à tâtons

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French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French a tastons, corresponding to à + old substantive form of tâtonner.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

à tâtons

  1. hesitantly, feelingly, cautiously
    • 1874, Barbey d'Aurevilly, ‘Le Rideau Cramoisi’, Les Diaboliques:
      elle avez…le croirez-vous ? été obligée de traverser la chambre où son père et sa mère dormaient ! Elle l'avait traversée à tâtons, les mains en avant, pour ne pas se choquer à quelque meuble qui aurait retenti de son choc et qui eût pu les réveiller.
      She had been forced – would you believe it? – to cross the room where her father and mother were sleeping! She groped her way across it, hands in front of her, so as not to knock against any furniture which might have reverberated with the impact and could have woken them up.