The word “lunar” is borrowed from the Latin “lunaris”, the meaning of which is equivalent. © Luisa Ricciarini/Bridgeman Images

Do you use it daily? Le Figaro comes back to this phrase which seems to be increasingly interfering with our remarks.

“Totally lunar this conversation!”, “Have you seen his last film? It was lunar”. Without you being interested in the last Artemis I space mission, these sentences probably touched your ears. Originally qualifying everything relating to the Moon and belonging to it, such as the crescent, the year, the dial, what is illuminated by it, such as the pond, or which manifests itself when the Moon is up, the word “lunar”, indicates the Treasure of the French language, is borrowed from the Latin “lunaris”, the meaning of which is equivalent. He can define what has characteristics reminiscent of certain aspects of the coveted star, such as its landscape, its light, its aridity, or its shape.

Also, in allusion to the round shape and the pale color of the Moon, we speak of a “Pierrot lunaire”, a character whose face is made up of white. Likewise, in GoriotBalzac wrote: “His plump, projecting calf, predicted, as much as his long square nose, the moral qualities which the widow seemed to hold, and which was confirmed by the lunar and naively silly face of the good man.”

An absurd term?

From private exchanges to media spaces (many are the “moon stories” to be told to us), the term is used without limits to designate something surreal, unheard of. If it is true that the use of the phrase proves to be exact when human facts or activities presenting a character reminiscent of certain symbols of the Moon are evoked (dreams, illusions, and poetry in particular), it is appropriate not to hinder our purpose by abusing its use.

Instead of the adjective “lunar”, let us favor terms that are already part of our vocabulary. In this case, the French language makes it possible to designate “absurd”, “incoherent” facts, that is to say contrary to reason, “unheard of”, even “Kafkaesque”, for the most literary among us. . It is therefore correct to say of a desert and desolate landscape, noting the damage caused by a fire for example, that it is “lunar”. It is however preferable to say of a conversation that it is “incoherent”, and of a film that it is “absurd”.

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