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cherchez la femme

[sher-shey la-fam] /ʃɛrˈʃeɪ laˈfam/
French.
1.
look for the woman: advice offered facetiously in any situation, especially one of doubt or mystery.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cherchez la femme
Historical Examples
  • I dare say that wasn't all of it—might have been cherchez la femme, don't you think?

    The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington
  • It is sometimes just as poignant to say, 'Cherchez l'homme' as, 'cherchez la femme.'

    The Rhodesian

    Gertrude Page
  • They drink in order to say or do something or cherchez la femme.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • In reply I can only quote the old saying, cherchez la femme.

    Glories of Spain Charles W. Wood
  • Oh, yes, Prescott sniffed; distrust the obvious is as hackneyed a phrase as cherchez la femme!

    The Luminous Face Carolyn Wells
  • This is not a cherchez la femme story, so we will leave the lady's name out of it altogether.

    A Little Book of Christmas John Kendrick Bangs
  • Win was instantly sure that here was the man in the case; now, cherchez la femme!

    Winnie Childs C. N. Williamson
  • Someone has said that "cherchez la femme" is written over every phase of Parisian life, and the thing is true.

    In Vanity Fair

    Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd
  • But when a man acts with apparently inexplicable foolishness, it is generally safe to say, "cherchez la femme!"

  • cherchez la femme,” one comic paper had the audacity to remark, propos l'affaire Svensen and Burnley.

    Mystery at Geneva Rose Macaulay
Word Origin and History for cherchez la femme

French, literally "seek the woman," on the notion that a woman is the cause for whatever crime has been committed, first used by Alexandre Dumas père in "Les Mohicans de Paris" (1864) in the form cherchons la femme. French chercher is from Latin circare, in Late Latin "to wander hither and thither," from circus "circle" (see circus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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