Category Archives: French Vocabulary

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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Ce qui est fait n’est plus à faire

Ah, it’s almost spring. The days are getting longer and warmer. If you’re thinking of a deep clean, you may be inspired by this French quotation: Ce qui est fait n’est plus à faire (suh key eh feh neh ploose ah … Continue reading

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L’hôte et la pluie

As I’ve mentioned, I’m going to be traveling to Paris with a group of students. They are going to attend immersion classes in the morning, and then in the afternoon we are going on various sightseeing excursions. I’ve done all … Continue reading

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Le béguin

If you want to say that you have a crush on someone, you can say “J’ai le béguin pour toi” (zjay luh bay-gahn poor twah). This slang term has really old roots that date back to the Middles Ages. Béguines … Continue reading

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Une Rengaine

We had a big snow storm here on Friday, but Saturday was a winter wonderland. I went for a walk next to the reservoir and heard the most amazing sound. The sun was loosening the snow in the branches, and … Continue reading

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Un Dédale

Un dédale (uhn day-dahl) means a labyrinth or a maze. The name comes from Daedalus, the builder of the labyrinth for King Minos of Crete. Daedalus was eventually imprisoned in the labyrinth himself along with his son Icarus. Being its … Continue reading

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Déchéance

Déchéance (day-shay-ahnse) is a hot topic in France these days. It refers to rescinding French citizenship to those who were naturalized as citizens after immigrating. It is currently only available as a punishment when people who hold two citizenships and … Continue reading

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Ça caille!

The winter of 2015 was mythic in its severity. The winter of 2016, so far, has not been too bad. I’m totally OK with that. Being able to go for a walk in January is such a pleasure, even if … Continue reading

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