Tuesday, October 31, 2006


...no word, but:
  • an explanation on yesterday's reference to La belle au bois dormant. As was pointed to me, "dormant", being a masculine form, cannot refer to the very feminine la belle. It is, indeed, the entire forest (le bois) that was asleep in Charles Perrault's original story (which you can read, in French, here)
  • As some of us celebrate Halloween, an interesting read on the fairly recent adoption of Halloween in France (and why it hasn't been very successful)

Monday, October 30, 2006


belle, feminine for beau (pronounced 'bo'), is an adjective that means beautiful

Some expressions with belle:
faire une (or la) belle = to play the last game in a best-of-three
se faire la belle = to run away
faire sa belle = to show off
l'avoir belle = to have an easy life
en faire voir de belles à quelqu'un = to give someone a hard time
la Belle au Bois dormant = Sleeping Beauty

Beau and belle are also used to refer to in-laws (which, I'm sure, some would find strange):
un beau-père / une belle-mère = a father/mother-in-law, but also stepfather/stepmother
un beau-frère / une belle-sœur = a brother/sister-in-law

Monday, October 23, 2006

La baffe

Today, synonyms of une claque (a slap):
une beigne
une gifle
un soufflet
une torgnole (my personal favorite)

il mérite des baffes = he deserves to be slapped

Monday, October 16, 2006


un pas = a step

faire un grand/petit pas = to take a long/small step
à tout petits pas = with small steps
suivre quelqu'un pas à pas = to follow someone everywhere
j'habite à deux pas (d'ici) = I live just a step away (from here) (literally two steps)

Not to be confused with the adverb meaning "not", e.g.
je ne sais pas = I don't know

Monday, October 09, 2006


fumer = to smoke
il fume une cigarette = he smokes a cigarette

un or une clope = slang for cigarette. Started as a masculine term (synonym for un megot = a cigarette butt), that turned into feminine (as is une cigarette)

Just saw this as an opportunity to mention France's recently announced ban on smoking in public places.

Friday, October 06, 2006


le riz (the 'z' is silent) = rice

riz blanc = white rice
riz cantonais = egg fried rice
un grain de riz = a grain of rice
riz sauvage = wild rice

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


vite = quickly (pronounced veet)

vite et bien = quickly and well
vite! = quick!
aller vite = to be quick
vite fait = soon enough (literally quickly done) e.g. ils se sont retrouvés vite fait derniers du classement = they soon found themselves in last place