Category Archives: French Vocabulary

Sans état d’âme

For years, I’d heard the expression sans état d’âme (sahnz ay-tay dam) without realizing what it really meant or how it was written. It was only when I recently saw it written that the penny dropped. Sans = without, état = state, and d’âme … Continue reading

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Léger et la lumière

Last year, I heard about one word resolutions from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast. Rather than a series of long aspirations, select just one word to sum up what you hope for the coming year. Last year, I selected the word … Continue reading

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Délabré

When I was in Deauville, I thoroughly enjoyed a long walk on the beach. Amid all the beautiful homes and hotels, one massive structure really stood out. It was much more like a château than a summer home – there … Continue reading

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Briser la glace

La glace (lah glas) means several diverse things: ice cream, ice, and a mirror. Briser  (bree-zay) means to break. Recently, I read a great story on My Little Paris. Apparently, Alfred Jarry , a symbolist writer from the beginning of the … Continue reading

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Pendre la crémaillaire

  Pendre la crémaillaire (pohn-druh lah kray-miye-air) today means to hold a housewarming party for someone. The expression dates from medieval times. It was the custom to invite everyone who had contributed to building the house to a meal to thank … Continue reading

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Un spectacle qui cartonne

I just spent a spectacular weekend in New York. The weather was amazing; we went to a couple of great museum exhibits and ate lots of wonderful meals. One of the most enjoyable things that we did was walk along … Continue reading

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Mine de rien

I worked with a French woman a few years who liberally peppered her conversation with mine de rien (mean duh re-en). She seemed to use it in ways that shifted, so I was never 100% sure of what it meant … Continue reading

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