Inquiring Minds - Bourre?

French Playground by PutamayoEvery week, librarian Judy Woodward compiles the most interesting reference questions and sends them to the Roseville Review. Here's this week's query:

Q. What is bourré?

A.  Bourré  (pronounced boo-ray) is a card game popular among the French-speaking regions of Louisiana.  Similar to the games of Spades or Euchre, it’s almost always played for money.  The task in Bourré is to take most of the tricks of a hand and thereby win the pot.  Failing that, the player must strive to avoid a bourré,” which is defined as taking no tricks at all.

Bourré is not to be confused with its close cousin of a word “bourrée.”  When spelled with two final ee’s, the word refers to an old French folk dance, which was sometimes used as a musical form, most famously by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Both Bourré and bourrée are derived from a French verb, bourrer, which means “to stuff” or “to cram,”  as in filling a pipe or ramming a charge home in a rifle.  It’s not clear how so many and such different meanings arise from the same French root.  (New Cassell’s French  Dictionary and Internet Resources.)


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