Monday, March 29, 2004

French Word of the Day March 2004

Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 12:28 PM

MacDo' = the French abbreviation for Mac Donald's. Since Burger King left France a while ago, we don't have any affectionate nickname for them.

Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 5:39 PM

(le) décalage horaire = jet-lag

Sent: Friday, March 26, 2004 2:55 PM

(un) poulet = a chicken

Also, slang for cop. Things have recently been taken a step further, as poulet has been replaced by it's McDonald's version, nugget. Same meaning, the big advantage is that police cars of various sizes can be referred to as boîtes, or boxes, of nuggets.

E.g. une boîte de quatre (nuggets) = a patrol car with four cops

une boîte de douze (nuggets) = a van with twelve police officers

I personally find this extremely funny.

Sent: Friday, March 26, 2004 8:27 AM

(un) clown = a clown, but to be pronounced "cloon"

Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2004 8:17 AM

French poetry of the day (no translation)

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Et nos amours

Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne

La joie venait toujours après la peine

Guillaume Appolinaire - Le pont Mirabeau (a famous Paris bridge that crosses the Seine, not far from the Statue of Liberty)

Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2004 8:00 AM

The French swearword of the day

(un) bordel = a brothel

Bordel! = Damn!

Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2004 8:35 AM


pair = even

impair = odd

Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 8:16 AM

Back to the basics....

bonjour = hello

salut = hi (the 't' is silent)

ça va ? = how are you ?

au revoir = bye

à bientôt = see you soon (last 't' is silent)

à plus tard = see you later ('s' is silent, but not if the expression is shortened into it's increasingly popular alternative "à plus")

Sent: Friday, March 19, 2004 10:09 AM

négligé = as an adjective: neglected, sloppy. As a noun: negligee. Why it became feminine when adopted by the English language, I have no idea.

Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2004 9:53 AM

(une) amélioration = improvement, amelioration

And in completely unrelated news

Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2004 9:13 AM

Bonne Saint Patrick à tous!

Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2004 11:00 AM

Which American movies had their titles translated into these when released in France?

Le maître du jeu ("The game master"): [LM] Runaway jury

L'amour sans préavis ("Love without notice"): [LM] Two weeks notice

Mon beau-père et moi ("My father-in-law and me"): [LM] Meet the parents

Maman, j'ai raté l'avion! ("Mom, I missed the flight!"): [LM] Home alone

Sent: Monday, March 15, 2004 9:10 AM

(un) débarras = a junk room

Bon débarras! = Good riddance!

Sent: Friday, March 12, 2004 9:13 AM

(la) plénitude = bliss

Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 1:31 PM

aïe! (pronounced ah - ye) = ouch!

Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 9:39 AM

(une) lurette = a small lure (as the suffix -ette implies)

(une) lure = old French word for "hour"

None of this is used anymore, except in the following expression:

depuis belle lurette = for ages ("since beautiful small hour" ???)

E.g. Je ne l'ai pas vu depuis belle lurette = I haven't seen him for ages

Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 10:13 AM

goûter = as a verb: to taste, to try food. As a noun: afternoon snack eaten by children.

E.g. Il ne veut pas goûter mon gateau = he doesn't want to try my cake

un goûter d'anniversaire = a birthday party. A successful goûter d'anniversaire requires:

· Pépitos ("Avec Pépito, c'est la fête garantie !")

· Banga

Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004 10:48 AM

(un) enfant = child / kid

bon enfant: literally, "good kid", but mostly used as an adjective to describe something that's good-natured, friendly, relaxed.

E.g. l'ambiance était bon enfant: the atmosphere was friendly

Sent: Friday, March 05, 2004 2:17 PM

(la) détresse = distress

Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2004 10:01 AM

fouetter = to whip

For some reason, we have two expressions that involve whipping cats. I have to guess this used to be a popular hobby in France.

il n'y a pas de quoi fouetter un chat = it's no big deal (literally: it's not enough to whip a cat)

avoir d'autres chats à fouetter = to have bigger fish to fry (literally: to have other cats to whip)

Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004 1:50 PM

(un) bifteck: a (beef) steak

(un) bifteck haché: a beefburger

Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2004 9:54 AM

(un) mur = a wall

Not to be confused with

mûr / mûre (adj.) = ripe / mature

(une) mûre = a blackberry


Je me frappe la tête contre les murs = I bang my head against the wall

Il est mûr pour son âge = He's mature for his age

Elle cueille des mûres = She's picking blackberries

Elle m'en a fait voir des vertes et des pas mûres = She put me through hard times (litterally: she showed me some green ones and some not ripe - or something of that nature)

Sent: Monday, March 01, 2004 11:42 AM

Un, deux, trois... quatre.

un de ces quatre (matins) = one of these days

les quatre fers en l'air = flat on one's back (the image is that of the horse on its back with its four legs up in the air)

tiré(e) a quatre épingles = dressed to the nines

faire ses quatre volontés = to do as one pleases, without taking others into account

ne pas y aller par quatre chemins = to get straight to the point, not to beat around the bush

se plier en quatre pour quelqu'un = to bend over backward for someone

couper les cheveux en quatre = to split hairs

dire ses quatre verités à quelqu'un = to give someone a piece of one's mind