The saying bete noir might be heard frequently during an English conversation but its meaning may not be clear. In this article, we are going to take a look at the meaning of the term bete noir as well as learning how it can work in a conversation. We are also going to find out where the phrase originates from.
Bete Noir Meaning
The phrase bete noir refers to someone or something which you avoid at all costs.
Origin of this useful idiomatic phrase
The origin of the saying bete noir can be found in the French language, in which the term means black beast. The English use became popular after being used in a piece of writing by William Thackeray.
“Bete Noir” Examples
Examples in Statements
We are now going to see some examples of how the term bete noir can be used within a sentence.
The first is a statement being made by someone trying to express how much they detest spiders.
- I will do anything to avoid being in the same room as a spider, they are truly my bete noir.
The next sentence is one which is being said by a mother about her child.
- My daughter loves the water, but I am terrified of her drowning, swimming pools are a bete noir when it comes to my child.
You are likely to hear the term bete noir being used in day to day conversation and to fully understand its use it is important to look at some examples of this.
The first conversation is taking place between two friends.
- Person 1: “Shall we go and see Ian this weekend?”
- Person 2: “Not, he drives me crazy, I do not want to see him.”
- Person 1: “It sounds like he is a bete noir for you.”
The next conversation is happening between two work colleagues.
- Person 1: “I think it’s Mike’s turn to do the coffee run.”
- Person 2: “He won’t do that, he absolutely can’t stand it.”
- Person 1: “I don’t care if it’s his bete noir, he has to do it.”
Other Ways to Say the Idiom
There are other ways in which you can express the meaning of the term bete noir.
Let’s take a look at how you might do this.
- Something to be avoided
- An irritation