Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary
The Philosophical Dictionary
Selected and Translated by H.I. Woolf
New York: Knopf, 1924
Scanned by the Hanover College Department of History in 1995.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.
Bouleverd or Boulevart
BOULEVART, fortification, rampart. Belgrade is the boulevart of the
Ottoman Empire on the Hungarian side. Who would believe that this word
originally signified only a game of bowls? The people of Paris played bowls
on the grass of the rampart; this grass was called the verd, like
the grass market. On boulait sur le verd. From there it comes that
the English, whose language is a copy of ours in almost all the words which
are not Saxon, have called the game of bowls "bowling-green," the verd
(green) of the game of bowls. We have taken back from them what we had
lent them. Following their example, we gave the name of boulingrins,
without knowing the strength of the word, to the grass-plots we introduced
into our gardens.
I once heard two good dames who were going for a walk on the Bouleverd,
and not on the Boulevart. People laughed at them, and wrongly. But
in all matters custom carries the day; and everyone who is right against
custom is hissed or condemned.
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