Definition of chanson de geste in English:

chanson de geste


  • A medieval French historical verse romance.

    • ‘The chansons de gestes, from the 12th century onwards, regularly depict the peacock as top bird for the banquet table.’
    • ‘Of the three groups of French chansons de geste concerned with Charlemagne, only the first, the geste du roi, is represented in English, in such romances as Otuel, Sir Ferumbras, and The Sege of Melayne.’
    • ‘Much of the early evidence derives from literary sources, such as the chansons de geste.’
    • ‘The early chansons de geste were works notorious for their martial austerity, and were largely devoid of whimsy, extravagant invention, or any trace of romantic love.’
    • ‘In a continental redaction of the chanson de geste devoted to the English hero Bevis of Hampton-Bueve de Hantone in Old French-we find the term still used in the precise sense of port side.’


French, literally ‘song of heroic deeds’, from chanson ‘song’ (see chanson) and geste from Latin gesta ‘actions, exploits’, from gerere ‘perform’.


chanson de geste

/ʃɑ̃sɔ̃də ʒɛst//ˌʃɒ̃sɒ̃ də ˈʒɛst/