Simple Definition of manqué
—used to describe what a person could or should have been but never was
Full Definition of manqué
: short of or frustrated in the fulfillment of one's aspirations or talents —used postpositively <a poet manqué>
Did You Know?
The etymology of manqué is likely to vex left-handers. English speakers picked up "manqué" directly from French more than two centuries ago, and it ultimately comes from Latin manco, meaning "having a crippled hand." But in between the Latin and French portions of this word's history came the Italian word manco, which means both "lacking" and "left-handed." Lefties may be further displeased to learn that "manqué" isn't the only English word with a history that links left-handedness with something undesirable. For example, the word awkward comes from "awke," a Middle English word meaning both "turned the wrong way" and "left-handed." And the noun "gawk" ("a clumsy stupid person") probably comes from a "gawk" that means "left-handed" in English dialect.
Origin and Etymology of manqué
French, from past participle of manquer to lack, fail, from Italian mancare, from manco lacking, left-handed, from Latin, having a crippled hand, probably from manus
First Known Use: 1773
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