Saturday, November 29, 2003

French Word of the Day November 2003

Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2003 3:37 PM

(un) esprit = mind, spirit


perdre ses esprits = to faint (literally: "to lose one's spirits")

reprendre ses esprits = to regain consciousness (literally: "to retake one's spirits")

les grands esprits se rencontrent = great minds think alike (literally: "great minds meet")

avoir l'esprit mal tourné = to have a dirty mind (literally: "to have a badly oriented mind")

avoir de l'esprit = to be witty

Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 3:43 PM

An obvious one:

merci = thank you / thanks

un grand merci = a big thank you

mille mercis = thank you so much ( literally: "a thousand thanks"

merci beaucoup = thank you very much

merci d'avance = thank you in advance

merci à tous = thanks to everyone

remercier = to thank

(un) remerciement = thanks. More formal and implies some kind of exchange.

E.g. en remerciement de leur aide, elle leur a fait un cadeau = she gave them a present to thank them for their help

Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 8:33 AM

(un) bonbon = a candy

Today, two French candies, supposedly the 2 best-selling ones in France:

(un) carambar = a caramel stick. Its success is due to the delicious, sticky candy itself as much as the jokes and riddles printed inside the paper wrapper. These are known as les blagues Carambar

(un) malabar = fruit-flavored chewing gum, ideal for blowing huge bubbles thanks to its extra-strength. Here again, there is a surprise along with the candy: a comic strip (depicting the adventures of gum-chewing super-hero Malabar!) or temporary tattoos

Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 7:58 AM

(un) singe = a monkey,3604,373695,00.html

Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 8:32 AM

Answers below. Here are some examples:

Tu veux aller au cinéma ce soir ? - Eventuellement = do you want to go to the movies tonight ? maybe...

Etant donné la situation actuelle... = Given the present situation...

Il s'est montré très compréhensif = He was very understanding

Confidences sur l'oreiller = pillow talk (literally: "secrets on the pillow")

Il achète le journal à la librairie du coin = he buys the paper at the book store on the corner

Pas de précipitation! = Slow down!

Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 8:38 AM

(un) faux-ami = a French word that looks/sounds deceptively like an English word (or the other way around)

For example, translate the following in English:

éventuellement: [LM] possibly. Eventually translates to "finalement"

actuel: [LM] present, current. Actual translates to "réel/réelle"

compréhensif: [LM] understanding (as an adjective). Comprehensive translates to complet, although in some cases compréhensif can also have the same meaning.

confidence: [LM] secret. Confidence (as in "self-confidence") translates to "(la) confiance"

librairie: [LM] a book store. Library translates to "(une) bibliothèque"

précipitation: [LM] although its plural does mean "precipitations", another meaning of the word is "haste"

Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 8:43 AM

(la) gourmandise = a weakness for sweet things. Can also have a meaning closer to "gluttony"

gourmand / gourmande: corresponding adjective

E.g.: la gourmandise est un vilain défaut = gluttony is a bad habit/fault/sin

j'en reprends, mais c'est par gourmandise = I'll have some more, just because I can't resist

And a piece of related news:

Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 8:16 AM

(une) puce = a flea / a (silicon) chip

ma puce = (endearment) Honey, Dear etc. I guess fleas are cute little insects.

mettre la puce a l'oreille = to set someone thinking (literally: to put a flea to someone's ear)

E.g. qu'est-ce qui t'a mis la puce a l'oreille ? = what made you realize (what was going on, etc) ? What gave you a hint ?

Since puce also means chip, I sense there is a way to make a nice pun about hearing aids out of this expression. I'll leave that as an exercise.

Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 8:09 AM

Family members:

le père (Papa) = the father (dad)

la mère (Maman) = the mother (mom)

le frère = the brother

la soeur (pronounced seur) = the sister

There are "verlan" (reverse) terms for all these, respectively: reup, reum, refré and reuss. Use "remps" for "parents". Only if you're into rap music or talking to a rebel teenager .

Les trois frères: comedy by Les inconnus, a trio who started on TV shows. My movie recommendation of the day.

Sent: Monday, November 17, 2003 8:28 AM

(le) vin = wine

vin rouge = red wine

vin blanc = white wine

And some interesting related news from France :-),0,2208029.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines

Sent: Friday, November 14, 2003 9:06 AM

(une) porte = a door

prendre la porte = to leave (literally: to take the door)

enfoncer une porte ouverte = to state the obvious (literally: to break down an open door)

c'est la porte ouverte à... = it's an open invitation to (literally: it's an open door to...)

E.g.: c'est la porte ouverte à toutes les fenêtres! = it's an open door to all windows!

Which is an obviously absurd, meaningless but funny variation to the standard expression. It comes from the comedy La vérité si je mens (or it's sequel, not sure):

It's now widely used, and I suspect some people think it actually means something :-)

Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2003 8:07 AM

(une) pomme = an apple

E.g. ça va encore être pour ma pomme! = I'm in for it again!

Haut comme trois pommes = small, for a person. Literally: "tall as three apples"

Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 8:20 AM

Subject: RE: French songs of the day

Today, some good old-fashioned industrial/techno music... by French artists. Oui oui, I know, anything's possible. Includes downloadable MP3s with such inspiring titles as "Orthodontie descriptive du cycle" by "L'église du Mouvement Péristaltique Inversé", which I would be happy to translate if only I understood them.

For those who know "Lolita" by Mylène Farmer protégé Alizée, I strongly recommend the hardc*re cover by Wytlyt. Fou-rire garanti:

"Moi je m'appelle Lolita. Lo ou bien Lola, du pareil au même... lalala lala laaaaaa"

Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 7:51 AM


(une) fraise = a strawberry. Une fraise des bois = a wild strawberry

(une) framboise = a raspberry

(une) mûre = a blackberry

(une) canneberge or (une) airelle = a cranberry

(une) myrtille = a bilberry

(une) groseille = a red currant

le cassis = black currant

By the way if anyone knows if we can say "un cassis" or "une cassis" I'm interested.

Sent: Monday, November 10, 2003 8:47 AM

tirer = to pull. Je tire / tu tires / il tire / nous tirons / vous tirez / ils tirent

(un) tire-au-flanc = a slacker [(un) flanc = a side, for animals and vessels]

(un) tire-bouchon = a corkscrew ("a cork-puller")

(un) tire-fesses = a ski lift ("a butt-puller")

à tire-larigot = non-stop

E.g. Ce tire-au-flanc boit a tire-larigot = this slacker drinks non-stop

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 8:49 AM

(une) perruque or (un) toupet = a wig

Also, toupet can be used in the sense of "nerve", as in:

Tu ne manques pas de toupet ! = You've got a lot of nerve!

Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 8:45 AM

pareil = the same. E.g. c'est pareil = it's the same

see also même, e.g. J'ai le même T-shirt = I have the same T-shirt

C'est du pareil au même = It makes no difference (same as "C'est kif-kif")

And my favorite:

C'est blanc bonnet et bonnet blanc = It's all the same. literally "it's white hat and hat white"

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 6:30 AM

We've already seen

rire = to laugh

sourire = to smile

To go a little further:

être mort de rire or écroulé de rire = to be laughing hard

avoir un fou-rire = to laugh uncontrollably

Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 8:56 AM

The answer is:

d/ a synonym for "tête" (head)

That was a tricky one. Other synonyms for (la) tête (head) or (le) visage (face):

(la) bille

(la) binette

(la) bobine

(la) bouille

(la) caboche

(la) figure

(la) frimousse

(la) gueule

(la) tronche

(la) trogne

(la) trombine

and probably others I can't remember right now.

E.g. se casser la figure

or se casser la binette

or se casser la margoulette (I've never heard anyone say this, but give it a shot)

or se casser la gueule (slang) = to fall

Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 9:30 AM

What is "une margoulette" ?

a/ a small rodent that lives near rivers

b/ a nut commonly used in cakes

c/ a trick to cheat at card games

d/ a synonym for "tête" (head)

e/ a string puppet used in traditional shows from the South of France