Who is Tonton? Who is le petit Nicolas? And what is a raffarinade? Or an éléphant (on the political scene)? What do these terms, that one may read in the French press, mean, and where do they come from? Hint: they refer to political characters.
Tonton = François Mitterrand, so called because it was his code name during the second world war according to some sources, but there are other explanations.
Le petit Nicolas = Nicolas Sarkozy, in reference to Goscinny’s character (probably because Sarkozy is quite short).
Raffarinade = similar to Bushisms, "cryptic" phrases by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, prime minister between 2002 and 2005. My favourite: "L’eau tiède n’est ni chaude, ni froide." (lukewarm water is neither hot nor cold).
Éléphant = influential old members of the socialist party who have been around for a long, long time.