Category Archives: French Vocabulary

Engoncé

Baby, it’s C-O-L-D outside. It’s the kind of cold when the snow crunches beneath your feet as though you are squeezing the life out of it. It’s the kind of cold when your nostrils stick together when you breathe in. … Continue reading

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Mater

We lived near Philadelphia for twenty years. We knew where to get a great cup of coffee, where to browse for something special, and where to spend a Sunday afternoon. Now that we live outside of Boston, we’re having to … Continue reading

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Être à la ramasse

Every feel like you are running in place? Much to do and not making much progress? Then today’s expression, être à la ramasse (et-ruh ah lah rah-mass) will mean something to you. It means “to be behind, to lag behind.” … Continue reading

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Fouiner

My penchant for rootling around antique shops has made me think of another useful French word, fouiner (foo-ee-nay); which means “to search,” or “to rummage through.” What kind of things to I like to search for? Things that make me … Continue reading

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Ce qui est pris n’est plus à prendre

On Saturday, I spent an enjoyable day poking around antique shops in Essex, Massachusetts. We saw a portrait that we liked very much, but we wanted to think it over.  Then I learned a very à propos phrase on the … Continue reading

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Aux innocents les mains pleines

Over the Christmas break, I had the joy of visiting my parents in London, Ontario for a few days. Over the years, we’ve played innumerable hands of Uno. As much as we enjoy its familiar rules and routines, I thought … Continue reading

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Je suis Charlie

Today, twelve people were killed by three gunmen in Paris. The political cartoonists at the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo have been living under death threats for about a decade due to publishing cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. Today, those threats … Continue reading

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Traîner

“This house speaks to my heart!” so said our adorable four-year daughter when we were looking for a new home many years ago. This emotional connection certainly helped tip the balance in favor of the house we bought and where … Continue reading

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Un Feu d’artifice

Un feu d’artifice (uhn fuh dar-tea-feese) means fireworks. It’s literally “a trick fire.” The above photo wasn’t taken at a New Year’s celebration, but rather on a warm July night at the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. Meilleur vœux to you and yours. … Continue reading

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Oser

Oser (oh-zay) means “to dare.” It can be negative, as in “How dare you!”, but I’d rather think of how it is used in a positive sense. The above quotation embodies the positive sense of oser. What would I dare … Continue reading

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