le miel
un terrain

Le cerveau: the word for brain in French

Max in St. Tropez France
Max, back when he was nine, at a friend's house in St. Tropez.

Note: the following post was written in 2005.
My son Max seems to be over "le syndrome de la page blanche" or "writer's block." Today he muses about the brain. Find his column below, in French and English.

le cerveau
(sair-voh) noun, masculine

    1. brain; mind; mastermind

Letter From a Young Frenchman
9-year-old Max reports...

Est-ce que vous savez pourquoi Dieu à inventé la peau, les os etc? C'est parce qu'un cerveau, ça ne se balade pas tout seul dans la rue! Alors Dieu a crée les veines pour faire circuler le sang, les os pour qu'on tienne debout, les pieds pour marcher, les yeux pour qu'on puisse voir, le nez pour sentir, la bouche pour parler, les oreilles pour entendre, la force pour prendre quelque chose, les mains pour qu'on puisse attraper ces choses... et la peau pour couvrir tout ça!

*   *   *
In English: Do you know why God invented the skin, the bones and the rest? Because a brain doesn't just go walking down the street like that! And so God created veins to circulate the blood, bones, so that we can stand up straight, feet for walking, eyes, so that we can see, the nose, so that we can breathe, the mouth, so that we can talk, the ears, so that we can hear, strength, so that we can take something, hands, so that we can pick something up, and skin, to cover all that!


un rhume de cerveau = a head cold
un homme à cerveau étroit = a shallow-brained, empty-headed man
avoir le cerveau dérangé / fêlé
= to be deranged, mad, cracked, nuts
un cerveau brûlé = a hothead
le cerveau d'une entreprise
= the head of a company
c'est un cerveau = he or she is a real brain
la fuite de cerveaux = brain drain
un cerveau de mouche = fly-brained (absent-minded)
un demi-cerveau
= a half brain (a dumb blond, an airhead)

French Proverb:
Est bien fou du cerveau, Qui veut contenter tout le monde et son père.
He who tries to please the world and his father is a little crazy in the head.

French town of Buisson France platain plane trees
The French town of Buisson beneath winter's claws.

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Jules Greer

Hi Honey, I don't remember this post from the past...I am so glad you are posting these for review. Of course, MAX IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GRANDSON IN THE UNIVERSE !!!

Sandy Maberly

Looks like Max has his mother's flair for writing :-) Perhaps we shall see more of his "stories" from time to time??

Marianne Rankin

Do Max and Jackie speak English more than a little? It seems here that Max knows it pretty well. If circumstances permit, as they do in your family's case, it's ideal for children to grow up bilingual, or at least with a good command of two languages.


Max...you are so smart and funny and I LOVE the idea that "brains" can't simply go walking down the street on their own...how would we ever recognise each other if they did! :)


Thank you, Gretel. I've just read your comment to Max, who'd like to add that he was 8 or 9 when he wrote that. Hmmm, maybe we can get him to write another story... this time from a 13-year-old's perspective!


PS: re "do the kids speak English more than a little" : Jackie says she speaks English "moyen" ("so so")and Max says he sometimes has to search for his (English) words.


How delightful to find this story by Max. I love it. I can see the beginnings of a childrens' book, it's about a little brain who knew it existed and could think and oh, if only he could get around in the world and play and go to school, etc....so, voila! les pieds, les mains the bones, etc, all come about. Anyway. Merci, Max, vous avez une bonne imagination et je pense que vous etes une "natural" writer.

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