Enfant terrible

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Enfant terrible (/ˌɒ̃fɒ̃ tɛˈrblə/; French: [ɑ̃fɑ̃ tɛʁibl]; lit.'terrible child') is a French expression, traditionally referring to a child who is terrifyingly candid by saying embarrassing things to parents or others.[1][2]

Contemporary use[edit]

In modern times, the expression has drawn multiple usage in careers of art, fashion, music, and other creative arts. In these careers, it implies a successful, and often young, "genius" who is very unorthodox, striking, and in some cases, offensive, or rebellious.[3]

One of Webster's Dictionary's definitions of enfant terrible is "a usually young and successful person who is strikingly unorthodox, innovative, or avant-garde".[4]

The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, gives the definition: "A child who embarrasses his elders by untimely remarks; transf. a person who compromises his associates or his party by unorthodox or ill-considered speech or behaviour; loosely, one who acts unconventionally."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "enfant terrible". dictionary.reverso.net. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  2. ^ "enfant terrible". www.wordreference.com. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  3. ^ "enfant terrible". translation.babylon.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  4. ^ "enfant terrible". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved March 20, 2020.