savoir

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French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French saveir, savoir, from Vulgar Latin *sapēre, from Latin sapĕre "to taste", and "to know" in Late Latin, by influence of the adjective sapiēns (wise). Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *sap- (to try, to research). The verb was for a long time spelled sçavoir from Middle French until the 18th century, by false regression to Classical Latin scīre "to know".

The forms of the verb with -ch- are a regular reflex of Latin -pi- (/-pj-/). Compare seiche, approcher, hache.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

savoir

  1. to know (something)
    Il est difficile de savoir si elle ment.
    It's difficult to know if she's lying
    Difficile à savoir (expression; confer Difficile à dire, voir, faire)
  2. to know how (to do something)
    Savez-vous nager?
    Do you know how to swim?
  3. to be able to, to be apt to (especially in the negative conditional)
    Il ne saurait tarder que...
    It cannot/will not be long before...
    «Il ne saurait être considéré comme un acte de résistance puisque le Hamas a a cessé la résistance dans la bande de Gaza», a poursuivi M. Abbas.»Le Devoir, 3 September 2010

Usage notes[edit]

To translate know in the sense "to be acquainted with", the verb connaître is used.

Synonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Conjugation[edit]

Noun[edit]

savoir m (plural savoirs)

  1. knowledge

Anagrams[edit]

External links[edit]


Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Vulgar Latin *sapēre, from Latin sapere, present active infinitive of sapiō (I taste), later "I know".

Verb[edit]

savoir

  1. to know
  2. to be skilled in
    molt bien savoit le latin
    he was very skilled in Latin

Descendants[edit]