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Definition: a foolish act or remark, a stupid mistake.


This unique noun stems from the French bête meaning fool or foolish. The origin of bête is Old French beste meaning beast. I could not find any reference to explain the connection between foolishness and beasts, so for all you French readers- if you have the ability to help out- please do!

Why this word?  

Although MS Word marks this word as misspell, it appears in most dictionaries. I love this word as it specifies the foolishness of an act or a remark without saying anything negative about the one who had to do with it. When we are at the presence of individuals who we do not consider too bright, we will not bother considering their foolish remarks; perhaps we’ll giggle at them but that would be all…

To me, betise is not only a foolish remark, but one such coming from the least expected source, a person who we consider to be wise, to be a thinking person.

How to use betise?

We must remember that betise is not a fool; it could not be used to describe a person, but represents a specific act.

When Jane told me she wanted to travel to South America and see Iraq, I wasn’t sure her betise was sincere

I couldn’t believe my own betise when I told that holocaust joke next to his grandmother who is a holocaust survivor“.


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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