Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Beauté du diable

Beauté du diable, Serial Killer, Charm, Charisma, Dangerous


Noun phrase. M19.
[French = devil's beauty]

Superficial attractiveness; captivating charm.

Charm, charisma and attractiveness are powerful qualities. When they're possessed by a psychopathic and violent personality, the results can be terrifying. A famous example is the American serial killer Ted Bundy, known for his charismatic ability to charm and his simple, somewhat nondescript good looks, qualities he took advantage of to win the confidence of a number of his victims before murdering them in the most brutal and sadistic manner. While beauté du diable would usually be applied in less extreme cases, Bundy is a potent reminder to never let anyone's charm disarm us to the point of abandoning our usual caution and circumspection in any aspect of life.


  1. Okay, you're going to have to explain something. Is beauté du diable something you have (like in "she has the devil's beauty/ she has (the?) beauté du diable") or something you are (like in "she is the devil's beauty/ she is a beauté du diable")?

    1. Oh wait, I'm figuring it out on my own... I might be a bit confused because I'm too influenced by my knowledge of French.

      The English translation makes me think it probably refers to a characteristic, while in French it could go both ways: characteristic and person. Would that maybe be right?

  2. Good afternoon Bibi! I think, as it's a French expression taken into English, you could probably employ some licence in how you use it in English. However, when you consider the definition (attractiveness and charm), it's probably something that you have. I've also seen it used in a more abstract way, as in 'Beware the beauté du diable!' or something like that. When I wrote the piece today, I couldn't find any examples of it in use - so I'm unable to provide you with any quotes I'm afraid.