4

I've noticed that this expression is familiarly used to indicate something being in style, cool, or generally "à la mode" - notably here on this stack exchange site.

Does anyone know the origin of this usage ?

3

This is related to brancher as in :

brancher une conduite (une canalisation) à un circuit principal.

voir branchement électrique.
Branché recently received (particularly among youngsters) the meaning of:

mis au courant, concerné (1973)

and took by extension the meaning of :

à la mode, dans le coup (1980).

Cablé (1980) as the same meaning.
Source: Dictionnaire historique de la langue française, Alain Rey. Approximate translation.
Those of us who are more than forty may remember the interview of F. Mitterrand by Y. Mourousi ;) see the video from INA

0

I would say that it is something derivated from the avoir de la branche expression :

  1. Avoir de l’allure, de la distinction.
  2. (Généalogie) Appartenir à la noblesse, avoir des ancêtres issus de la noblesse.

So the origin would come from the prestige of being part of a noble family tree (Arbre généalogique).

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