enfant terrible or enfants terribles

French expression which literally means "terrible child"; enfant child. It is used in a negative way about a person, not necessarily a child but rather an adept or newcomer, whose behavior in some ways is shocking and disturbing. Commonly used in the arts, where it has a quite positive meaning, describing a person who is unconventional and avant-garde, with new ideas and manners. The expression has been in the Oxford English Dictonary since 1851

Example: "<dannye> I had to delete the whole user account. That newbie was such an enfant terrible. ", Not so good of an example perhaps, but how about "Jean-Paul Gaultier, the enfant terrible of haute-couture."

This is an entry in the mini series about French idioms in the English language.

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