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(E. Deschamps, ibid.) avec balèvre* p[ar]. anal[ogie]. entre les lèvres d'une plaie et les lèvres du visage.

I'm flabbergasted by CNRTL above, and Wiktionary below. What exactly is this "analogie entre les lèvres d’une plaie et les lèvres du visage"? Are these two quotations alleging that scar tissues and gashes look like labia oris? If so, then I fail to behold this analogy!

Étymologie

(1505) Croisement de balèvre par analogie entre les lèvres d’une plaie et les lèvres du visage, et de l’ancien français laffru, lavru (« lippu »).

I have beholden pictures of scars near lips. They don't look human lips to me!

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  • Have you tried to do a google image search for balafre ? Do you see the analogy ?
    – XouDo
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 7:15
  • @XouDo Yes, but no. I still do not see the analogy!
    – user31330
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 5:42
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    balafre does not exactly mean scar. A scar in french is cicatrice. A balafre is specifically a long (and possibly deep) wound on the face, or the resulting scar of it. When the wound is still open, the two sides are similar to two lips around a "mouth" (in the sens of edge or border).
    – XouDo
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 7:55
  • The upper picture scar is kind of smiling, isn't it? The edges are called lips when the wound is open, not that much after healing.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 19:49

2 Answers 2

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"Lèvre", in French, comes from labrum, Latin.

In Latin, labrum (or labium, more popular) has both meanings of "lips" and of "edge" (and also "big jar", but this is a different word). Source: Gaffiot, Dictionnaire abrégé latin-français.

In English also, "lip" can be used figuratively. Google search has results for "lips of a wound", e.g.: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conglutinant

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What English calls the edges of a scar/wound, French calls the lips of it.

On appelle figurativement les bords d’une playe, Les levres d’une playe.
Dictionnaire de l'Académie, 1ère édition, 1694

The similarity between a mouth and its lips and a scar and its edges is obvious enough for the figurative meaning to be established since the Middle Ages.

enter image description here
LOUISE HAYWOOD-SCHIEFER

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  • "The similarity between a mouth and its lips and a scar and its edges is obvious enough". Can you please try to persuade me? The similarity is not obvious to me!
    – user31330
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 5:43
  • @user In English the "edges" of a scar are also called the lips, the analogy is not particular to French. Lippen einer Wunde in German (Lippen →the lips), labios de una herida in Spanish (los labios →the lips).
    – None
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 8:54