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Entries from October 2004

cuire

Barbara is back with her column "A Look at French Culinary Expressions." Whether you read it in French or in English, ne le ratez pas (don't miss it!)

cuire (kweer) verb
1. to cook

........................
Expressions:

laisser quelqu'un cuire dans son jus = to let someone stew in their juices = to let them deal with their own problems

........................
Proverb

Jamais l'affamé ne fait trop cuire son pain.
A starving man never overcooks his bread.

..............................................................
A Look at French Culinary Expressions

by Barbara Barles

Puisqu'on dit en français que l'appétit vient en mangeant, et que vous semblez avoir bien digéré les expressions de la semaine dernière, en voici encore quelques-unes en plat de résistance:

In English
Since we say in French "the appetite comes while eating," and as you seem to have digested last week's expressions, here are a few more for the main course:

- Avoir la pêche (ou la frite):
"To have the peach" (or the fry, as in potato):
= être en super forme = to be in great form (to be fit as a
fiddle)

- Ne plus avoir un radis:
"To no longer have a radish"
= ne plus avoir un sou = to be out of money

- Etre le dindon de la farce:
"To be the turkey of the stuffing"
être la victime, la dupe, de quelque chose ou de quelqu'un.
= to be the victim, the dupe, of something or someone

-Ne pas mettre tous ses oeufs dans le même panier:
"To not put all one's eggs in the same basket"
ne pas mettre tous ses espoirs dans la même affaire.
= to not put all one's hopes in the same affair.

- Aller se faire cuire un oeuf:
"To go and cook oneself an egg"
= aller se faire voir, se débrouiller tout seul = "to go and be seen,"
to do something oneself

- Avoir les pieds en compote:
To have the feet in compote (stewed fruit)
(when one's feet feel like jelly)
=avoir très mal aux pieds = to have sore feet

- Se prendre une prune:
"To get oneself a plum"
= prendre une amende, une contravention = to get a ticket, a fine

- Avoir des oursins dans les poches:
To have sea urchins in one's pockets
= être près de ses sous = to be close to one's money (to be tight,
cheap)

- Faire la soupe à la grimace:
"To make grimace soup"
= être fâché = to be angry

- Etre couvert comme un oignon:
"To be covered like an onion"
= porter plusieurs épaisseurs de vêtements.
= to wear many thick layers of clothes

- Faire le poireau:
"To do the leek" (to be planted somewhere, like a leek)
= attendre = to wait

- Mettre la main à la pâte:
"To put the hand to the dough"
= participer, aider = to participate, to help out

Bon appétit !! Enjoy your meal!!

Read about this French life, and living in Provence: click on the book cover below:

Book

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
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un terrain

Roc d'Azur race (c) Kristin Espinasseun terrain (teh-rehn) noun, masculine

1. ground
2. land
3. plot, site
4. terrain

Also:
un terrain = a piece of land
le terrain gras = rich soil
un terrain vague = a vacant lot
un terrain de sport = an athletic field
un terrain de golf = a golf course
un terrain de jeu(x) = a playground
VTT (velo tout terrain) = a mountain bike

.........................
Expressions:
trouver un terrain d'entente = to find a common ground
être sur son terrain = to be on familiar ground
céder/gagner/perdre du terrain = to give/gain/lose ground
apprendre sur le terrain = to learn on the job

.........................
Citation du Jour:

Le microbe n'est rien. Le terrain est tout.
The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything.
--Louis Pasteur

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

(The story that originally appeared here, with the vocabulary below, is now part of this book!)

....................
*References: un sourire (m) = a smile; C'est l'apocalypse. Ce n'est pas la peine de venir = It's the apocalypse (here), no use coming; vététistes (nmf) = mountain biker; bloc de départ (m) = the starting block; le maillot (m) = jersey (race) shirt; le mien = mine; la bonne chance (f) = good luck; allez! = go for it!; un parcours (m) = course, route; Dame Nature = Lady Nature; fringant (adj.) = dashing

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
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le cerveau

IMG_5454
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!


Expressions:
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.

IMG_2740
The French town of Buisson beneath winter's claws.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
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le miel

Cotignac_shop_mode_2

le miel (myel) noun, masculine
1. honey

adjective:
mielleux (feminine: mielleuse) = unctuous, honeyed, sugary.

.....................
Expressions:

une lune de miel = a honeymoon
des paroles de miel = honeyed words, sweet nothings
doux comme le miel = sweet like honey
faire son miel de quelque chose = to profit from something (an idea,
information) lit: "to make one's honey from something"
être tout sucre, tout miel = to be polite in an exaggerated or hypocritical way

.........................
Citation du Jour:

Même quand on l'a perdu, l'amour qu'on a connu vous laisse un goût de miel. L'amour, c'est éternel!

Even when you have lost it, the love that you have known leaves a taste of honey. Love is eternal! --Edith Piaf

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

(The story that originally appeared here is now a part of the book "Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France.")

To read more stories about this French life, click on the book cover below:

Book

....................
*References: c'est-à-dire = that is (to say); la confiture (f) = jam; le paysage (m) = landscape, scenery; le centre ville (m) = the town center; une impasse (f) = a dead end; la Mairie (f) = the Town Hall; mort = dead; la balade (f) = walk; la blanquette de veau (f) = veal stew in white sauce; le poulet (m) = chicken; le plat du jour (m) = the day's special; le patron (la patronne) = the owner; une âme (f) = soul; rocher (m) = a rock; le vin rosé (m) = rosé wine

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
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redoubler

My daughter Jackie (7-years-old) has updated her column this week. Don't miss these "Thoughts of a Little Girl from France." (The English version follows the French.)

redoubler (ruh-doo-blay) verb
1. to increase, to intensify, to step up, to redouble
2. to repeat a year (school)

Also:
un redoublant (une redoublante) = a student who repeats a grade.

..................
Expressions:

redoubler d'efforts = to strive harder than ever
redoubler une classe = to repeat a year or a grade, to be held back
redoubler de prudence/de vigilance = to be extra careful/vigilant
redoubler le chagrin de quelqu'un = to add to someone's grief

..........................
Citation du Jour:

C'est le naturel du coeur humain de redoubler ses efforts pour retenir le bien qu'on lui ôte.

It is natural for the human heart to strive to keep the good that has been taken away from it. --Bossuet

..............................................................
Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France...

Il y a une fille à mon école qui est méchante. Elle est plus grande que moi et elle est dans ma classe. Normalement, elle va au CE2, mais cette année elle redouble.

Cette fille, elle nous pousse et elle nous dit des gros mots. Quand je joue avec sa petite protégée, et que je coiffe ses cheveux, elle n'aime pas ça et elle lui dit:

"Ce soir tu auras les cheveux tout embrouillés."

Moi je ne dis rien mais elle, elle est toujours méchante. Quand les gens sont méchants avec nous, il faut courir et s'en aller.

In English:

There is a girl at my school who is mean. She is bigger than me and she's in my class. Normally, she goes to 3rd Grade, but this year she's repeating 2nd Grade.

This girl pushes us and says cusswords. When I play with her favorite friend, styling her hair, she doesn't like that and she tells her:

"Tonight your hair will be all tangled up!"

As for me, I say nothing, but she is still mean. When people are mean to us, we must run, and go away.


...................
Post Note: Re-reading Jackie's story aloud to her, she stopped me on a few words. Here follows that episode:

Moi: (encountering the word "redoubler") "ray doo blay"...
Jackie: "C'est 'ruh' pas 'ray'.* Je te dis mille fois!* 'Ruh' et pas 'ray'!"
Moi: (moving on to paragraph two) "em bree yay"...
Jackie: BROO! BROO! C'est 'em broo yay'. Tu l'as presque eu, maman.*

*References: C'est = it's; Je te dis mille fois = I've told you a thousand times; Tu l'as presque eu, maman = You almost had it, mom

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
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bouffer

Don't miss today's column "Food-Related French Expressions" for an insight into some charming and useful French sayings. Read it in French and/or English.

bouffer (boo-fay) verb
1. to eat
2. to consume
3. to absorb
4. to puff out

Example
Une bagnole qui bouffe beaucoup d'essence = a car that guzzles gas

Also:
la bouffe = food (informal)
la malbouffe = bad grub, junkfood

............................
Expressions:
se bouffer le nez = to dispute with someone; to argue
se faire bouffer = to get creamed (defeated, in sports)
se laisser bouffer par son travail = to be swallowed up by one's work
faire bouffer ses cheveux = to add volume/fullness to one's hair
bouffer du curé, du flic... = to be extremely anticlerical, anti-cop

..............................
Citation du Jour:

Le basket, c'est bien; parce que, vu l'état de la bouffe actuellement, je ne vois pas ce qui nous reste d'autre qu'un ballon à mettre dans un panier.

Basketball is good; because, having seen the state of food today, I don't know what's left for us to put into a basket other than a ball. --Laurent Ruquier

......................................................................
Food Related French Expressions

by Barbara Barles

Tout le monde sait qu'une des préoccupations majeures des français concerne l'alimentation... ou "la bouffe" comme on dit chez nous!

C'est peut-être pour cette raison qu'il existe en français autant d'expressions relatives à la nourriture et à ce qui se mange en général. Je vous en propose ici quelques-unes. D'autres pourront suivre si vous avez encore faim!

* * * *

Everyone knows that one of the major preoccupations with the French concerns food.... or "la bouffe" as we say here.

It is perhaps for this reason that there are so many French expressions related to food and to what is eaten in general. I propose a few for you here. Others will follow if you are still hungry!

La moutarde me monte au nez:
"The mustard is getting up my nose"
(= I'm beginning to get angry...)

Tomber dans les pommes: "To fall into the apples" = s'évanouir (to pass out)

Se mêler de ses oignons: "To mind one's own onions"
s'occuper de ses affaires, ne pas se mêler de celles des autres = (to mind one's own business, not to get mixed up in other people's business)

Mi figue-mi raisin: "Half fig-half grape"
Se dit de quelque chose, d'un sentiment mitigé, ambigu, moitié bien, moitié mal. / to speak of mixed, ambiguous feelings, half good, half bad also: wry (smile); a half-humorous, wry remark;

Mettre du beurre dans les épinards:
"To put some butter into one's spinach" = améliorer ses revenus, sa situation / to improve one's financial situation

Donner du lard (ou de la confiture) aux cochons:
"To give fat (or jam) to the pigs" = donner quelque chose à quelqu'un qui ne le mérite pas, qui n'est pas
en mesure de l'apprécier. / To give something to someone who does not deserve it, who is not capable of appreciating it.

Mettre de l'eau dans son vin:
"To put water in one's wine" = se radoucir, se modérer. To moderate oneself

Avoir du pain sur la planche:
"To have bread on the cutting board" avoir beaucoup de travail à faire / to have a lot of work to do

En avoir gros sur la patate:
être triste, avoir du chagrin / to be sad, chagrined

Etre soupe au lait:
"To be milk soup" (the image of soupe boiling over from the addition of milk) = se vexer, s'énerver facilement / to be easily irrited, angered, vexed

Chanter comme une patate:
"To sing like a spud" or "To sing like a potato" (to sing badly)

Read stories about this French life, and living in Provence: click on the book cover below:

Book

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ Give $10    
♥ Give $25    
♥ Give the amount of your choice

To purchase our book-in-progress, click here.


un arbre

Arbre

un arbre (ar-bruh) noun, masculine
1. a tree

Also:
l'arbre généalogique = the family tree
un arbre fruitier = a fruit tree
l'arbre de Judée = Judas tree
l'arbre moteur = the driving shaft
l'arbre de Noël = the Christmas tree
l'arbre de vie = the tree of life

.........................
Expressions:

faire grimper quelqu'un à l'arbre = to pull someone's leg, to kid someone
couper l'arbre pour avoir le fruit = to sacrifice one's future for the (fleeting) present moment
faire l'arbre fourchu/droit = to do a handstand (with legs apart/together)
les arbres vous cachent la forêt = you can't see the forest for the trees
Tel arbre tel fruit = a tree is known by its fruits
l'arbre ne tombe pas du premier coup = (the tree doesn't fall from the first hit) = Rome wasn't built in a day

..................
Proverb

Entre l'arbre et l'écorce, il ne faut pas mettre le doigt.
Do not meddle in other people's affairs.

..........................
Today's Quote:

La vieillesse embellit tout : elle a l'effet du soleil couchant dans les beaux arbres d'octobre.

Old age beautifies everything: it has the effect of the setting sun on the beautiful trees of October. --Maurice Chapelan

.....................................
A Day in a French Life...

At the Nice Côte d'Azur airport, I left ma tante* and mon oncle* to catch their flight home to San Francisco.

My family from California visits each year, and the kids have a great time playing with their arrière tante* and oncle. That's right, playing. My uncle, who sometimes refers to himself as "une personne du troisième âge,"* climbs trees and hops fences with Max, who is ever enthusiastic to have an adult as a complice.* But these adventures can get sticky, as in the time they got the bright idea to climb the grand arbre* outside our last apartment.

Folding the laundry, I paused to look out the window and was soon horrified to see my uncle and then five-year-old son perched up high in a tree.

"Descendez tout de suite!"*

I ran down the stairs and out to le parking* to meet the spotted pair at the base of old pine. Both grimpeurs d'arbre* had tree sap stuck in their hair, chemises,* pantalons* and on the tips of their shoes. But before I could say "Regardez-vous!" they were off; this time in a great chase after le ballon de foot.*

....................
*References: une tante (f) = an aunt; un oncle (m) = an uncle; arrière tante = great aunt; une personne du troisième âge (f) = a senior citizen; un complice (m) = an accomplice, a partner-in-crime; un arbre (m) = a tree; Descendez tout de suite! = Get down right away!; le parking (m) = the parking lot; grimpeurs d'arbre = tree climbers; une chemise (f) = a shirt; un pantalon (m) = trousers, pants; regardez-vous! = look at you!; le ballon de foot (m) = the soccer ball

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
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merci

Thank you very much for your voluntary 2005 subscription to French Word-A-Day. Your support is a great help to this petit word enterprise!

Amicalement,

Kristin

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
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un mouton

Psst.... No word on Monday, see you all on Mardi* :-)

un mouton (moo-tohn) noun, masculine
1. sheep, sheepskin
2. mutton
3. fluff (dust); piece of fluff

Also:
moutonnier, ière = sheeplike

...................
Expressions:

compter les moutons = to count sheep
un ciel moutonné = a sky covered with little white clouds
doux comme un mouton = as gentle as a lamb
le mouton noir = the black sheep of the family
être un mouton = to be easily led (to go with the crowd)
un comportement moutonnier = to behave like sheep
revenons à nos moutons = let's get back to the subject
un mouton à cinq pattes = a rare bird (person)

.................
Proverb:

Mieux vaut vivre un jour comme un lion que cent ans comme un mouton.

Better to live one day as a lion than one hundred years as a sheep.
................................................
*References: le mardi = Tuesday

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
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