I lighted upon a sentence in a United Nations report of Italy, written in English:

On a more general note, this issue will continue to be the subject of attention during the current Legislature, of which the pendant natural is the sharing of parental responsibility in case of divorce.

The context is about family, children, and adoption, and the term pendant natural is in italics in the original text. Google doesn't seem to be of any help in figuring out what this term means. It doesn't seem to be idiomatic. What does it mean?

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    It's not familiar to me. I wonder if it isn't a transliteration of an Italian or Latin term.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 22:20
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    Looks like French to me: "the natural counterpart" Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 22:32
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    I'm voting to close; this question does not appear to be about the English language. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 18:31
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    @EdwinAshworth I'd argue loanwords and their usage are part and parcel of the English language, especially formal English writing. Case in point and exemplary: well, this question.
    – user253154
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 19:01
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    Edwin Ashworth: Ohhh, I see what you are taking issue with. But there has been testimony (e.g. by @Tonny) of its currency in English. Are you calling that into doubt? Are you suggesting this question be migrated to the French SE site? Since lengthy back-and-forth comments are not encouraged on SE, I will leave it at that.
    – user253154
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 0:34

2 Answers 2


Unless the author is using a Spanish or Portuguese expression, it's a typographical error in the French pendant naturel, meaning ‘natural counterpart or complement’, i.e., that discussing one topic will naturally lead to another. An NGram suggests it is a not uncommon expression in that language.

Le pendant naturel de la lutte contre le racisme est le dialogue interculturel qui est une des composantes essentielles …
The natural counterpart of the fight against racism is intercultural dialogue, which is one of the essential components …

Without looking at the French, an English speaker would likely say “a natural extension.” Same idea, different spatial metaphor.

  • Yeah, I tried Googling "pendant naturale", as an attempt at a French/Italian spelling, but didn't try "pendant naturel".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 1:46
  • I got a number of hits for Spanish and Portuguese pendant natural in Google Books with the same meaning as the French pendant naturel, but nothing for Italian pendente naturale. I would surmise that Sp and Port borrowed from Fr, but It didn't.
    – KarlG
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 1:57
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    @GerardoFurtado: 1. O movimento modernista que começara a delinear-se no sul tinha nele o pendant natural e por excelência no nordeste. 2. Ora, o illustre botânico de Angola é, por um pendant natural da sua educação technica, um decidido propagandista da introducção de novas espécies e variedades de productôres de café em Cazengo e Golungo.
    – KarlG
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 9:30
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    According to my girlfriend (who is a professional translator specializing in French/English legal and contract documents) the French expression as stated is legalese jargon and as such appears in English official documents as well. In this case it seems the author (or more likely his spell-checker) mangled the French word "naturel" and replaced it with "natural". My spell-checker is trying to do the same thing while writing this.
    – Tonny
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 14:47
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    @Tonny Your comment contains some useful information. Unfortunately it gets buried. I think your comment has the potential of a stand-alone answer, or at least a comment under the question as it is a direct response to my question. I almost missed your comment.
    – user253154
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 15:35

Per Merriam-Webster, one meaning of "pendant" is "counterpart" or "companion piece". So in this case, the text seems to be saying "[the sharing of parental responsibility] is an issue that will naturally be considered alongside [whatever issue they were talking about before the quoted text]".

  • This is what I was thinking (saw the same definition), but couldn't find any uses of it (aside from light fixtures and jewelry).
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 0:09

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