L’état, C’est Moi – Origin & Meaning in English

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

I just love how French has given English so many phrases and expressions that we’ve kept the same and worked into our everyday speech. One that comes to my mind is létat, c’est moi because it’s got a cool history.

We use it to describe situations where someone holds impressive power or control. There’s a lot to say about this phrase, so I’m going to lay out the meaning of l’état, c’est moi, with details on the history and how to pronounce it.

C’est Moi Meaning in English

Letat Cest Moi Origin Meaning in English

“C’est moi” is a French expression taken into English as a loan phrase, and it basically translates to “It’s me” or “It is I” in English. As a loanword or phrase, it’s not super popular, but we occasionally use it in certain conversations and even some literature.

  • C’est Moi, Candace, and I am here to explain what c’est moi means!

What Does L’etat, C’est Moi Mean in English?

The phrase “l’etat, c’est moi” is taken from the French language, and it loosely translates to “The state, it is I” or “I am the state” or “I, myself, am the nation” in English, which doesn’t really make sense at first.

We use it to share the idea that a ruler or leader embodies the power and authority of the state, and their decisions and actions are aligned with the state’s interests.

In more modern contexts, you can use the phrase to metaphorically describe a person who holds a crazy amount of control or influence in an organization or some sort of institution.

Origin of L’etat, C’est Moi Phrase

“L’etat, c’est moi” is a phrase often linked to King Louis XIV of France, who ruled from the mid-1600s to the early 1700s. Louis XIV was well known for his belief in the absolute right of kings and the efforts he made to centralize and strengthen the monarchy’s power.

But there’s no historical evidence that Louis XIV actually uttered these exact words. The phrase was eventually popularized by writers and historians to encompass the king’s absolutist ideals and methods.

L’etat, C’est Moi Pronunciation

The phrase “L’etat, c’est moi” is pronounced as leta-say-mwa.

Is There an English Version of L’etat, C’est Moi?

So, get this. There isn’t an exact English equivalent to the phrase “L’etat, c’est moi,” but I promise you can use several expressions and idioms to convey a similar meaning.

  • Absolute power
  • Autocrat
  • One-man rule
  • Unquestioned authority
  • The embodiment of the state

L’etat, C’est Moi Examples in a Sentence

Letat Cest Moi Origin Meaning in English 1
  • The tech CEO’s management style was much like l’état, c’est moi because he made many important decisions without consulting the team.
  • When a certain dictator declared, “L’etat, c’est moi,” it became pretty dang clear the country was under the control of a single individual and not the government of the people.
  • The head of the organization my dad works for rules with an iron fist. He says that l’état, c’est moi, and that his word was law.
  • In the book I’m currently reading, the protagonist views himself as the embodiment of his community and reflects on the idea of l’état, c’est moi.

The Bottom Line

Understanding the meaning and historical context of phrases like “l’etat, c’est moi” can help you appreciate the significance of historical and contemporary discussions of power and authority. Now you’ve got the details on this phrase, go ahead and use it!

Check out some other phrases we covered: