beau sabreur

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Borrowing from French beau (handsome) sabreur (swordsman), originally applied as a nickname of Napoleon's brother-in-law Joachim Murat (1767-1815) (see Scott quotation).



beau sabreur (plural beaux sabreurs)

  1. A gallant warrior; a handsome or dashing adventurer.
    • 1817, Anon., The Edinburgh Annual Register for 1815, page 198:
      At the last fatal moment he behaved with the courage to be expected from Le beau sabreur, placed on his breast a picture of his wife, refused to have his eyes bandaged, or to use a seat, and received six balls in his head, and fell without a groan.
    • 1827, Sir Walter Scott, The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, page 703:
      Murat met his fate as became le beau sabreur. He fastened his wife's picture on his breast, refused to have his eyes bandaged, or to use a seat, received six balls through his heart, and met the death he had braved with impunity in the thick of many conflicts, and sought in vain in many others.
    • 1886 November, Thomas Carlyle, “Field-Marshal Viscount Combermere”, in Fraser's Magazine, volume LXXIV, number CCCCXLIII, page 572:
      Resembling Murat in personal enterprise and fearlessness, he also resembled that prince of beaux sabreurs in carrying his love of dress into the very field of battle.
    • No longer was she that beau sabreur of suffrage brandishing her sword—for the sheath had outlived the sword as doubtless ... the body had outlived the soul.
      Contextual note: In the source, "she" is frequently described with masculine language ("She was a man of the world.") No inference regarding gender-neutrality of beau sabreur can be made.
    • 2009, John Sadler, Glencoe, Amberley 2009, p. 66:
      Kneller's portrait shows a handsome, even slightly effeminate young man, arrogant, perhaps petulant, but for many, the ideal beau sabreur.

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