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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?

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    partie is a game. remettre une partie is to put off a game until a later time/date. – Lambie Aug 20 at 16:17
  • It's not "une remise", it's something that is "mis/mise" again. From remettre. – Quidam Oct 25 at 17:23
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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
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    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
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    "Partie" is the word used for any game, not just chess, right? – frapadingue Aug 20 at 12:27
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    As a note "Ce n'est que partie remise" is a formal expression, but common. – Quidam Oct 25 at 17:24
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    @frapadingue Yes. Any social game. Une partie de cartes, une partie de Monopoly, etc... – Quidam Oct 25 at 17:28
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"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
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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.

projet

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.

évènement

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.

tentative

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

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