French Word of the Day

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Monday, November 19, 2012

à l’avant de

in the front (as in a room or some other three-dimensional space)

Hélène est assise à l’avant de la salle.
Helen is seated at the front of the room.

It’s very useful in conversation to be able to describe spatial relationships — the idea of where one thing is in relation to another. Today’s example is one phrase that will help you do that.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

bien que


Bien qu’il soit tard, je ne peux pas m’endormir.
Although it’s late, I can’t go to sleep.

Vocabulary Section: Conjunctions, Word of the Day
Thursday, November 15, 2012

ne plus avoir de temps

to be out of time

Pour l’instant, nous n’avons plus de temps.
For the time being, we’re out of time.

Our phrase is an example of how we talk about matters of time.

Vocabulary Section: Time and Calendar, Word of the Day
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

la marée haute

high tide

Allons à la plage à marée haute.
Let’s go to the beach at high tide.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

un décapotable

a convertible

Sophie aime conduire son décapotable rouge dans le Midi.
Sophie likes to drive her red convertible in the South of France.
(Wouldn’t we all?!)

When you learn the word for car, la voiture, in French class, the vocabulary sometimes doesn’t go too far beyond that. But there is, of course, so much vocabulary related to cars and driving. Today’s word is one example.

Vocabulary Section: Cars, Word of the Day
Monday, November 12, 2012

une feuille de papier

a piece of paper

Pourrais-tu me donner une feuille de papier, s’il te plaît?
Could you give me a piece of paper, please?


  • Une feuille literally means a leaf, as covered in this archive example.
  • The verb feuilleter means to flip or leaf through a book.
Saturday, November 10, 2012

avoir sommeil

to be or feel sleepy

Le bébé a commencé à crier parce qu’il avait sommeil.
The baby started to cry because he was sleepy.

Avoir sommeil is an expression using the verb avoir. To use it, you must always conjugate the verb. Click here to see a complete conjugation of avoir.

Our word is inspired by something that we spend about a third of our lives doing — sleeping.

Vocabulary Section: Idiom Expressions, Verbs, Word of the Day
Friday, November 9, 2012

vous mêler de vos oignons

to mind your own business
(literal, unused translation: to mingle in your own onions)

Ce ne sont pas là vos affaires. Vous voulez vous mêler de vos oignons?
That’s not your concern. Do you want to mind your own business?

One of the most difficult things about becoming fluent in French is learning to recognize all of the many idiom expressions — those phrases that mean something different than their literal meanings suggest. In English, think of the phrase It’s raining cats and dogs.

Today’s phrase was suggested by a friend of our site, Bill Scoble, who has assembled a great selection of commonly used French idioms for you. Add these to your vocabulary and you’ll sound like a native speaker in no time.

Vocabulary Section: Idiom Expressions, Word of the Day
Monday, November 5, 2012

une manifestation

a demonstration 

Les manifestations étaient paisible.
The demonstrations were peaceful.

Vocabulary Section: Civics, Word of the Day
Friday, November 2, 2012

un(e) figurant(e)

an extra

Elle voulait être la vedette mais elle n’était qu’une figurante.
She wanted to be the star, but she was only an extra.

Explore more words about film from some of our past daily words:

We’re looking at French vocabulary words about movies and filmmaking.

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