Saturday, 25 May 2013


Bévue, Glass, Beautiful, Architecture
A bay view
(photo by Allen McGregor)


Noun. Plural pronounced same. Late 17th century.
[French, from bé-, bes- pejorative + vue view.]

An error of inadvertence; a blunder.

Having come up with what I feel was a rather brilliant mnemonic for my last French word (which was bêtise, as you're no doubt pretending to have forgotten just to spite me), I must admit to feeling under some pressure to have one for my subsequent French word, bévue, and to not have one would be, well, a bit of a booboo bévue in itself.

Unfortunately, I did find bévue a little less accommodating with its distinctly French pronunciation and absolute refusal to comfortably rhyme with anything remotely English that I could think of. However, after much thought I do think I have one. Are you ready? Right.

Above, you will see a picture of a rather smashing bay window which no doubt affords a similarly smashing vista; this vista could rightly be called a bay view (do you see where this is going?). Doubtless, such a bay view would include lots of lovely trees. Unfortunately, trees remind me of my own little bévue when writing on one of my favourite words thus far in Lexicolatry, that being the word arboricide, which means the wanton killing of trees. Somehow I managed to consistently spell the word incorrectly throughout almost the entire post, dropping the 'r' and thus rendering arboricide as aboricide. Thankfully a keen-eyed reader spotted the mistake and pointed it out, but only after I had published the post and after I had spelt it incorrectly in the post title also, thus forever rendering its web address as

It probably doesn't matter too much, but making such a careless mistake while writing on such an important subject does eat away at my OCD nature. Without the requisite understanding of the arcane workings of search engines, I can't help but wonder how many hits arboricide has lost, how many chances to get that message out there have been squandered, and therefore how many trees have paid the ultimate price because of my asinine negligence.

Anyway, the point is that a bévue is a blunder, so think of that bay window, with it's bay view looking out onto lovely trees that serve as a stark reminder of my own arboricidal blunder. Oh, and remember it's not pronounced bay-view, of course, but something closer to bay-voo. It's just a reminder. It helps, doesn't it? Kind of. OK, it's not as good as bêtise, but it'll do.

Have you recently committed a bafflingly bad bévue? Can you suggest a better mnemonic? Please do leave your comments below.


  1. Ha Haaaa! You committed a bévue. You said 'my OCD nature' instead of 'my OED nature.'