Ils se sont rabibochés.

Ils se sont rabibochés.

eel suh saw rah-bee-buh-SHAY. Click below to hear this.*

They patched things up.

The story is as old as time: girl met boy, girl and boy fell in love… Fast forward to their first (or fiftieth) fight. If they were truly in love, we all know what came next: Ils se sont rabibochés. Do they live happily ever after? You write that part of the story.

How does a word like rabibocher come to exist? It’s about as meaningful as discombobulated in English. Do you seriously think there’s an etymology for that? I’ll bet rabibocher doesn’t either.

But that doesn’t prevent either word from following the relevant grammatical rules. In the case of rabibocher, which means to patch up, it is conjugated like any first-conjugation verb (those are the ones that end in -er). So you would say J’ai rabiboché mon pantalon, I mended my pants. It might be makeshift, but it works.

If you make the verb reflexive by adding se (or another reflexive pronoun), in the passé composé, you get Ils se sont rabibochés, which literally means They mended each other, or patched each other up. Each is acting on the other, which makes a nice reminder of the degree of compromise it takes to get through a fight. Grammatically, they must agree with each other–the subject pronoun and the past participle, that is. In real life, we recognize the feelings of the other, and repair each other.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:

ils_se_sont_rabiboches.mp3

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