Every day in "Historically yours", Stéphane Bern tells the origin of a French expression.

Why say of a person with a strong ego that they have swollen ankles, he wonders Wednesday.

This phrase dates back either to the Greek myth of Oedipus, or to the court of Louis XIV. 

What is the relationship between the size of the ego and the size of the ankles?

None from a scientific point of view, proportional from a linguistic point of view.

Wednesday in "Historically yours" on Europe 1, Stéphane Bern tells the origin of the expression "to have swollen ankles".

According to some, it dates back to the myth of Oedipus, according to others to the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. 

The expression comes from Oedipus, the very one who killed his father and played the beast with two backs with his mother.

The boy was known to have an oversized ego.

When he kills the sphinx, he does not have the modest triumph: "Coming without knowing anything, I silenced him by my strength of mind", he declares.

And it turns out that in Greek, Oedipus literally means "swollen foot".

He had received this name because he was born with a deformed foot, but the expression would have stuck.

A boast of courtiers

Another explanation can be the link between enlarging ankles and the swelling ego.

At the time of Louis XIV, certain courtiers obtained permission to wear red heels in their shoes to imitate their sovereign.

In order for everyone to notice this royal distinction, they used to make the top of their shoes wider, so much so that their ankles looked swollen.

>> Find all the shows of Matthieu Noël and Stéphane Bern every day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Europe 1 as well as in replay and podcast here

"Talented but pretentious people have no other resources than to deny real talent," writes Chekhov in

The Seagulls


Let's keep this in mind the next time an imbalance tries to put us down.