jeunesse dorée

jeu·​nesse do·​rée | \ zhœ-nes-dȯ-ˈrā How to pronounce jeunesse dorée (audio) \

Definition of jeunesse dorée

: young people of wealth and fashion

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French revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre and his allies, the Jacobins, gained many enemies for their role in the Reign of Terror. One of their fiercest opponents was Louis Freron, a former Jacobin who played a key role in overthrowing their government. On July 27, 1794, counter-revolutionaries toppled the Jacobin regime and had Robespierre arrested and executed. In the midst of the chaos that followed, Louis Freron organized gangs of fashionably dressed young toughs to terrorize the remaining Jacobins. French speakers called those stylish young thugs the jeunesse dorée-literally, the "gilded youth." By the time the term jeunesse dorée was adopted into English in the 1830s, it had lost its association with violent street gangs and simply referred to any wealthy young socialites.

First Known Use of jeunesse dorée

1836, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jeunesse dorée

French, gilded youth

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The first known use of jeunesse dorée was in 1836

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jeune premier

jeunesse dorée


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Cite this Entry

“Jeunesse dorée.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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