beau geste

\ bō-ˈzhest How to pronounce beau geste (audio) \
plural beaux gestes or beau gestes\ bō-​ˈzhest How to pronounce beau gestes (audio) \

Definition of beau geste

1 : a graceful or magnanimous gesture
2 : an ingratiating conciliatory gesture

The History of Beau Geste

Beau geste is a phrase borrowed from French; the literal translation is "beautiful gesture." Beau Geste is also the title of a 1924 novel by Percival Christopher Wren, featuring three English brothers who join the French Foreign Legion to repair their family honor. The novel spawned several film versions, including one starring Gary Cooper. Wren didn't invent the phrase "beau geste," which began to appear around the beginning of the 20th century, but the publicity surrounding the novel and subsequent films likely contributed to the expression's popularity.

First Known Use of beau geste

1900, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for beau geste

French, literally, beautiful gesture

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The first known use of beau geste was in 1900

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Cite this Entry

“Beau geste.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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good-natured easy friendliness

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