Monday, October 31, 2005


(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

Friday, October 28, 2005

Today's useless word...

...perlimpinpin. Used only in the expression "poudre de perlimpinpin"(perlimpinpin powder), which designates a magical cure, or a fake remedy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

French insult of the day

(un) blaireau = a badger (pronounced blay - ro)

Also an insult:
Espèce de (gros) blaireau! = You (big) moron!

French insult of the day

(un) blaireau = a badger (pronounced blay - ro)

Also an insult:
Espèce de (gros) blaireau! = You (big) moron!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Miam, suite

As a follow-up to last week's topic of hunger, a few colloquial expressions that mean "to be hungry":
  • avoir les crocs ("to have the fangs")
  • avoir la dalle ("to have the slab")
  • avoir l'estomac dans les talons ("to have one's stomach down in the heels")
  • avoir une faim de loup ("to be as hungry as a wolf")
  • crever de faim = to be starving ("to be dying of hunger")

Thursday, October 20, 2005


(la) faim = hunger (pronounced like "fin")

avoir faim = to be hungry
mourir de faim = to be starving
rester sur sa faim = to be disappointed by something, that didn't live up to expectations
laisser (quelqu'un) sur sa faim = to disappoint (someone)

E.g.: je meurs de faim = I'm starving
ce spectacle m'a laissé sur ma faim = I was expecting more from this show

Monday, October 17, 2005

Les enfants

Today, synonyms for un(e) enfant = a child (the 't' is silent). All are colloquial:
  • un(e) mioche
  • un gamin / une gamine
  • un moutard - this one doesn't have a feminine that I know of. Moutarde means mustard.
  • un(e) gosse - careful with using this one in Quebec, where it is slang for testicle
  • un(e) môme
  • un morveux / une morveuse (slang) - from la morve, which means snot.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mate-moi ça

mater is an interesting and useful verb with several meanings:
1/ to overcome, bring under control
la révolution a été matée = the revolt was put down
je vous materai, moi! = I'll show you who's boss!

2/ slang for to look, to spy on
il matait les filles sous la douche = he was peeking at the girls in the shower
mate! = look!

3/ in chess, to checkmate, although rarely used as a verb
Checkmate! = Echec et mat! or just Mat! (the 't' is not silent in this case)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


(un) dada = baby talk for "horse". Also means hobby.

E.g. faire du dada = to go horseback riding
C'est mon dada = it's my hobby
Dadaisme = Dadaism

Monday, October 10, 2005

Family first

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. This is the first clue towards translating last Friday's verlan quiz

Friday, October 07, 2005


For those of you who had been wondering about verlan after we covered chelou a few days ago, I thought I'd shed some light on this fascinating world.

is a popular way to speak among the young generation. It consists of pronouncing every word backwards. "Verlan" is actually "à l'envers" ("backwards") pronounced... well, backwards. E.g. femme (woman) becomes meuf, maison (house) becomes zonmé, etc. Hard to follow, especially if used in conjunction with argot (slang). Just an example for fun:
Téma, les keufs ont pécho ton refré; il doit être véner

Which I will translate later, so everyone gets a chance to appreciate the beauty of it over the week-end.

On a side note, don't forget to root for France this week-end, as they play Switzerland in the World Cup Qualifiers - a victory would guarantee a spot in Germany next year.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Back to the basics

lundi = Monday
mardi = Tuesday
mercredi = Wednesday
jeudi = Thursday
vendredi = Friday
samedi = Saturday
dimanche = Sunday

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


louche = shady, fishy

E.g. ça m'a l'air louche = it sounds fishy to me

Also used a lot in its "verlan" form "chelou" e.g. "c'est trop chelou!"

More on verlan soon...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


(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