We have this antique object, and since I know a bit of French, I was asked the meaning of déposé. But I couldn't explain why this word is on an antique object.

I have since found multiple antiques with this word engraved.

It's the past particple of déposer right. It would be a very odd word for a name no? Why is it on antiques, what does it mean?

Is it to say which "print" in a series of the object it is?


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1 Answer 1


The verb déposer has many different meanings. Many of them refer to putting something down (i.e. putting something somewhere, so that you don't have it anymore), as in the Latin deponere and the English deposit. In particular, déposer can mean to “deposit” some kind of request form, i.e. to file a request with an administration, e.g.

  • déposer une demande … = file a request for …
  • déposer une plainte contre quelqu'un = file suit against somebody
  • déposer un brevet = file a patent
  • marque déposée = registered trade mark

In this case, the mark refers to a design patent, or the French legal equivalent at the time. This is a legal monopoly on the appearance of an object, i.e. other people are not allowed to make an object with an identical appearance (or were not at the time the object was made). One files a dessin ou modèle: drawing or model, depending on whether the appearance is two-dimensional (e.g. the colors on a rug) or three-dimensional (e.g. a piece of furniture).

Thus, with these inscriptions, the manufacturer is signaling that they have registered a (limited-duration) monopoly on the design.

  • Savez-vous si ce peut être relié aussi au dépôt légal ds. le sens au profit des collections nationales (TLFi) ? Merci !
    – user3177
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 23:21
  • 2
    @onvousaouï C'est le même type de sens : on dépose un exemplaire du livre. Comme pour le dépôt d'une demande, au départ, on dépose un objet concret, mais ça a dérivé ensuite vers le dépôt d'une démarche administrative. Quoi que dans le cas d'une demande, je pense que ce que l'on dépose était abstrait dès le départ : on arrive auprès de l'administration avec l'idée de demander, et l'écrit n'existe que dans le bureau. Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 23:30

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