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I just heard in conversation:

Il a été en contact avec elle plus que l’infinie majorité d’entre eux. C'est un privilège en soi.

I assume he wanted to emphasise the idea of "majorité" by adding the word "infini", but this is the first time I have heard this particular turn of phrase.

I usually say "l'écrasante majorité d’entre eux" myself, and I wonder if "l’infinie majorité" works more or less the same way?

Or perhaps, I didn't hear correctly what he said. But a similar-sounding word to "infini" that could be used in this context doesn't come to mind.

  • 2
    "Infinie majorité" sounds very much like an improper use of "infini", "infini" can be used as a hyperbole (ex: "un nombre infini de clients sont satisfaits de nos services"), but personally I can't imagine hearing it used with "majorité": logically speaking, how can a majority be infinite ? If you can count a majority among a number of items, it is not infinite... – Greg Nov 13 '17 at 7:55
  • That would be uncommon, it isn't something I remember hearding or reading and it isn't something I would say or write. It's somewhere between hyperbole and malaproprism. Are you sure it wasn't immense, which would be natural to use here (more common than écrasante)? – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Nov 13 '17 at 8:04
  • @Gilles Hi. The word was pronounced like "~~fini", so it wasn't "immense". Perhaps, this was his idea of wordplay, knowing full well he was deviating from an established expression? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 13 '17 at 8:09
  • Some hotel has an infinite number of rooms, etc... As you go through it you notice that every third one is booked. The infinite majority are not booked and infinitely more are not booked than are booked :) – Luke Sawczak Nov 13 '17 at 10:52
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Plus que l'infini(e) xxx is per se an exaggeration.

I agree with Greg that taken literally, l'infinie majorité doesn't make a lot of sense but it is not completely unheard.

I found at least this occurrence in the 1791 Apologie de la constitution française:

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It can be put in parallel with the common infime majorité, which means just a little bit more than the majority (50% + epsilon) and thus would mean (100% - epsilon) which is larger than the much more common écrasante majorité (like in a landslide victory).

  • Wow, you saved the day! So the phrase here is "plus que l’infinie" rather than just "l’infinie"? Come to think of it, I seem to recall once hearing "je t'aime plus que l’infini" or "je t'aime plus qu’infini". Which one is correct? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 13 '17 at 10:10
  • That would be "plus que l'infini". – jlliagre Nov 13 '17 at 10:12

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