gamine & eminence grise

gamine gam-EEN; GAM-een, noun:
1. A girl who wanders about the streets; an urchin.

2. A playfully mischievous girl or young woman.

Gamine comes from the French. A boy who wanders about the street is a gamin GAM-in.

eminence grise ay-mee-nahns GREEZ noun, also, gray eminence
plural eminences grises ay-mee-nahns GREEZ

One who wields unofficial power, often secretly, through someone else.

From French éminence grise, literally gray eminence.

Clothes Make the Man. So goes an old saying. While we know it is what is inside that really counts, there is a grain of truth in the statement. And in many cases, it is the distinctive clothes that turn out to be defining marks of some. We all are familiar with redcoats (British soldiers) and blue stockings (women with intellectual interests). This term provides another example where clothes are used as a symbol for a particular type of people.

Francois Leclerc du Tremblay, aka Pére Joseph (1577-1638) was a French monk and secretary of Cardinal Richelieu. However, the monk was more than just a secretary. He was the Cardinal’s confidant who governed the diplomatic negotiations on his behalf and encouraged French participation against Protestant forces in the Thirty Years’ War. The Cardinal wore a red habit and was known as Eminence Rouge. The monk, on the other hand, went with a gray shade, and accordingly, his title became synonymous with people exercising unofficial influence.

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