Definition of beau geste
1 : a graceful or magnanimous gesture
2 : an ingratiating conciliatory gesture
beau geste was our Word of the Day on 05/07/2008. Hear the podcast!
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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.
Origin and Etymology of beau geste
French, literally, beautiful gesture
First Known Use: 1900See Words from the same year
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