Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Carte-blanche denotes etymologically a blank paper, and, literally taken, denotes a paper whose use is authorised by a seal or signature, but whose powers and conditions are left to be filled in by another than the signer or sealer. A good example of carte-blanche is the blank cheque, so often read of and so seldom seen, where the drawer signs the cheque and leaves the amount to be filled in by the recipient. The lettres-de-cachet (q.v.) of Bourbon France are another example. The term is now used in the general sense of giving free permission to do a thing, or to incur expense, the giver of the permission holding himself responsible.