Talk:Honi soit qui mal y pense

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[edit]

There appears to be a commercial advertisement for a book on the subject at the start of the 'History' subheading. Peter Fagan (talk) 18:41, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

It does not mean "evil to him who thinks evil"[edit]

Nor is it literally translated as "shame on him who thinks evil 'there'". The French word y can mean "there", but in this phrase it functions as one of the two partitives (the other being "en"). Partitives take the place of a preposition, in this case a and a pronoun referring to something previously mentioned or understood. So, why is there a preposition in the phrase, even if it's concealed inside the partitive y? It's required by the verb penser, in much the same way as "to think" requires the preposition "of" in English. So:

mal penser a la ceinture = "to think evil of the garter".

mal y penser = "to think evil of it".

This is absolutely first-semester French. I don't know why so many books get it wrong.

Pithecanthropus (talk) 03:59, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

That's completely wrong. There is no "of it". It's not "mal y penser", it's "mal y pense" meaning "pense au mal" (in modern French). There's no "of it".

It's not first-semester of French, it's ancient French, the grammar is completely different. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:E35:8A8D:FE80:857E:4037:E39:D3F0 (talk) 17:38, 9 November 2016 (UTC)


Hi, i think that the real one is Honni, with 2 n

"First semester French"?? Lol. I have a degree in French history. I don't remember anything like discussions of partitives in ancient French in my first year. Your aggressive stance suggests the flaw in your reasoning: In legal circles it might be called: "Following the letter, and not the spirit, of the law." Regardless of your "literal" interpretation, the phrase has come to take on a significance of its own. The story about King Edward and Joan of Kent shows what this phrase means to people now. It's an idiom, and what it might have meant to someone in England who spoke more or less "proper" French 600 years ago is irrelevant to its current usage. Unless you'd like to get in a time machine, travel back, and slap Edward on the hand for getting it wrong. Grin, 98.210.208.107 (talk) 22:47, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
I can't discern the relevance of this post to anything Pithecanthropus said; in any case, Pithecanthropus is right. I've removed the "translation". Adam Bishop (talk) 23:02, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Surely the best translation is in '1066 And All That': 'Honey, your silk stocking is hanging down'. Hence the need for the Order of the Garter.109.158.45.254 (talk) 23:10, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Why merge?[edit]

Why why why does this need to merge? Surely as long as things are referenced it's fine. This spreading compulsion to merge articles is bothering. Ultimately it leads to one vast article containing everything!! There should be an over-riding and driving reason for merging not just some subjective (even if it is that of the handful of readers who trouble to comment) taxonomic rational. Taxonomies are entirely subjective and depend on the notion of scoping being applied to the subject under consideration. For me it was great to find this article. It was precisely what I wanted. If I want to learn more I can click on the link. Job done. So WHY MERGE? What's the problem being solved here? Merging is a solution in search of a problem, a sort of tidy-desk syndrome! LookingGlass (talk) 13:34, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Translation[edit]

In contemporary French, yes, Honni is spelled with 2 ns; but the phrase usually retains its Old French spelling, where Honi only has one n.

Paulo Eagleton 05:59, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The phrase is present on the current UK passport, as well as the old (dark blue) passport; I am therefore removing the comment indicating that it was there on the old one. (There is a note later in the artical indicating that it is there on the current one) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Girth Summit (talkcontribs) 15:34, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Unnecessary[edit]

I think that is article is completely superfluous. There is nothing in here that could not be mentioned in the main Garter article. Im moving for a merge.--Eva bd 19:32, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't know the history of the respective articles five years ago, but the way the two articles stand now is appropriate. One is about a well-known phrase with a long and famous history, the other is about an honor and an organization. I came to to Wiki to read about the phrase, paused to comment in discussion here about what I thought was a misrepresentation, and have no interest in the article about Order of the Garter. The two articles have distinct functions. 98.210.208.107 (talk) 22:55, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

Things to consider before merging:[edit]

This article might need to stand on its own. Reasons:

1. The motto is a historical phrase. It appears in other places than just the motto of the Order of the Garter. Other people should contribute to the article over time.

2. The phrase can be used on its own, without specific references to the Order of the Garter. (see List of French phrases used by English speakers)

Paulo Eagleton 21:35, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

1. It is a historical phrase and may well be used in other places. This article only talks about the Garter, though, and its scope is limited. Until such time as more information is added, I think that the article should be merged with a redirect in its place.
2. I've never seen the phrase used outwith a reference to the Garter, but I'd love some other examples. I'm not a Francophone and speak no French, so I'm more than ready to be enlightened. Even after considering these things, I'd still say the merge should go forward.--Eva bd 21:41, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The phrase is the motto of several military organizations today. I did a quick web search and found these: The 14th King's Hussars (http://www.regiments.org/regiments/uk/cav/D14h.htm) The Royal Montreal Regiment (http://www.royalmontrealregiment.com/) The Royal Australian Army Service Corps (http://www.raasc.org.au/)

It is obviously the Garter motto, but as a military motto it is usually translated as "Evil be to him who evil thinks", which is slightly different from the original meaning. I don't know enough about these usages to comment further. Maybe someone else can find some more info on this?

Paulo Eagleton 23:48, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The phrase is translated more than one way for the Garter. I don't think that there is a standard English translation for the Order's purposes. I contend that in all the above mentioned cases, these will probably derive from the Garter originally. ?I'm still in favor of the merge.--Eva bd 19:30, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Merge it. I would like to see the literal translation for this phrase included. Often this helps to clarify all the different translations of the phrase, especially since there seems to be no standard English translation.

Paulo Eagleton 00:25, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Consider it done. I was also sure to add the literal translation to the Garter article. Thanks for the help.--Eva bd 01:06, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't think Michael Jackson was armigerous[edit]

I am puzzled by the following -

"The motto also appears on the entry gates to pop star Michael Jackson's Neverland estate, emblazoned on his personal crest beneath a royal lion and a gemstone-collared unicorn[5]."

How could Jackson have had a crest, if he didn't have a coat of arms to place the crest upon?

And as far as I know Jackson wasn't armigerous, so the paragraph above makes no sense. And even if Jackson had decided to award himself arms, why would the crest be beneath the lion and unicorn? A crest sits on a helmet, or on a torse.

Doktordoris (talk) 21:27, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Having checked it out, there are two armorial achievements used on the gate to the Neverland ranch (see here). The achievement on the gate itself (better detail here) is the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom, I am surprised he wasn't take to task for this as I would be very surprised if he had ever been given permission by Queen Elizabeth II to use these arms. The connection to the motto is the usage of the Garter Belt in these arms. In view of the usage solely in the Royal Arms, the display on the gates of the Neverland Ranch is a non-notable occurence of the use of the motto and I am removing it from the main article. The achivement above the gate is completely separate to the achivement on the gate (better picture here and here). This is formed as a marital marshalling of arms with the husband's arms on the left and the wife's on the right, surmounted with the Crown of St Edward. This is marshalling does not appear to be legitimate. The use of the Crown of St Edward links it to UK heraldic tradition, however its use is reserved for royalty and organisations that have been provided with royal patronage - its (authorised) use is tightly controlled. Moreover, in English heraldic tradition, the use of two shields in a martialling of arms only occurs when the husband and/or wife is a knight or dame of an order that the other is not or is a peer of a different rank to the other. In such cases the insignia of the order of knighthood or peerage rank are shown with the applicable shield. This is the entire purpose of using two shields since, in other circumstances, convention is that the two arms are displayed on the one shield by impalement or, in limited circumstances, on an escutcheon of pretence. The arms shown do not conform to these conventions. Without seeing the detail of the arms, it is not possible to comment on the origin of the arms themselves but I would be surprised if Jackson or Presley were armigerous. Cheers, AusTerrapin (talk) 15:03, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Correct translation and derivation.[edit]

You cannot always be literal when translating from one language to another so part of translation is knowing the mind of those who speak the language in question.

So let us start again with Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

Synonyms are. mépriser, répudier, haïr, vomir, détester, vilipender, maudire, abominer, abhorrer, siffler, chérir

Couvrir de honte.

Honte is a complex emotion as you can see from the synonyms so one has to examine the origins.

From Middle French, from Old French hunte (“dishonour”), of Germanic origin, from Old Low Frankish *hōnitha, *haunitha (“disdain, scorn, ridicule”), from Proto-Germanic *hauniþō (“humiliation”), from Proto-Indo-European *kaw- (“to be evil, make evil”). Cognate with Old High German hōnida (“dishonour”), Middle Dutch hoonde (“dishonour”),

Here the most appropriate word is 'dishonour', which appears three times, into 'dishonourable' and it was the honour of the lady wearing the garter that was being upheld by the King.

So I suggest that my own initial understanding of Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense is the correct one as Mal can mean bad as well as evil, and the use of the word evil is too strong and should be totally discounted.

Hence "Dishonourable are those who think bad of it." The King's action in placing the garter on his own leg thereby saving the lady from the ridicule of the entourage.

Dishonourable is the FORMAL use of Honi in this motto.

In fact the King found the reaction of the people to be DISGUSTING and PATHETIC in that they should snigger at someone else's misfortune like hyenas/dogs.

Clearly Y means 'of it', and, as someone has already mentioned, this is entry level French.

My family was of French/Frankish origin going back to 732AD so it was a natural translation which came easily to me especially knowing the circumstances in which the King performed this action and the mind of the King in performing this action.

See: Lord Lyon 178.116.241.153 (talk) 08:34, 9 January 2012 (UTC)


Surely 'soit' is a subjunctive, not indicative? So we should not say 'Dishonourable are those... ' but something like 'Let dishonour be upon those ...'. I'm not sure whether 'Honi' a noun ('shame' - 'let shame be upon...' ) or an adjective ('shameful' - 'he may be shameful who ... ').

I suggest 'Shame be upon him who thinks badly of it' as a fairly literal translation that goes roughly word for word but indicates the correct meaning. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rob625 (talkcontribs) 10:34, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

Honi is an adjective, meaning cursed, banned, be the evil on the person.. An adjective, but it's the meaning that must be translated. The translation in the article are not very acurate. I suggested one another that respect more the meaning. Dishounouralbe is not strong enough, it's a real course here. "Honni soit..." is a curse on someone.

Suggest that school mottos not be included here[edit]

In a recent change, an editor noted that 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' was the motto on the school badge of Market Harborough Grammar School. Someone had previously added that this was the motto of The King's School, Grantham. I suggest that both of these school mentions be removed from this article. (The articles on the schools themselves can continue to mention the motto if editors deem it relevant). If we were to carefully list all echoes of this celebrated motto as used by other institutions there would probably be thousands. A reader probably does not come to this article to gain this kind of information. For example, there must be hundreds or thousands of schools named after John F. Kennedy but his article does not provide a list. ('Kennedy school' gets 16.5 million Google hits). EdJohnston (talk) 03:51, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

I agree. --99of9 (talk) 06:54, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Complete Translation[edit]

Can someone translate the second part?

"Tel qui s'en rit aujoud'hui, demain s'enhorera de la porter"

"Something about wearer/ carrier= --109.91.84.185 (talk) 12:45, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

"As much as people may laugh about it today, tomorrow it will be considered an honor to wear it" -- 128.237.226.53 (talk) 04:03, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Tel = the one, whoever who...

s'en rit = mock it. (s'en rire is mocking something), demain s'enhorera (in modern French: demain, s'enorgueuillera, s'honorera) de la porter. whoever (the one) who dare to mock it, tomorrow will be honoured to wear it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:E35:8A8D:FE80:857E:4037:E39:D3F0 (talk) 17:28, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

A very small other use:[edit]

The phrase is found within the lyrics to the song, Hoops from the 1932 Broadway Revue The Band Wagon as performed by Fred and Adele Astaire. See http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107859137521/ 70.29.71.187 (talk) 02:49, 11 May 2014 (UTC) Rick B.

Translation is not accurate[edit]

I don't know if I broke some references or not. Sorry if it's the case, but the translation in this article is completely wrong. Shame be on him => false. There is no "him" in the French sentence, the meaning is "whoever", "someone". Shame be on the one who thinks evil of it => false. I know enough French and ancient French to be sure that there is no "of it" in the meaning of the sentence. The "y" refers to the evil. Honni soit (=cursed, banned, be evil on this person) qui (whoever) mal y pense (= pense au mal, in modern French) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:E35:8A8D:FE80:857E:4037:E39:D3F0 (talk) 17:25, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

  • "Of it" (or words to that effect) is precisely what "y" means. See this, for instance. Drmies (talk) 17:36, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Sorry, I'll check again, because I don't see the sentence in the link you paste. I'm a French teacher, teaching French, and I'm pretty sure that "mal y pense" is "thinking to the evil". I will search books that explain that (preferably French books, not in English language) Everyone has to understand and consider modern French grammar is NOT ancient French grammar. Anyway, I'll need to check in books, and if I find interesting stuff, for the discussion, I'll publish here. It's an interesting point. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:E35:8A8D:FE80:857E:4037:E39:D3F0 (talk) 17:42, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Ok, I'm here again. I've checked. Considering the story of the sentence, with the "jarretière", you are completely right, the King cursed the ones who though evil of it (the jarretière), but it takes a more general meaning too, to think evil of it, AND to think about evil is two different things, but the meaning in French can mean both. I've found a lot of old reference with "to think about the evil" or something like that. So, it's particularly tricky to translate, and it's maybe the reason why there are the two translations coexisting (depending if you talk about the jarretière story). I think we should put it in the article. For "him", I'm totally sure that the masculine shouldn't be used in English, it's "whoever", "the one who", but for "evil of it", you're right, but we should mention the "about evil" meaning too, it seems a kind of double entendre sentence...

  • I was never talking about jarretieres, though that sounds exciting. I am somewhat familiar with the reading you cite and I think it's popped up once or twice in some edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight--but if the translation is ambiguous, we still have to go with the one that reliable sources cite in relation to the phrase as it is defined in our article. In other words, if there is an ambiguity, an alternate reading which is not cited in relation to the order, then that translation is just not interesting to our article. And of course the "y" is vague if there is no context--I personally would not have picked this for my own knightly order. Thanks, Drmies (talk) 01:48, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
How about we cite actual references both for the translation and for the origin legend?
You will note that the y is missing from the Gawain ms. inscription, i.e. it just reads "honi soit qui mal pense". It is a matter of citing literature to trace the exact wording of the motto and its translation in relevant literature. I am often surprised how difficult it seems to be to convey the core principles of WP:RS and WP:NOR. The question here is not "give a translation of this random French phrase", but "give a well-researched summary of the scholarly literature on this very notable and centuries-old French phrase". --dab (𒁳) 09:29, 13 January 2018 (UTC)

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My father served in the Royal Canadian Ordinance Corps during World War II. I have his hat badge and it has on it the motto "Honi soit qui mal y pense." I believe that the unit is now part of the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. I hope this is of some use to you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by A. Frederick C. (talkcontribs) 23:41, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

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