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I just learned this phrase from an Astérix comic and found it etymologically confusing. The only thing I can think of that's lexically similar is the past tense of savoir.

How did sus à come to mean death to?

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It never explicitly did.

This sus cognates with sur and dessus so is close to 'over' or 'upon'.

Sus à l'ennemi ! literally means something like '(Let's raid) upon the enemy!'

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    Sus à l'ennemi = A l'attaque = Charge !
    – Graffito
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 23:55
  • Ah that makes so much more sense. Simple, but great answer! Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 0:43

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