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Carte Blanche

September 18, 2021

Definition: Full discretion or complete freedom to act as one wishes. The act of unconditional authority. Permission to do something any way you choose to.

The highest degree that is attainable; a stage in development that is the most successful.

Etymology: The term “carte blanche” dates back to 18th century France. Back then, it literally meant “blank paper.” 

In some cases, carte blanche referred to white cards handed out by King Charles the Second. The cards would feature the King’s signature, allowing the card recipient to write anything they want above the signature, and it would be legal. 

By the year 1776, carte blanche had come to mean full discretion or complete freedom to act as one wishes. This is the definition we still use today.

In a Sentence

Sue was given complete carte blanche to decorate her room this weekend, something her parents would come to regret.

The president made it abundantly clear that he wouldn’t give anyone carte blanche in today’s press conference.

I love going to the all-you-can-eat buffet with my family for Sunday dinner because everyone has a carte blanche selection of dishes.


Full-Authority, Unconditional Power, Free Rein


Restraint, Suppression


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