The meanings of "Remise" I know of are bargain and some kind of store but this does not fit with the situation where I heard this expression. Something like "Perhaps next time" seemed to be meant. Is that correct?

  • partie is a game. remettre une partie is to put off a game until a later time/date. – Lambie Aug 20 at 16:17

You are thinking of «rabais que les commerçants accordent à certaines personnes sur le prix porté au catalogue» (according to definition 5 of «remise» in Le Wiktionnaire), referring to a discount — or bargain, if you will.

The expression you have heard, though, relates to the – now dated – chess term «la partie est remise» still found in the 8th edition (1932–35) of the Dictionnaire de l’Académie française: «En termes de jeu d'échecs, remettre une partie se dit lorsque, ni l'un ni l'autre des joueurs ne pouvant donner échec et mat à celui contre qui il joue, la partie reste indécise et qu'il faut la recommencer.» It means that the game is undecided and will therefore be adjourned, to be repeated another day.

Nowadays, in a chess tournament, such a game would be scored as a draw («(partie) nulle») and not be adjourned. However, the expression was used then and is still used today in the figurative sense, according to the current edition of the Dictionnaire: «Nous reprendrons plus tard notre projet, notre dessein.» Meaning “That will be for another time,” or maybe just “Raincheck.”

  • Your explanation gives the impression that this expression originated in connection with the game of chess, which is not unlikely as it is found in the literature of that game at least as early as 1821, but the references you provide do not state that; do you hold this information from a seperate source? – LPH Aug 20 at 3:53
  • I just found a source that tends to show that it is an expression that was used already at the end of the sixteenth century: TLFi, étymol. 2. 1580 fig. remettre la partie (Montaigne, op. cit., II, 31, p. 715); 1690 (Fur.: cette partie a été remise); 1731-41 (Marivaux, La Vie de Marianne, éd. J. Janin, p. 189: c'est encore partie remise); 1838 (Dumas père, P. Jones, III, 8, p. 172: ce n'est que partie remise). – LPH Aug 20 at 4:08
  • I have not tried to trace back the expression to its very origin, just to the point in time where the literal sense fell out of use. I've edited my answer to make that clearer. – John Hennig Aug 20 at 7:50
  • The change of wording (alludes/relates) and your comment should dispel any wrong impression. – LPH Aug 20 at 10:57
  • "Partie" is the word used for any game, not just chess, right? – frapadingue Aug 20 at 12:27

"Remise" here is the past participle of "remettre", i.e. postponed. You got the meaning right: the matter will not be resolved now, but neither is it over.

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    I'm pretty sure that's the right answer, however I wouldn't say remettre can mean postponed by itself, not nowadays at least. I'd say it's short for "remettre à plus tard" – Teleporting Goat Aug 20 at 10:59
  • Ah, yes, "la lettre lui a été remise"! Thanks to elucidate that part! – frapadingue Aug 20 at 12:30

This expression is explained in the TLFi;

Ce n'est que partie remise (Syntagme défini) Ce projet n'est que différé, reporté à une occasion plus favorable

The dictionary mentions only the term "projet", which account for some of what the expression covers, but that is not all; there are other important aspects which are not taken into account by the word "projet"; the following concepts are equally included, the last one occurring the most: "confrontation amicales", confrontations hostiles", "tentatives", "évènements".
It is true that the term "partie remise" is often found in the clause "ce n'est que partie remise"; however, there are also numerous cases of its use in isolation. Also, it is not necessarily the case that the point in time where the happening will supposedly take place really is more propitious; it is often simply a matter of this point in time fulfilling the conditions for that happening or it is Simply a forecast totally uninformative about any particular conditions.

A truer definition could be as this;

  • En parlant d'un projet, d'une confrontation, d'un évènement, ou d'une tentative, être différé pour diverses raisons ou sans raison apparente ou, alternativement être considéré comme différé par le locuteur avec ou sans raison apparente.


Google. books Ce n'était d'ailleurs que partie remise.

confrontation hostile

Google. books En pareils cas partie remise est partie perdue.

Google. books Ce n'est que partie remise jeta-t-il comme pour lui même. Fouché ne pourra m'échapper éternellement.

Google. books Ce n'est que partie remise, Holmes !

confrontation amicale

Google. books Ce n'est que partie remise, Baylie. Je compte bien passer aux choses sérieuses avant la fin de la semaine.


Google. books … mais on lui dit que partie remise serait à coup sûr partie perdue, …

Google. books Mais ce n'est que partie remise, je vous le promets.


Google. books … si nous n'arrivons pas à notre objectif à la première tentative ce n'est que partie remise.

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    Absolument aucune explication, juste des copier-collers de dictionnaires. – Teleporting Goat Aug 20 at 7:50
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    @TeleportingGoat Non, ce n'est pas vrai : la définition que je fournis est une explication ; de plus elle améliore une définition insatisfaisante du TLFi et elle correspond aux exemples trouvés dans la littérature; avec cela vous exagérez, il n'y a qu'une petite copie qui vient d'un seul dictionnaire et qui est tout à fait normale. – LPH Aug 20 at 10:42
  • Les dicos ne comptent pas? Après tout, c'est bien expliqué par le dico. Je trouve cette réponse très bien. Le posteur aurait du consulter un dico avant de poster. – Lambie Aug 20 at 15:18
  • @Lambie It is always easy to dismiss in a few brash professionally sounding words something that requires for its understanding careful and lengthy examination, as here that of 8 texts giving the key to the contexts. – LPH Aug 20 at 15:44
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    @Lambie Why blame the community? "Lynx envers nos pareils, et taupes envers nous" (La Fontaine, la Besace)? No offense, but speaking of "behavior", both you and LPH share the dubious honor of having earned 300 d/v on your respective top site (FSE, ELL), with an UV/DV ratio of 5.7 for you and 3.9 some for them, not unheard of but still. Maybe look into that and improve on it? Here for instance discussing the verb remettre would have been useful as OP was confused with the noun. Quoting a French dict. & sentences to a learner useful, please. – personne Aug 20 at 21:28

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