Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one's ambitions or capabilities.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from past participle of manquer, to fail, from Old French, from Old Italian mancare, from manco, lacking, from Latin mancus, maimed, infirm; see man- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Existing in English from the eighteenth century: from French manqué, past participle form of manquer ("to lack, to be lacking in").

Examples

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  • "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it."

    Terry, On the Waterfront

    November 29, 2007

  • Ha! Great example, John!

    November 29, 2007

  • "At first, I planned to take a degree in psychiatry as many manqué talents do; but I was even more manqué than that; a peculiar exhaustion, I am so oppressed, doctor, set in; and I switched to English literature, where so many frustrated poets end as pipe-smoking teachers in tweeds."

    Nabokov, Lolita

    March 1, 2011

  • "In repudiating international law and the rights of independent nations, the American president claims a divinity based on the might of his 'indispensable nation'. It is a familiar message of imperial impunity, though always bracing to hear. Evoking the rise of fascism in the 1930s, Obama said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being.” Historian Norman Pollack wrote: 'For goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.'”

    - John Pilger, The Return Of Orwell And Big Brother's War On Palestine, Ukraine And Truth, newmatilda.com, https://newmatilda.com//2014/07/12/pilger-return-orwell-and-big-brothers-war-palestine-ukraine-and-truth, 12 July 2014.

    July 13, 2014