Definition of chanson de geste in English:

chanson de geste


  • A medieval historical romance in French verse, typically one connected with Charlemagne.

    • ‘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 chansons de gestes, from the 12th century onwards, regularly depict the peacock as top bird for the banquet table.’
    • ‘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.’


Mid 19th century: French, literally song of heroic deeds from chanson song (see chanson) and geste from Latin gesta actions, exploits.


chanson de geste

/SHänˌsôn də ˈZHest/