Enfant terrible

For the African mythological tale, see enfant terrible (folklore).

Enfant terrible (/ˌɒ̃fɒ̃ tɛˈrbl/; French pronunciation: [ɑ̃fɑ̃ tɛʁibl]; English: "unruly child") is a French expression, traditionally referring to a child who is terrifyingly candid by saying embarrassing things to parents or others.[1][2] However, the expression has drawn multiple usage in careers of art, fashion, music, and other creative arts. In these careers, it implies a successful "genius" who is very unorthodox, striking, and in some cases, offensive, or rebellious.[3]

The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, gives the definition: "A child who embarrasses his elders by untimely remarks; transf. a person who compromises his associates or his party by unorthodox or ill-considered speech or behaviour; loosely, one who acts unconventionally."

Webster's Dictionary also defines an enfant terrible as an unusually successful person who is strikingly unorthodox, innovative, and/or avant-garde.

See also


  1. "'enfant terrible". /dictionary.reverso.net. Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. "enfant%20terrible". www.wordreference.com. Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. "enfant terrible". translation.babylon.com. Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

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