The Meaning of Carte Blanche: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of carte blanche? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word carte blanche, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word carte blanche mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word carte blanche and plural cartes blanche mean complete discretion, unlimited discretionary power, unrestricted power, full powers, or the unlimited authority of a person up to their own discretion. This term is also sometimes used in cards to refer to a piquet hand containing no court cards, scoring ten points. Carte Blanche is also an album released by American hip-hop artist Phat Kat in the late 2000s. The pronunciation of carte blanche is ˈkɑrts ˈblæntʃ or kahrt blahnch.

There are many different languages that use words that mean carte blanche. You may notice that sometimes different languages have words that are very close to English words or to words of other languages. This is usually because the words share a root or origin. Often, cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages, are formed when words share an origin. This list of translations for the word carte blanche is provided by Word Sense.

  •  French: carte blanche‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: carte blanche‎
  •  Mandarin: 全權‎, 全权‎ (quánquán), 全權委託‎, 全权委托‎ (quánquán wěituō)
  •  German: Blankovollmacht‎ (fem.), freie Hand‎ (fem.), Carte blanche‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: карт-бла́нш‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: 白紙委任‎ (はくしいにん, hakushi inin), 白紙委任状‎ (はくしいにんじょう, hakushi ininjō)
  •  Swedish: carte blanche‎ (neut.)
  •  Italian: carta bianca‎ (fem.)
  •  Ukrainian: карт-бла́нш‎ (masc.)
  •  Persian: کارت بلانش‎ (kārt-blānš)
  •  Finnish: avoin valtakirja‎, vapaat kädet‎
  •  Danish: carte blanche‎ (common) (n)

What is the origin of carte blanche?

According to Dictionary, the word carte blanche (ˈkɑːts ˈblɑːntʃ) comes from the French language. This entered English as a French loan word in the mid-17th century, when piquet was a highly fashionable game of the time. Here, a carte blanche was a hand having no face card. However, as time went on, by the 18th century this term expanded to mean a blank piece of paper where someone signed their name and the signer trusted a second party to come up with the stipulations of a deal. Now the term carte blanche refers to this idea of signing a yet unwritten contract and handing over authority to the other party. This is similar to the terms blank check of unconditional support, blank cheque or free rein which are also used by speakers of modern-day English. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of carte blanche?

There are a variety of equivalent words that one can use in place of the word carte blanche. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same or a similar meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word carte blanche is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  free rein
  •  permit
  •  green light
  •  warrant
  •  full power
  •  franchise
  •  power
  •  no holds barred
  •  complete authority
  •  freedom
  •  flexibility
  •  privilege
  •  liberty
  •  free play
  •  blank check
  •  sanction
  •  complete discretion
  •  latitude
  •  permission
  •  approval
  •  power of attorney
  •  licence
  •  right
  •  consent
  •  entitlement
  •  leeway
  •  free course
  •  license
  •  full scope
  •  clearance
  •  prerogative
  •  free scope
  •  go-ahead
  •  leave
  •  blank cheque
  •  unconditional authority
  •  complete freedom
  •  discretion
  •  independence
  •  scope
  •  authorization
  •  full swing
  •  authority
  •  endorsement
  •  dispensation
  •  full authority
  •  margin
  •  exemption
  •  laissez faire
  •  free hand

There are also numerous words and phrases that are antonyms for the word carte blanche. Antonyms are words and phrases that have the opposite meaning as another word or phrase. Opposite words are helpful to know if you are trying to expand your knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms is provided by Power Thesaurus as well.

  •  prohibiting
  •  injunction
  •  prohibition
  •  disallowance
  •  obstruction
  •  limitation
  •  sanction
  •  constraint
  •  veto
  •  vetoing
  •  exclusion
  •  interdicting
  •  disagreement
  •  embargo
  •  suppression
  •  denial
  •  debarment
  •  repudiation
  •  restraint
  •  imposed ban
  •  disapproval
  •  absolute prohibition
  •  banning
  •  opposition
  •  bar
  •  apply as a charge
  •  barring
  •  outlawing
  •  imposed restrictions
  •  restriction
  •  rejection
  •  interdict
  •  disallowing
  •  impose limitations
  •  refusal
  •  repression
  •  impose constraints
  •  proscribing
  •  forbidding
  •  ban
  •  deny
  •  proscription
  •  enjoining
  •  forbiddance
  •  prevention
  •  abolition
  •  interdiction
  •  impose restrictions
  •  hindrance
  •  anathema

How can the word carte blanche be used in a sentence?

The word carte blanche (kahrt blahnsh) can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making quizzes for yourself or testing yourself with flashcards. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of carte blanche.

Jeffery Deaver trusted the Prime Minister carte blanche, but he betrayed him in January when listening to the Minister of the Interior carte blanche about the mediation and the location of the gems upon closer inspection. This filled Jeffery with rage. 

The owner of the painting by  Belgian surrealist René Magritte trusted the negotiator carte blanche, but he made an unwise decision in a self-interested way on his own terms.

There is a kind of success that can only come from trusting yourself carte blanche. Take a pause and know you can do it. 

At the mediation, the recipient gave a little mute exhibition of amazement when the rider signed the agreement about the refugee issue carte blanche. 

Princeton University trusted the contractor carte blanche and the developer carte blanche, but when they came back with a blank map for the dorms, they were worried about students that had registered. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle trusted Adam Lowes to write his 37th novel carte blanche, with the understanding that The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet Adventures of Sherlock Holmes would follow his usual tone. 

Overall, the word carte blanche (French kart ˈblɑ̃ʃ) means unrestricted authority free reign, free hand, blank ticket, full discretionary power or unconditional authority. This is also used in card games to describe a specific hand with a specific scoring value. The literal meaning is blank card from the French carte blanche.


  1. Carte blanche definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. Carte Blanche | Word Sense
  3. Carte blanche Definition & Meaning | Dictionary 
  4. Carte Blanche synonyms – 297 Words and Phrases for Carte Blanche | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Carte Blanche antonyms – 393 Opposites of Carte Blanche | Power Thesaurus