Having a look at wiki's page about Nordic noir genre, I realised that this same word 'noir' is used in many other languages (even in for ex. Farsi with نوآر).
Someone has an idea why this word has migrated to other languages to express this meaning ?


  • All this perspiration is making me sweat something terrible. Sep 23, 2020 at 20:45

1 Answer 1


The French word ‘noir’ means ‘black’ and it is used in the names of art genres which are characterized by their dark atmosphere. Historically, the first such genre to which ‘noir’ was applied was film noir. The term ‘film noir’ was coined in 1946 by Nino Frank, a French film critic and writer, in an article about a group of American drama films that were shown in French theaters in the summer of 1946: John Huston's “The Maltese Falcon”, Otto Preminger’s “Laura”, Edward Dmytryk’s “Murder, My Sweet”, Billy Wilder’s “Double Indemnity”, and Fritz Lang's “The Woman in the Window”. The term ‘film noir’ meaning films characterized by low-key lighting, a bleak urban setting, and corrupt, cynical or desperate characters became very popular and was adopted into other languages, either in its French form (Greek φιλμ νουάρ - film nuár, Bulgarian филм ноар - film noar) or calqued (Turkish kara film “black film”, Spanish “cine negro”). Later, the ‘noir’ part of the term was used to coin names for other art genres with a similar dark atmosphere and settings: neo-noir and tech-noir which are film genres, folk noir which is a music genre, and noir fiction literature with Scandinavian noir a.k.a Nordic noir as a sub-genre. The names of all these noir genres in each respective language have the same (either borrowed or calqued) realization of French ‘noir’ as what the language has in its ‘film noir’ term. Nino Frank's 1946 phrase ‘film noir’ spread the French word ‘noir’ across the globe and gave rise to a whole new cluster of terms for art genres with dark atmosphere.

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