What does "bel ami" mean in English?

Answer

The literal translation of the French phrase "bel ami" is "fine friend" or "handsome friend." However, it is commonly used as a negative term in reference to Guy De Maupassant's novel "Bel Ami," meaning scoundrel.

De Maupassant's novel "Bel Ami" is about a young journalist, Georges Duroy, who climbs his way to the top of the newspaper industry while carrying on multiple affairs. The novel has been adapted to film several times. The most recent film adaptation was in 2012 and stars Robert Pattinson as the main character. He is given the nickname "Bel Ami," which translates roughly into "hot airhead," according to Time.

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