Trier sur le volet

I just had to translate "our staff are handpicked" and the expression triés sur le volet (literally, "sorted on the shutter") immediately came to mind. Where does it come from? Expressio tells us that

In the Middle Ages, a "volet" was a piece of material so fine that it "voletait" (fluttered) in the wind. It was used, among other things, to make sieves used to sort seeds; by extension, these sieves were called "volets".
This word survived and in the 15th century, a "volet" was the wooden plate used by women to sort peas and beans.

By | 2008-12-01T12:09:26+00:00 December 1st, 2008|Idioms|1 Comment

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.

One Comment

  1. Nathalie Reis December 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Merci pour ce site Internet qui m’a l’air bien utile et qui devrait répondre à certaines uqestions que je me pose sur l’origine d’expressons françaises.

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