TODAY'S EXPRESSION: clouer le bec
: to shut somebody up
French listening tip: do you hear "le" in this French sentence?
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"Le Bec ( the beak) has lots of uses in French. It can be used to describe somebody who likes exquisite food "A Gourmet"...Il/elle a le bec fin ( one of the most expensive French restaurants in Philadelphia is called "Le Bec Fin". It can also translate to "face stuffing"...A mother tired of her child asking for food could be heard saying while giving him/her food...Tiens...Colles-toi ça dans le bec et donnes nous la paix! Another funny expression meaning " To shut someone up"...Ex: Ce que je lui ai repondu lui a cloué le bec ( Nailed his bec shut). A verb has also been created with bec for eating...ex: A quelle heure es-ce qu'on va becter?" --Bernard Dolivet's reply to the 2008 post Pris de Bec
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE...
by Kristin Espinasse
"Monsieur Sticky Pits"
After Wednesday's lovers spat, when each of us had stormed off to a random boudoir (a room where one pouts), I realized my husband had scored by getting our spacious and cozy bedroom whilst I was left to sulk beside the bidet in the bathroom!
There in my étroit chamber of self-righteousness anger soon turned to ennui, and boredom, for me, often leads to an attack of the munchies. I remembered the fresh-baked French yogurt cake still cooling in the oven, and suddenly gluttony overcame pride.
Only, what if Jean-Marc were to come out of hiding, too? How now to cross the war zone in dignity? Now that my stone face had turned into a dopey pie face I was losing credibility as Mrs Mad-at-You. Leave the room now and risk not being able to keep a straight face. More close to laughing, now, than to crying, all I wanted at this point was to let this whole thing blow over in time for cake!
And yet, sitting there on the closed toilet seat, the hunger for righteousness was still slightly stronger than the hunger for gâteau, so I waited things out a while longer, amusing myself with a visual tour of our bathroom....
There was the fresh garden rosemary I had piled against the wall (to hide the unpainted pipes from our visitors). And there was the empty laundry basket (harrumph! look who is on top of the chores around here!). And there, on the edge of the sink, was my small can of hairspray. That's odd. Why was the hairspray out? I don't remember using it....
And then it dawned on me: my husband had mistaken my hairspray for his aerosol deodorant. Ah là là! Revenge is sweet!
Did you remember this story? It's from the 2015 blog archives.
la paix = peace
la prise de bec = argument
le boudoir = woman's room for pouting, little office (also a "ladyfinger" or finger-shaped cookie)
le bidet = sink for washing your bottom
étroit = confined
l'ennui (m) = lack of interest, boredom
le gâteau = cake
Need to order some revenge hairspray? Stock up here. And, men, to play it safe, get stick or even crystal deodorant. Don't be Mister Sticky Pits!
Finally, if you get so mad (these boots are made for walking mad), then do it in style--in a pair of stylish espadrilles! Finally, here are some nice pouting chairs (much more comfy that sulking on the toilet! This one even has storage--you could hide your snacks there!
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi