• Paul Anthony Jones

Après moi, le déluge

(phr.) expressing an irresponsible or selfish lack of concern for what occurs after you have gone

A flooded road with a roadsign, origin of apres moi le deluge

The French phrase après moi, le déluge is used in English to express a lack of concern for what happens after you’ve gone. And given all the #ExtinctionRebellion climate change protests that have been going on in London these past few weeks, it’s perhaps no surprise that this expression did the rounds again on the HH Twitter feed again today, more than a year after we first posted it:

Often used with connotations of selfishness or irresponsibility, après moi le déluge is popularly said to be a male equivalent of “let them eat cake.”

It’s credited (somewhat apocryphally) to the French king Louis XV, who repeatedly disregarded warnings of discontent among the French people in the lead up to the French Revolution. When the Revolution finally broke out in 1789—fifteen years after Louis’s death—it eventually led to the execution of his grandson, Louis XVI, in 1793.

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