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
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
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 :-)
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
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"
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):
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