"Je voudrais, me dit Patachou, le (l'agneaux) faire bâiller."
"Et pourqui donc?"
"Parce que, s'il avait ouvert la bouche bien grande, j'aurais peut-être vu son ruminoir."
"Son ruminoir? "

This is from "Patachou" by Tristan Derême.
I can't understand the meaning of ruminor.
I am glad if someone would kindly teach me.

  • 3
    "Ruminoir" suggests "ruminant" or "ruminer," so presumably it refers to the sheep's digestive system in some capacity? There no dictionary entry for it and I don't have access to the text of "Patachou," so that is all that I have to go upon. But from the results of my web searches, it seems that there is a nuance that I am missing.
    – Maroon
    Oct 2, 2020 at 4:02
  • Thank you so much for your answer. It is hard to understand the meaning for non-native reader. Oct 2, 2020 at 5:28

1 Answer 1


@Maroon got it right in her comment.

Ruminoir is listed in no dictionary but immediately evoques the verb ruminer to native ears.

Ruminer means to ruminate and can also be used figuratively to mean "to dwell on something", i.e. instead of bringing back food to chew it like cows of sheep, bringing back thoughts in the mind again and again.

Despite having no "legal" existence, ruminoir appears sporadically and means "the place where rumination occurs".

In your quote, the sense is literal: its rumen, its gullet.

A figurative meaning is more often observed, either a place where someone is alone and dwell on things, as @Laurent S. suggested, it is close to boudoir but pejorative, or, more rarely, a period of time when someone didn't act a lot, a traversée du désert (a barren spell).

  • 2
    I never heard these figurative meanings used. I guess the first one is to link with "boudoir", the second one is completely new to me.
    – Laurent S.
    Oct 2, 2020 at 8:24
  • 1
    @LaurentS.Le Parisien in 2011 about François Bayrou: Cinq années de « ruminoir » Disant avoir beaucoup appris de ces cinq dernières années de solitude qu'il appelle « le ruminoir », on sent que le 3e homme de la présidentielle de 2007 a changé son fusil d'épaule.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 2, 2020 at 8:37

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