I was listening to a podcast of On refait le monde, a French radio programme on RTL involving several journalists who discuss current affairs, when I heard Géraldine Mullmann say the following: "Nicolas Sarkozy et ses sbires voudraient nous faire croire que la loi de 1905 est une loi intouchable" (Nicolas Sarkozy and his henchmen would like us to believe that the 1905 law is untouchable). The very derogatory word sbire caught my attention and I thought I’d check out its origins.
Sbire (masculine noun), Henchman
1. Name of police archers in Rome and several countries.
2. By extension and pejoratively, man in charge of carrying out legal and police work, henchman.
Origin: Spanish Esbirro, from Italian sbirro and birro, which would come from Latin birrum, meaning ginger hooded cape, probably because of the jackets worn by the sbirro.
Question: what French symbol also comes from birrum?