Definition of enfant terrible in English:

enfant terrible


  • A person who behaves in an unconventional or controversial way.

    ‘the enfant terrible of contemporary art’
    • ‘They were the triumphal enfant terrible of the UK's post-punk, independent music scene.’
    • ‘He made his début as a pianist in 1908, quickly creating something of a sensation as an enfant terrible, unintelligible and ultra-modern - apparently an image he was happy to cultivate.’
    • ‘The best-known works from the end of his career are the texts he wrote for a number of composers ranked among the enfants terribles of the inter-war years.’
    • ‘The 39-year-old looks more like an accountant than the enfant terrible of contemporary Hollywood cinema.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, the enfant terrible was affected deeply by the criticism, writing in his memoirs: ‘This is perhaps the first time it appeared to me that I might be destined to be a second-rate composer.’’
    • ‘The Art Gallery of Calgary's Basement Show also runs through August, marking a reunion for this group of artists, who were touted as enfants terribles in 1985 after graduating from Vancouver's Emily Carr Institute.’
    • ‘Instead of treating me as an enfant terrible they nurtured me along.’
    • ‘The American concert pianist and composer made his mark in Paris in the 1920's as a genuine enfant terrible, courting controversy and working hard for his notoriety.’
    • ‘And what of working with Stone himself, the enfant terrible who seems to thrive on provocation?’
    • ‘Though he was just beginning his teaching career, Barth was, at the time, already something of a controversial celebrity, an enfant terrible among European theologians.’
    • ‘She was an enfant terrible who didn't care what people thought.’
    • ‘A new management style was called for: some men in suits to replace the enfants terribles.’
    • ‘But the enfant terrible of German soccer, who is back in the headlines because of the amorous exploits he describes in his new memoirs ‘I Showed Them All’, is unrepentant.’
    • ‘I think he is too unassuming, too polite and too well behaved for a champion, and in the era of flamboyant enfants terribles strutting across the tennis courts, he appears to have descended from another planet.’
    • ‘The enfant terrible of the British art scene raised a cool £11m last week by selling off a load of old restaurant fittings.’
    • ‘The enfant terrible of the symbolist movement, he wrote some of the 19th century's most visionary and influential poetry and prose before abandoning writing at the age of 19.’
    • ‘I'm getting rather too old to be an enfant terrible!’
    • ‘This has earned him a reputation in the business press and among policy elites as an enfant terrible inclined to stir up trouble wherever he goes.’
    • ‘He was an enfant terrible of culinary art, impossibly difficult to work for, fastidious about his creations and possessing a volcanic temper and savage tongue.’
    • ‘Smith is the enfant terrible of UK stockbroking - revered and feared in equal measure.’


French, literally terrible child.


enfant terrible

/ˌɒ̃fɒ̃ tɛˈriːbl(ə)/