2012 at 21:55
  • 2
    Désapprendre is exactly “unlearn”.
    – user1152
    Jun 11, 2012 at 22:00
  • @Aššur-bāni-apli Why not try to formulate an answer?
    – Kareen
    Jun 11, 2012 at 22:04
  • 1
    Laziness and absence of my dictionaries, mostly.
    – user1152
    Jun 11, 2012 at 23:03
  • 3
    Maybe you could use this...? Anyway, thanks for this contribution to the list of verbs I'm using for my french sentences random generator (No, I don't use any corpus for it, obviously). Jun 11, 2012 at 23:32

1 Answer 1

  • Choir (to fall, defective verb, rarely used)
  • Démordre (the mechanical action opposed to to bite, i.e. to release after a bite. Nearly only used in the idiom ne pas vouloir en démordre which means not wanting to give up or hold one's position stubbornly)
  • Désapprendre (used frequently, meaning unlearn)
  • Paître (to feed on grass, used for ruminant animals mainly)
  • Reclure (to lock up (someone), synonym of enfermer) (Edit : more common in its adjective form, reclus-e, or the noun réclusion, as a side note to Aššur-bāni-apli's comment)
  • Recomparaître (like said in the question comments : to appear again in court, frequently used in legal/lawyers context)
  • Rentrouvrir (Entrouvrir meaning to open slightly, rentrouvrir is the repetition of this action)
  • Revaloir (another defective, with the nearly unique usage in the idiom Je te revaudrai ça ! = I'll repay you !, to show gratitude)
  • Se contrefoutre (offensive or vulgar register, meaning not to give a damn/give a shit)
  • Se ressouvenir ((as for Rentrouvrir above), Se souvenir meaning to remember, se ressouvenir means to remember again) (Edit : Thanks to Aššur-bāni-apli for this clarification of nuance: to remember again after having forgotten, which is slightly different...)
  • S'entre-nuire (describes the mutual action of causing harm/trouble one to each other)
  • Sourdre (rare verb, meaning to get out from something, but is used only for sound, water, or this kind of things, not people or solid objects)
  • Sous-tendre (hard to translate (any help is welcome !), meaning approximately to ground (something), to found (something), or to establish the base for (something)) (Edit : thanks to the comments we have also these propositions, to underlie and the almost-litteral to subtend thanks to Kareen, or to underpin from StéphaneGimenez)
  • Dépourvoir (approximately to deprive) (Edit : a lot more common in the adjective form dépourvu-e, thanks to StéphaneGimenez's comment)

The others are very rare (and very old, almost not used any more at all), but with a bit of searching...

  • Aveindre (to pull something out of somewhere, with an effort)
  • Contre-battre (I didn't find this form, but « contrebattre » exists, meaning to retaliate/to fire back (between two artillery devices))
  • Débouillir (to immerse in boiling water, to cleanse/whiten or to test tincture persistance on clothes)
  • Déprendre* (To release (someone) from something/someone else's grasp or dominance)
  • Embatre (Technical term used in wood wheels crafting, meaning to attach a circular piece of iron on a wheel's rim)
  • Messeoir (not to fit (socially or politically), or we could say not to be acceptable)
  • Mévendre* (I didn't know this one, but it is rather easy to guess for a native speaker, it means to sell for no profit or negative profit, i.e. to sell too cheaply)
  • Parfondre* (used for enamel/faience/earthenware crafting, but I'm definitely no smith to explain that. Any help is welcome, dear SE people)

* Found in an old dictionary (Larousse, 1920), a few precisions :

Déprendre (pran-dre) v.a. (Se conj. comme prendre) Isoler, dissoudre ce qui était pris, c'est-à-dire collé ou congelé. se déprendre v.pr. Se détacher.

Mévendre (van-dre) v.a. (du préf. et de vendre. - Se conj. comme vendre.) Vendre à perte.

Parfondre v.a. (du lat. perfundere, mélanger). Incorporer les couleurs à la plaque de verre ou d'émail et les faire fondre également.

  • 2
    I think sous-tendre could be translated as underlie (as in an underlying cause) or subtend?
    – Kareen
    Jun 11, 2012 at 22:51
  • 1
    Apparemment, ressouvenir a aussi un sens (rare et littéraire !) spécifique : cnrtl.fr/lexicographie/ressouvenir ; j'avoue que je l'ignorais. Et pour moi, reclure n'existe guère qu'au participe passé, peut-être faudrait-il le souligner ?
    – user1152
    Jun 11, 2012 at 23:02
  • 1
    Cherche le participe passé de dépourvoir sur google, tu verras que la langue française n'est est pas complètement dépourvue, contrairement à la fourmi ;-) Jun 11, 2012 at 23:31
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    Sous-tendre c'est plutôt underpin (au sens figuré), non?. Jun 11, 2012 at 23:34
  • 3
    @Aerovistae ruminant means the same in french and english, but I guess it's much less used in this form in english. Sourdre is rare indeed, only used in literature, never in oral/casual context. Désapprendre is not used on a daily basis, that's for sure, but I think the majority of native speakers hear it from time to time (hint : before learning useful/adequate knwoledge, you must unlearn the bad habits or bad assumptions you had in the first place.). Jun 12, 2012 at 7:17

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