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CultureFrench Words That Came From People's Names

As with any language, some French words have their origins in people's names. Here are five French words inspired by people.

Louis Braille

Blinded by an accident at an early age, Braille would go on to create a system (at age 15!) so the blind or visually impaired could read. Braille as it is now know worldwide, was inspired by a coding system created by Charles Barbier a Captain in the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Braille simplified and improved Barbier's system of "Night Writing."


Eugène Poubelle

It was Poubelle as préfet of the (now now defunct) Seine department, that at the time included Paris, who in 1884 decreed that building owners must supply their tenants with containers to be used for trash. This was done to improve public health and hygiene. Waste was sorted into three containers, one each for perishables, paper/cloth and glass/ceramic/cookware. Poubelle is now the French word for Trash can.


Joseph-Ignace Guillotin

No, Guillotin didn't invent France's preferred means of execution. But it was Guillotin who suggested it be used, as he felt it was a more humane means of execution. Lost to history, is the fact that the Guillotin was invented by Antoine Louis and its first name was the "Louisette."


Robert de Sorbon

France's premier institution of higher learning - University of Paris aka the Sorbonne gets its gets its nickname from Sorbon. Who in 1253 founded a theological college - Collège de Sorbonne in Paris.


Frères Montgolfier

It's the Montgolfier brothers who are credited with inventing and flying the first balloon capable of carrying a person in 1782. The first manned flight took place at Folie Titon, now Rue de Montreuil in Paris on October 19th 1783.
A Hot air balloon is known as a "Montgolfière" in French.

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