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Renvoyer means to send back. But back to where?

I am baffled because the employer dismissed the employee. So the employer is no longer authorized to send the employee any where!

https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/renvoyer

De envoyer, avec le préfixe r-.

https://www.cnrtl.fr/etymologie/renvoyer

Étymol. et Hist. 1. a) Ca 1160 « faire retourner (quelqu'un) là où il était précédemment » (Enéas, éd. J. J. Salverda de Grave, 6250: mort li renveoit Eneas); b) ca 1200 « démobiliser, licencier, congédier » (Jean Bodel, Saxons, éd. F. Menzel et E. Stengel, 284: il departi ses oz, s'en ranvoia sa gent); 1480 (Lettre de Marguerite de Bourgogne, 14 sept. ds Mém. de Ph. de Comines, Preuves, éd. Lenglet du Fresnoy, t. 3, 1747, pp. 606-607: avez fait casser et renvoyer par-deça trois ou quatre cens Archers); c) 1569 « faire repartir, éconduire (quelqu'un) » (Ronsard, Œuvres compl., éd. P. Laumonier, t. 15, p. 171, 85: le debteur r'envoye); d) 1665 dr. « déclarer non coupable, acquitter » (La Fontaine, Imitation des Arrêts d'Amours ds Œuvres, éd. H. Régnier, t. 8, p. 424: la cour [...] la renvoya);

envoy (n.) [on Etymonline]

"messenger," 1660s, from French envoyé "messenger; a message; a sending; the postscript of a poem," literally "one sent" (12c.), noun use of past participle of envoyer "send,"
from Vulgar Latin *inviare "send on one's way,"
from Latin in "on" (from PIE root *en "in") + via "road" (see via (adv.)).
The same French word was borrowed in Middle English as envoi in the sense "stanza of a poem 'sending it off' to find readers" (late 14c.).

2 Answers 2

5

Sent back to whatever place the employee was before being employed. It's kind of a metaphor, the employer is not sending the laid off employee to any particular place. See Gilles' answer for what location it used to be.

This is not unlike the English metaphor to fire someone where the employee is hopefully not blasted out of a cannon...

5

The employee is sent back home. The etymology suggests that the word was originally used for soldiers, who live out of home while they are on a military campaign. If they are dismissed, they presumably travel back to their home.

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  • 1
    Right: renvoyé dans ses foyers.
    – jlliagre
    Jul 18, 2022 at 13:23

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