Definition of pétanque in US English:



  • A lawn game similar to boules, played chiefly in Provence.

    • ‘The image of Gitanes-puffing, beret-clad Monsieurs enjoying a game of pétanque in the Provençal sunshine is about as idiosyncratically-French as it gets.’
    • ‘Offering five-star facilities that include tennis courts, bowling greens, volleyball and pétanque among others, this family-owned establishment sits handily in the very heart of Paphos.’
    • ‘It is an ancient sport: two balls and a jack were discovered in the tomb of an Egyptian prince from around 5200 BC, and further archaeological evidence suggests that a form of pétanque was being pursued well before then.’
    • ‘Close to the hotel there is the Place des Lices, where the village men still play pétanque each afternoon.’
    • ‘During our lunch we try a game of pétanque with some stones that were lying around.’


French, from Provençal pèd tanco, literally ‘foot fixed (to the ground)’, describing the start position.