Je suis paumé(e).

Je suis paumé(e)!

shwee po-MAY. Click below to hear this.

I’m lost!

Actually, that’s everyday pronunciation. You may not get away with it, if you try it out on your French teacher. In case you need the proper version, it’s “zhuh swee po-MAY.” But no one talks like that, especially since paumé is a slangy word and careless enunciation just seems to go with it.

La paume is the palm of your hand, not to be confused with les palmes,which are waved around on Palm Sunday.

But how did we get from la paume to paumer, which means to take or catch (as in paumer un coup, to take a blow), and to get lost?

If we were sticking to English, we could proffer I know these roads like the back of my hand as a clue. In French, you would say Je connais ces routes comme la paume de ma main. Yep, you guessed it! French speakers know their streets like the palm of their hand. But if that’s the case, why would they be paumés when they are lost, if la paume is the source of geographic knowledge? They should be dosés, since le dos de la main is the back of the hand. Unfortunately, that word–although it does exist–has nothing to do with hands, front or back. It means dosed, as in drugged.

Maybe that’s the whole problem, and we should just stick to GPS. Or better yet, stay off the roads altogether.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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