I was reading this passage, in Beaumarchais' Marriage of Figaro:

À merveille, mademoiselle : à peine fiancée, vous faites de ces apprêts ? C’était pour recevoir mon page que vous désiriez d’être seule ?

According to the dictionaries I have looked up, "apprêt" could mean either "preparation" or "affectation" (the other senses are all technical). But neither seems to fit the passage well. One Italian translation online gives "scherzi", but I do not see what "jokes" are being referred to.

Here is the context: the Count Almaviva has just revealed the presence of Cherubin, a page-boy and young philanderer, with Susanna in the same room. Susanna intends to be wedded to Figaro soon, and the Count wants to go to bed with Susanna that night, in view of "son droit de seigneur".

2 Answers 2


Voir le CNRTL, plus particulièrement le point A.4. :

Soins attentifs prodigués à une personne, recherche de toilette :

« On va pouvoir En laisser voir Un peu plus haut que la bottine. Ah! Que d'apprêts, De soins coquets, Quel tracas pour la chambrière! » Meilhac, Halévy, La Vie parisienne,1867, III, 9, p. 73.


It means here to make oneself look pretty, to dress up, put make up on, etc., as one might do when preparing to go out. The connotation is that the count is jealous that his fiancée got pretty for the page.

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