- "Ci-gît le Seigneur de La Palice: s'il n'était pas mort, il serait encore en vie."
- ("Here lies the Seigneur de La Palice: If he weren't dead, he would still be alive.")
These words were misread (accidentally or intentionally) as "...il ſerait [serait] encore en vie" ("...he would still be alive"), where the long s aids in the confusion. In the 16th century this misreading was incorporated into a popular satirical song, and in time many other variants developed, including "... que deux jours avant sa mort / il était encore en vie" ("... that two days before his death / he was still quite alive") and "... et quand il était tout nu, / il n'avait point de chemise" ("... and when he was stark naked / he didn't wear a shirt").
In the early 18th century Bernard de la Monnoye collected over 50 of these humorous "La Palice" quatrains, and published them as a burlesque Song of La Palice. From that song came the French term lapalissade meaning an utterly obvious truth—i.e. a truism or tautology, and it was borrowed into several other languages. Since that day, when you say something very obvious, your interlocutor answers : "La Palice would have said as much !" (in French : "La Palice en aurait dit autant !").
In Spanish culture, an analog is a folkloric character Pedro Grullo (Perogrullo) with his perogrulladas: "Verdad de Pedro Grullo, que a la mano cerrada, la llama puño" (The truth of Pedro Grullo, when his hand is closed, he calls it a fist).
- Georges Lebouc, 2500 noms propres devenus communs, p. 389
- Michel Chabanne (14 June 2007), comment on Encyclopédie des Expressions: Une vérité de La Palice / Une lapalissade Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 15 April 2009.
- Simon Baker, Surrealism, History and Revolution, p.195
- A dictionary of Spanish proverbs, 1834, p. 382