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What is the meaning of ‘touché’?

(Maria Anjani, Chennai)

First, let’s deal with the pronunciation of this word. The ‘ou’ in the first syllable is like ‘oo’ in ‘cool’, ‘pool’, and ‘fool’, while the following ‘ch’ sounds like the ‘sh’ in ‘ship’ and ‘sheep’. The final ‘e’ is pronounced like the ‘ay’ in ‘say’ and ‘bay’. The word is pronounced ‘too-shay’ with the stress on the second syllable. This is one way of pronouncing the word.

‘Touché’ is a word of French origin, and it is mainly used in the sport of fencing. It comes from the Old French ‘touchier’ meaning ‘to hit’. When two people are fencing (fighting with swords), and one of them scores a hit, he immediately shouts ‘touché’, meaning that he has scored a point.

Nowadays, the exclamation is used in everyday contexts as well. When you are arguing with someone and the individual makes a good point against you, you can say ‘touché’; by doing so, you are acknowledging that he has scored a point against you.

*You are saying that if he really loved me, he wouldn’t be asking for dowry. Touché!

S. UPENDRAN

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