Carte Blanche

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Carte Blanche : Phrases


Having free rein to choose whatever course of action you want.


From the French, meaning 'white (or blank) paper' - the military term for surrender. The term was previously 'charte blanche'.

It is first recorded by Raby in 1707 (reprinted in the Hearne Collection, 1886):

"Who sent Chart Blanch to make a Peace."

Soon after that we have a citation that gives a clearer understanding of the meaning - from Joseph Addison in The Spectator, 1712:

"I threw her a Charte Blanche, as our News Papers call it, desiring her to write upon it her own Terms."

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