carte blanche



Borrowing from French carte blanche, referring to a blank or white card.


  • enPR: kärt-blänsh, IPA(key): /kɑɹtˈblɑnʃ/


carte blanche ‎(plural cartes blanches)

  1. Unlimited discretionary power to act; unrestricted authority.
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterI:
      “[…] But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic ? [] Does your carte blanche run so far as that also ?”
    • 2012 May 15, Scott Tobias, “Film: Reviews: The Dictator”, The Onion AV Club:
      Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles have indeed retreated with The Dictator, but they’ve gone back 80 years, when the Marx Brothers were given carte blanche at Paramount Pictures with a five-movie run that ended with their best movie, 1933’s Duck Soup.
    • 2001, Oliver Sacks, Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood, Alfred A. Knopf (2001), 15,
      Indeed, I later learned that when they had bought the place, in 1930, they had given my father's older sister Lina their checkbook, carte blanche, saying, "Do what you want, get what you want.




carte blanche

  1. As an undifferentiated mass, without regard to distinctions; willy-nilly. (Possibly from confusion with another French phrase, en masse.)
    • 2007, Gordon J. Hilsman, Intimate Spirituality: The Catholic Way of Love and Sex (ISBN 1461635535), page 114:
      Can gay and lesbian people in justice be excluded carte blanche from the sacrament of sexual love sharing, let alone from church membership or leadership?
    • 2014, Robert J. Lake, A Social History of Tennis in Britain (ISBN 131760573X):
      The mass production of tennis equipment made it more affordable, such that blue-collar workers were no longer excluded carte blanche as before the war (Birley 1995b).



carte blanche f ‎(plural cartes blanches)

  1. carte blanche (unlimited discretionary power to act; unrestricted authority)
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