Girard, Gabriel

, an ingenious French writer, wa born at Clermont in Auvergne in 1678, and educated for the church. In his youth he had a canonry in the collegiate church of Notre Dame de Monferrand, but resigned it to one of his brothers, that he might be at liberty to go to Paris and devote his time to literary pursuits. There by the interest of some friends he was made almoner to the duchess of Berri, daughter of the regent, and also obtained the place of king’s interpreter for the Sclavonian and Russian languages. In 1744 he was admitted a member of the French academy. He died Feb. 4, 1748. The work by which he is best known, and to which indeed he chiefly owed his reputation in France, is his “Synonymes Fransais,” 12mo, of which a new edition, with some posthumous pieces by Girard, was published by M. Beauzee in 1769, 2 vols. 12mo. No grammatical work was ever more popular in France, nor more useful in denning the precise meaning of words apparently synonymous; and the elegance and moral tendency of the examples he produce* have been much admired. The abbe“Roubaud has since published” Les Nouveaux Synonymes Francais,“1786, 4 vols. 8vo, which may be considered as a supplement to Girard. Our author published also a grammar under the title of” Les vrais principes de la laugue Franc.ais," 2 vols. 12mp, far inferior in ingenuity to his former, and | full of metaphysical whims on the theory of language, not unmixed with those infidel principles which were in his time beginning to be propagated. 1