Friday, September 6, 2013

cold revenge

One more scavenger hunt for a phrase related to Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, having earlier rummaged around for "grapes of wrath" and "peel me a grape"––
 KHAN: "Kirk, old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb, Revenge is a dish best served cold?"
In film history, seems the sentiment first turns up in this classic:
  "Revenge is a dish which people of taste prefer to eat cold."

Someone else went hunting for the origin of the phrase and reports a funny misidentification:

The 'Nets confidently report that 'revenge is a dish best served cold' is a translation of the line "La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froide" from Choderlos de Laclos's  1782 novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses ("Dangerous Liasons"--there are several movie versions). 

As that text doesn't appear in the novel, or any other work by de Laclos, the story appears to be a piece of impressively industrious folk etymology - not only a made up source, but made up in French [...and I understand from French corresponents that the 'froide' should be 'froid' - not a mistake that de Laclos might have made]. 

So... seems it's a common saying, in general use, with no one literary source. 

Bonus: Sheldon quoting the original Klingon on the Big Bang Theory:


Zhoen said...

A proverb, then. Found this, which is only slightly interesting,

Fresca said...

Thanks, ZHOEN, for that more than "slightly" interesting (to me) article about fictional linguistics!