En vedette

mardi 14 juin 2011

Expressions of the week: Russian roulette, French roulette and Chatroulette

Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie. Une traduction en français sera publiée prochainement sur ce blog.

The word Roulette entered English in 1734 from the French term for a little wheel, which in turn derives from the Old French diminutive “roelete”. The French word is not always translated as “roulette” in English: in industry it is translated as caster (lit a roulettes = bed on casters), in dentistry it is a drill, in cooking it is a pastry wheel, in sewing it is a tracing wheel and in bookbinding it is a fillet. In English the word roulette itself is used as a technical term in various fields, e.g. a small wheel with sharp teeth, used for making lines of marks or perforations. The best known use of roulette in English is in the sense of “a gambling game in which players bet on which compartment of a revolving wheel a small ball will come to rest in.” By extension, it is used metaphorically to refer to anything involving a high degree of chance and unpredictability.” (Merriam Webster Online Dictionary). (Another word adopted from French by casinos is croupier, the person who collects and pays bets at the gambling table.)

Russian Roulette

“Russian Roulette” is a dangerous game in which participants place a single round in a revolver, spin the cylinder, place the muzzle against their head and pull the trigger. "Russian" refers to the supposed country of origin, and “roulette to the element of risk-taking, while the spinning of the revolver's cylinder suggests the spinning of a roulette wheel – both elements of casino gambling.

Deadly game: A man in South Bend, Indiana, died after playing Russian Roulette with his dog. His wife said he had been depressed

In the following video clip a man plays Russian Roulette with a woman. Each time he takes a shot she takes off a piece of clothing. This man does not know when to quit.

In Indiana, USA, a man played Russian Roulette with his dog. He aimed one or two empty clicks at the dog's head and then turned the gun on himself. The next shot was fatal.

French Roulette:

French Roulette  is a casino gambling game, similar to the game played in most casinos, but  with  special features that, it is claimed, make it distinct from — and in some ways, superior to — the other roulette variations.


This word, created by combining “chat” and “roulette”, is the name of a website that pairs random strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations. A visitor to the website randomly begins an online chat (video, audio and text) with another visitor. At any point, either of the participants may leave the current chat by pressing a “next” button and initiating another random connection.

Chatroulette was created in 2009 by a Russian boy, Andrey Ternovsiy, 17 years old at the time, who ran the site from his bedroom, assisted by four programmers working remotely. The site was supported through advertising links to an online dating service.

robrich > Andrey  Ternovskiy
photo by Rob Rich © 2010 robwayne1@aol.com 516-676-3939

Andrey Ternovskiy, the creator  of Chatroulette
Photo by Rob Rich ©

According to one informal study published in March 2010, nearly half of all Chatroulette spins connected a user with someone in the USA, while the next most likely country was France with 15%. (Wikipedia)

To end on a musical note, the following video clip shows Bruce Springsteen singing and playing “Roulette”.



Chatroulette’s Creator, 17, Introduces Himself, New York Times, February 113, 2010

New York Times, February 5, 2010

Chatroulette (English) – Wikipedia

Chatroulette (français) – Wikipedia

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