I'm researching my French ancestry and found an entry for my 7th great grandfather in Emigration Rochelaise. Google Translate can translate every word except for 'masurault'. Here's the phrase it's in:

"Le 12 janvier 1641, Nicolas Pinel acquiert de Daniel Gombault un masurault situe a La Rochelle"

Even just googling the word only returned two entries that couldn't be translated. They are:

Baillette par Jean Béchet, écuyer, seigneur de Genouillé et Fief-Béchet, paroisse de Sainte-Sonline (Sainte-Soulle), d'une terre Tun masurault en ce lieu.


deux maisons en la rue ou allée par où Ton va de la porte Ghaslon à la tour Carrée, au long des murs; une maison, rue de TAumosnerye; une maison ou masurault, tenant au chemin de la porte Ghaslon à la chapelle de Grâce

I'm guessing it has something to do with real estate, maybe? Maybe it's something specific to La Rochelle? Even my French teacher wife's huge Larousse dictionary doesn't have it. If anybody knows what it is, I'd appreciate it.

1 Answer 1


Some kind of country/rustic house and/or house with surroundings (fields, uncultivated etc.) or estate. I'll provide the following sources for someone else who is more familiar with the topic/history in France to expand on it:

Masureau: maison rustique (DMF)
Masurel -> Masurault -> synonymous with masure (Godefroy)
Masurau: maison rustique etc. (FEW)
Generally, see masure from latin mansura « tenure domaniale, manse » (TLFi)

So the TLF says that a masure is a very poor shabby cottage. The suffixe eau (ault is just a variant) is a diminutive suffix (sourissouriceau, arbrearbrisseau, etc), adding ault to masure makes the building even shabbier or smaller. The word masure is not much used nowadays. We can also note a regional difference, in the west of France, especially in Normandie, there are what is still called clos-masure. Les masures, fermes typiques du Pays de Caux.

  • J'avais tout de suite pensé à masure effectivement.
    – Frank
    Feb 22 at 4:02
  • Aussi, masurault rappelle hameau.
    – Frank
    Feb 22 at 4:38
  • I was surprised to see "masure" being equated to shabby. Turns out that I'm from Normandie, and as per Larousse the local meaning there is different. As for the suffix eau/ault, it doesn't mean shabbier, just smaller. A "masure" evokes something (relatively) big in my mind, not a mansion, but comfortably big for a family with multiple children, while I'm guessing "masurault" would refer to something of more ordinary dimensions, perhaps even on the small side. Feb 22 at 11:11
  • @MatthieuM. Indeed, it's special to Normandie, as specified in my edit to the wiki. And the TLF also has this regional meaning. But the first meaning is « Édifice, maison en ruines; habitation misérable, délabrée. ». It is written that eau is a diminutive suffix, not that it "means" shabbier.
    – None
    Feb 22 at 12:49
  • @None: I'm mentioning that it's "smaller" only (for ault) because the current answer says "even shabbier or smaller". Feb 22 at 13:02

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