Category Archives: French Vocabulary

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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Une gamelle

The French are renowned for 90-minute long lunches, complete with a glass of wine, but things are changing. A recent report on the French news indicated that the majority of French workers are now bringing their own lunches to work. … Continue reading

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Le bout de son nez

Here in New England, we are in the heart of winter. Limited sunlight. Early sunsets. If it’s not snowing, it’s raining. When the sun comes out, even if it’s just peeking over the horizon, its appearance is oh so welcome. … Continue reading

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Un chemin de table

I took on a little job over the winter break that gave me a lot of pleasure. I had reupholstered my parents’s dining room chairs. At the end of the job, I had a long strip of fabric left over. … Continue reading

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Le palmarès

It’s almost the end of 2015, a logical moment to look back on the past year and look forward to what is coming. I had a lot of great experiences in Scotland, France, and my home in New England. This … Continue reading

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Les étrennes

Les étrennes (layz ay-trenh) are a New Year’s custom in France. It refers to a gift of cash to those who provide a service all year long, such as the concierge in an apartment building, the mail man or woman, … Continue reading

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Un minois

Un minois (uhn meen-wah) means “a sweet little face.” Can you think of a better illustration of it than this fuzzy little guinea pig I found on Pinterest? He looks like he’s hoping to find something special under the tree on … Continue reading

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Zieuter

I came across a new vocabulary word recently, zieuter (zoo-tay), also spelled zyeuter. It’s a slang term that’s been around for about a century. It comes from les yeux (layz yuh), “the eyes” and means “to look at” or “to … Continue reading

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Montrer patte blanche

Since the horrific events of November 13, I keep hearing the expression montrer patte blanche (mohn-tray pat blahnsh), which literally means “to show white paw.” Figuratively, it means to identify yourself, often by presenting proof through documents. In the new … Continue reading

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Taper dans le mille

Taper dans le mille (tap-ay dahn luh meel) is a slang expression that figuratively means “to hit the nail on the head.” The expression comes from archery where the bullseye was worth 1,000, or mille, points. It’s only worth 10 … Continue reading

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