Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

French Motto

Meaning  Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (brotherhood)
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French sound files [lee behr tay ay gah lee tay frah tehr nee tay]
IPA [li bɛʁ te e ga li te fra tɛʁ ni te]

Usage notes: There were several contenders to the "motto of France" throne that arose during the French Revolution, but in 1958 Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité finally beat them all: it was added to the French constitution and became official – learn more.

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Alyce LaGassé Photography
Portland, Oregon

The French don’t normally walk around proclaiming Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité; it’s more of a written expression. You’ll find it on governmental letterhead and other official documents, stamped onto coins, and carved onto the pediments of public buildings. Some say it should be modified to include a fourth beloved aspect of French culture:

Liberté, égalité, fraternité, laïcité

Liberté, égalité, fraternité is often adapted for issues and causes, by both demonstrators and the media. For example:

  • Liberté, égalité, frugalité  (money issues)
  • Liberté, égalité, gratuité  (free public transit)
  • Liberté, égalité, maternité  (issues related to motherhood)
  • Liberté, égalité, paternité  (paternity leave, LGBT adoption rights…)
  • Liberté, égalité, solidarité  (inclusivity)
  • Liberté, égalité, sororité  (women in male-dominated fields)
  • Liberté, inégalité, fraternité  (varied issues)
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
(click for full size)  by Laura K. Lawless

In 2007, presidential candidate Ségolène Royal’s linguistic invention (or gaffe, some say) bravitude inspired the derisory Libertude, égalitude, fraternitude.

 French patriotism

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3 Responses

  1. Abra 5 June 2014 / 12:40

    Wait, you forgot the most French thing of all – Liberté, Fraternité, Patienter !

    • Wilma 13 June 2017 / 8:34

      Ou de France 24 – Liberté, Égalité, Actualité

  2. Rostislav 4 June 2014 / 11:58

    Je vous remercie de tout mon coeur!