Where can you run into stars?

croiserIn a typical weekend in Paris, I don’t speak to a single person other than (a) anyone that I might call on the telephone, or (b) waiters and sales clerks.  Even during the work week, if my office mate and my host don’t come in and no one has lunch with me, I might not speak to anyone all day.  So, the word that I learnt over lunch today seems quite apropos.

I’ve run across the verb croiser in a couple of senses in the past.  One of the senses is “to cross,” e.g. crossing a street, as well as crossing one’s legs or folding one’s arms.  In biology, it can refer to crossing in the sense of hybridization.  I’ve also heard it used in a technical context of machine learning for natural language processing as validation croisée , in the context of what we call in English “cross-validation.”

The meaning that I ran into today shows up when the object of the verb is a person.  In this case, it means “to run into or bump into someone.”  So, the picture of a magazine cover in this post reads “Where can you run into stars?” I was at lunch with some co-workers when one of them mentioned that she had been in the lab on Saturday and had only croiser‘d two people.  So glad that I croiser‘d those coworkers at lunch, since that meant that I actually got to talk to someone today!  However, when I asked my coworker, she said that I can’t say that I croiser’d a new word sense–it has to be a person.

Update, July 2nd, 2015: there will be a segment on the news channel that I watch tonight titled Ils ont croisé les terroristes, about people who in one way or another crossed the paths of various and sundry perpetrators of recent terrorist attacks in France.

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