Definition of bien pensant in English:

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bien pensant

Pronunciation: /ˌbjã pɒ̃ˈsɒ̃/
Pronunciation: /bjɛ̃ pɑ̃sɑ̃/


Conventional or orthodox in attitude.
Example sentences
  • Her blinkered bien pensant attitudinising excluded any consideration of his uncooperative response to such police methods as ‘Come along now, sir, there's a good gentleman ’, when being taken into custody.
  • The average person has more sense, and more moral awareness, than to want to create this kind of situation - which is good for no one - out of a wish to strike bien pensant attitudes.
  • He largely takes it for granted that we all know and endorse those standards, and perhaps this assumption is not far wrong for the bien pensant academic audience at which the book is primarily aimed.


A conventional or orthodox person.
Example sentences
  • Will the bien-pensants of Whitehall, hand in glove as they are with legalisers dressed up as ‘harm reductionists’, ever grasp this?
  • Furthermore, he has occasionally appalled the Parisian bien-pensants by endorsing the opinions of his heroes.
  • They're fed up of being on the losing side in the world, of being lectured by all the bien-pensants, too.


French, from bien 'well' + pensant, present participle of penser 'think'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bien pen|sant

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