Reference > The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy > 4. Idioms
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  The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.  2002.
 
raison d’être
 
 
(ray-zohnn DET-ruh) A basic, essential purpose; a reason to exist: “Professor Naylor argues that in the nuclear age, infantry forces have lost their raison d’être.” From French, meaning “reason for being.”  1
 
 
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Edited by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil. Copyright © 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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