If You Are A Quatorzième, You Are A What?
Answer: Professional Dinner Guest
If you’re a quatorzième you have one of the more enviable jobs around: you’re a professional dinner guest. These individuals are employed for the express purpose of adding a dinner guest to a dinner party where, without the addition, there would only be thirteen guests.
There is a long standing superstition that the thirteenth guest (or, alternatively, the first guest to rise from the party of thirteen) is destined for a tragedy. Judas, for example, was the first guest to rise at the thirteen-member Last Supper and the first to die thereafter. In the Norse tradition, Loki the trickster god invited himself to a feast of twelve warriors and, by his presence as the thirteenth guest, brought about the death of Balder, a famed Norse warrior.
Although the term might sound exotic to an English speaking ear, the practice originated in France and Quatorzième is simply French for fourteenth–the number of the guest who breaks the pall of bad luck over the table.