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Borrowed from French baragouin (unintelligible speech or writing).



baragouin (countable and uncountable, plural baragouins)

  1. (countable) A pidgin.
    • 1888 April, Lafcadio Hearn, “Chita: A Memory of Last Island”, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, volume LXXVI, number CCCCLV, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, publishers, 327 to 335 Pearl Street, Franklin Square, OCLC 924884025, part III (The Shadow of the Tide), chapter V, page 764, column 1:
      She spoke the rude French of the fishing villages, where the language lives chiefly as a baragouin, mingled often with words and forms belonging to many other tongues.
    • 1888 September, Lafcadio Hearn, “A Midsummer Trip to the West Indies. [...] Third Paper.”, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, volume LXXVII, number CCCCLX, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, publishers, 327 to 335 Pearl Street, Franklin Square, OCLC 924884025, chapter XXX, pages 628–629:
      Now in almost every island the negro idiom is different. So often have some of the Antilles changed owners, moreover, that in them the negro has never been able to form a true patois. He had scarcely acquired some idea of the language of his first masters, when other rulers and another tongue were thrust upon him, and this may have occurred four or five times. The result is a baragouin that defies analysis, a totally incoherent agglomeration of speech forms, a bewildering medley, fantastic, astonishing, incomprehensible, almost weird.
    • 1908 May, “Rousseau in England [review of Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau in England (1908) by John Churton Collins]”, in The Bookman: A Monthly Journal for Bookreaders, Bookbuyers and Booksellers, volume XXXIV, number 200, London: Hodder and Stoughton, Warwick Square, E.C., OCLC 752348698, page 72:
      [Jean-Jacques] Rousseau remained contemptuously aloof and described the language of [John] Milton as a terrible baragouin, too rude for his polite ears to decipher.
    • 1994, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, “Introduction”, in Philosophy of Nonsense: The Intuitions of Victorian Nonsense Literature, London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN; republished Hoboken, N.J.: Taylor & Francis, 2012, →ISBN:
      In technical parlance, [Lewis] Carroll's coined language is neither laternois, the compulsive repetition of obsessional sounds which have nothing to do with a real tongue, and which one hears, for instance, is glossolalia, nor baragouin, the imitation of the sounds of another language, but charabia, the imitation of one's own language.
    • 1996, Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, volume 11, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, ISSN 1569-9870, OCLC 457245820, page 98:
      In order to avoid the potential for terminological confusion signaled above, I shall hereafter refer to the baragouin attributed to Caribs as Caribbean Pidgin French.
    • 2012, United Houma Nation with the support of Nicholas Faraclas [et al.], “Influences of Houma Ancestral Languages on Houma French: West Muskogean Features in Houma French”, in Nicholas Faraclas, editor, Agency in the Emergence of Creole Languages: The Role of Women, Renegades, and People of African and Indigenous Descent in the Emergence of the Colonial Era Creoles (Creole Language Library; 45), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, →ISBN, ISSN 0920-9026, section 2.4 (Colonialism and the Emergence of Baragouins from Indigenous Trade Languages), pages 191–192:
      [] European lexifier baragouins or pidgins developed for communication between indigenous peoples and Europeans. These baragouins normally initially consisted of words taken from European languages which were pronounced and used gramatically much as indigenous words had been used in the indigenous market/trade languages from which they developed. In other words these baragouins could be said to consist of a largely European lexicon plus largely indigenous morpho-syntax and phonology.
    1. (uncountable, specifically, historical) A pidgin spoken by French and First Nations people in the 17th century in the region of North America now called Montreal.
      • 1847, G[eorge] W[illiam] Featherstonhaugh, chapter XXI, in A Canoe Voyage up the Minnay Sotor; with an Account of the Lead and Copper Deposits in Wisconsin; of the Gold Region in the Cherokee County; and Sketches of Popular Manners; &c. &c. &c. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, publisher in ordinary to Her Majesty, OCLC 85809923, page 217:
        [T]he French he uttered was such a baragouin as would not be comprehended if it were put down on paper; []
      • 1985, Patrick C. Douaud, Ethnolinguistic Profile of the Canadian Métis (National Museum of Man, Mercury Series, Paper (Canadian Ethnology Service); no. 99), [Ottawa, Ont.]: National Museums of Canada, ISSN 0316-1854, OCLC 11956135, page 46:
        French and Cree have long been native languages to the Metis, and therefore are fully adapted to their traditional cultures. This situation is in marked contrast with the transitory code known as baragouin, a pidgin used by French and Indian groups in the Montreal region in the 17th century [].
      • 2006, Wendel Messer, “The Cry of ‘Mercanteria’”, in The Conquest of Canada: A Novel of Discovery, Champlain edition, Gravenhurst, Ont.: Breller Books, →ISBN, part IV (The Monks do Battle), page 224:
        "No one buy Claude his goods now," Cherou-ouny said. "Him think only skins. Too much hurry. Too much mercanteria!" / "What's wrong?" said Jean. / "It's baragouin, Jean, my boy. It means we're too forward in pushing our wares. Let's go back to our tent. Tomorrow we'll try again."
  2. (uncountable) Unintelligible speech; gibberish, jargon.
    • 1909, O. Henry [pseudonym; William Sydney Porter], Roads of Destiny, New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, OCLC 964583436; republished [Garden City, N.Y.]: Published by Doubleday, Page & Company for Review of Reviews Co., 1919, OCLC 80431312, page 16:
      I am sick of signals and ciphers and secret meetings and such baragouin.
    • 1979, Alice Fiola Berry, Rabelais, Homo Logos (North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures; 208), Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Department of Romance Languages, →ISBN, page 17:
      But the denser ambiguity springs from the three baragouins, fantastical languages, that are interspersed among the others. Their effect is to display the arbitrariness of linguistic convention, to show that all language, when looked at from the "outside," is baragouin.
    • 2004 May, Lois Kuter, “Breton – an Endangered Language of Europe”, in Bro Nevez: Newsletter of the U.S. Branch of the International Committee for the Defense of the Breton Language[1], number 90, [Plymouth Meeting, Pa.]: U.S. Branch of the International Committee for the Defense of the Breton Language, ISSN 0895-3074, OCLC 14139109, archived from the original on 10 October 2017:
      French people of any social standing looked at the Breton language as baragouin. It was (and still is) very easy for Bretons to get the idea that Breton is a “little language” of the “past,” not worth the effort of learning.


  • baragouin” in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.



From the Breton words bara (bread) and gwin (wine) or gwin, from Latin vīnum. The contemptuous word dates back to the Middle Ages, first attested in 1396, the year of the marriage of John VI, Duke of Brittany with Joan of France.



baragouin m (plural baragouins)

  1. gibberish (unintelligible speech or writing)

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