baba cool


Thank you! (A jug of thanks, and more, in today's story column.)

Note: the book section (in the left and right columns) changes "thrice-weekly" along with each new post. Look for French-themed novels, short stories, grammar books and more!

pot (poh) noun, masculine
    : pot, jug, can, tin, jar

[from low Latin "potus" (a pot), from the classical Latin "potus" (drink)]

"Un pot" can refer to a farewell party and "avoir du pot" means "to be lucky". There are over a dozen more terms and expressions at the end of this letter. Would you like to help to translate one or two? Thank you for sharing your answers in the comments box.

(Mini dialogue):
Me: Jean-Marc, do you have a minute to record tomorrow's word?
JM: I do... but I think people would appreciate hearing your voice from time to time.
Me: (gulps) Thanks for the encouragement.... (secretly relieved there are no French "r's" in today's word or expression):

Audio File: Listen to today's word and to this expression "pot à lait"
Download pot.mp3
. Download pot.wav

On Friday I asked readers to send my mom a virtual flower... and to share the French word for the flower-in-question. If the French equivalent was not known (for it isn't necessary to speak French -- or even to have a dictionary handy to participate), readers were encouraged to just go ahead and send in
their favorite fleur* for Jules. Meantime, as promised, I began to translate those first few terms that arrived via the comments box, where a lovely bouquet began to take shape....

Then a "black-eyed Susan" arrived... and just as I was considering "Les Yeux Noirs de Suzanne" (giddy to learn the name of a favorite flower... never mind that I had the French all wrong...), Jules fired up her computer, clicked over to her daughter's blog, and discovered her floral surprise! Mom quickly responded (via the petal-packed comments box) with a simple, tearful, ALL-CAPS remerciement.*  From that point on, my worries turned from flower translations... to how I, too, might thank you for all of the exotic and lovely flower combinations. From a poetic "Sahuaro blossoms floating in a clay bowl full of desert rain-water"... to those quirky "Kangaroo paws" (and, just this morning, a "une primevère de Mumbai"*), Jules's virtual bouquet grew and, as Mom would add, via all-caps, GREW!

In view of the unexpected response, I spent the weekend obsessing about how to express a heartfelt thanks for making my mom's wish come true.... until Aunt-Marie Françoise arrived on Sunday afternoon with a "pot à lait"* and, in-so-doing, unwittingly put a stop to my flower frenzy. The old-fashioned milk pail (a gift from her), with its muted aluminum body and unadorned handle, helped me to remember that a "thank you" needn't be polished like gold. The humble "pot à lait" hinted that a simple "merci beaucoup" is sometimes all it takes... to say thanks.

To Marie-Françoise's pot, I've added few branches of wild rosemary (collected from our afternoon walk through the garrigue*) and string of non-edible red berries for a Thank You composition (see today's photo) prepared just for you! And because Jules would love the chance to "vous re-remercier"*,
I've added a quince from her "collection"... I'll tell you THAT story another time.
PS: Did you miss the "baba cool" edition and want to send Mom a flower? Don't forget to mention the city from which you are sending your virtual fleur:

une fleur
(f) = flower; un remerciement (m) = thanks, thanking; une primevère (f) de Mumbai = a primrose from Mumbai; un pot (m) à lait = milk jug; la garrigue (f) = Mediterranean scrubland; vous re-remercier = to thank you again

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...Here's where you pitch in... and help to build our French Word Community

Terms to translate & to discuss via the comments box:

un petit pot (for baby...)
un pot de chambre
un plant en pot
un pot de colle
un pot à eau
un pot d'adieu
un pot de départ
un pot de terre
un coup de pot
plein pot (rouler plein pot)
un pot à bière
le pot d'échappement
le pot-au-feu
le pot-de-vin
le pot-de-vinier
poule au pot
le pot aux roses
le pot de yaourt
le pot au noir
la pot-bouille
(may be an old term...)
le pot à feu

un pot d'accueil
...and what about le pot-pourri?

  avoir du pot
  manquer de pot
  tourner autour du pot
  payer plein pot
  payer les pots cassés
  tourner autour du pot
  "C'est le pot de terre contre le pot de fer"
  découvrir le pot aux roses
  mettre la poule au pot
  sourd comme un pot

Proverbs :
  On fait de bonne soupe dans un vieux pot.
  Un pot fêlé dure longtemps.

... don't forget to check back to the comments box for insights into these expressions. Many thanks for your translations and comments regarding these idioms and terms related to the French word "pot".

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un petit pot = a jar of baby food
le pot au feu = beef stew (special from France)
le pot de yaourt = a single serving container of yogurt
un pot de chambre = a chamber pot

An expression that my ex-husband used frequently, that I don't see here is: "boire un pot" which means to have a drink (of alcohol when he used it).


un pot d'amitie

Jules Greer

Hi Honey (Kristi),

I know its early here in Mexico, but are
you actually talking about POT here on your
blog. I'll re-read your story after some coffee and send you a word.





Re: your POT comment:

It's funny how "herb" is the last thing that comes to mind when I see the word "pot"... and how it is the first thing that you think of on seeing the same word. You are beginning to give yourself away as a former (former?) baba cool.



Here's one of my favorite "pot" words: les pots de crême. They are individual baked chocolate (and sometimes other flavors) custard desserts served in ramekins.


tourner autour du pot - to beat around the bush

payer les pots cassés - to pick up the pieces

un pot de terre contre un pot de fer - someone weak up against someone strong (the pot de terre is a clay pot, against an iron pot, un pot de fer)

Jan Marquardt

Hi Jules and Kristin,
I don't think all the posts from last week went through because I sent you blue Morning Glories from Illinois and just checked to see if anyone knew the French name for them but can't find the entry. Kristin, do you know what they are called in France, if they grow there?


Mais...did he show up les fleurs a la main?
I'm dying of curiosity!

Jules Greer

Hi Dana,
When I departed for my 5 week visit to France the air was a little COOL in this
hot Mexican climate. You know what babies
men can be when the wife departs on R&R.
John was 15 minutes late to pick me up, and
no there weren't any flowers in his arms,
but as i approached him through the parking
lot he threw his arms wide open to welcome me home. NOTE: THERE WERE A DOZEN (RED FOR LOVE) ROSES AT HOME WAITING FOR ME.




Jan: Thank you for the blue morning glory -- a favorite flower... and a favorite French word: "ipomée". Isn't that fun to say?

Thank you all for the translations and, Passante, for the pots de crême: mmm mmm!


prendre un pot = have a drink


And let's not forget the "Pot au noir," maritime slang for the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), more commonly called "the doldrums" in English.


Morning glories: belles de jour (they close at night). Belles de nuit...


un petit pot: baby's potty
"Fais un petit pipi dans le petit pot, mon petitcoco."

Tu as un très joli accent du soleil en français!

Stewart Paterson

leslie said:
tourner autour du pot - to beat around the bush

I'd always assumed that this referenced a "chamber pot" and was similar to the American expression "shit or get off the pot"

Similar id the french expression "oui ou merde!"


UN POT DE YAOURT = a pot of yogurt
UN POT DE CONFITURE = a jar of jam
UN POT DE MARMELADE = a jar of marmalade
UN POT DE COLLE = a pot of glue - also means “leech” (fig.)
UN POT DE PEINTURE = a tin of paint
UN POT À EAU = a water jug
UN POT D'ACCUEIL = a welcoming party
UN POT D'ADIEU = a farewell party
UNE PLANTE EN POT = a potted plant
UN POT DE FLEURS = a flowerpot

UN POT-AU-FEU = dish of boiled beef with vegetables (comes from name of large “marmite” (pot hung over open fire) in which beef & veg used to be cooked.
UN POT À FEU = decorative pottery shaped like a vase with flame on top.
UN POT-DE-VIN = a bribe!!!
LE POT D'ÉCHAPPEMENT = the exhaust pipe
UN COUP DE POT = a stroke of luck

UN POT-POURRI = Natural perfume for the house made with dried petals of roses or other flowers, mixed with spices, a few drops of essential oil - and kept in an open container for their fragrance.
- in music, = a medley

LE POT À LAIT (de Tante Marie-Françoise) = a milk can as seen on the lovely photo at the top - to carry fresh milk bought directly at the farm.

Thanks for this lovely photo, Kristin! ... What a nice composition!


Expressions not translated so far:
MANQUER DE POT = to be unlucky
PAYER PLEIN POT = to pay full price
PARTIR PLEIN POT = to be off like a shot
TOUCHER DES POTS-DE-VIN = to take bribes
ETRE SOURD COMME UN POT = to be as deaf as a post
DÉCOUVRIR LE POT AUX ROSES = to find out what has been going on

(LA POULE AU POT = chicken casserole)
The story of “mettre la poule au pot” goes back to the time of King Henri IV (16th Century) who wanted everyone in his kingdom to be able to afford “a chicken in the pot” every Sunday!

(in games) RAMASSER LE POT = to win the kitty


In French, "Morning Glories" are also called "VOLUBILIS" (pronounce the “s”). Latin: ipomea purpurea
They used to be my mother's favourite flowers. I think it's partly due to a popular song “La petite église”, where “volubilis” were hiding the entrance of the “église au fond d'un hameau" (the church at the bottom of a hamlet”) – song sung by Jean Lumière when she was 21... and Tino Rossi sung it too!... so...
I think the word VOLUBILIS, with the lengthening of the last syllable "lis", sounds extremely graceful!

Jules Greer

I just love your comments, I'm hoping to get
my notebook this week and start learning
French. As you already know the only reason
I have been reading French-Word-A-Day was to find out what was happening in Kristi's
life. Thanks again for inspiring me to learn
a phrase or two. XOXO - JULES


Mom, I just thanked Newforest, too, but I suspect that you are back in this comments box... sniffing around for more "misplaced" flowers to add to your bouquet (after several ended up in the mouchoir-pouchoir box). That right?

Jules Greer

Hi HONEY, you are right, i found a "bunch"
ha-ha of flowers strewn all over your comments. Of course you can read my mind,
but always remember i have eyes in the back of my head regarding you and i also sense your thoughts. XOXO MOM

Marianne Rankin

"tourner autour du pot" means, not exactly to beat around the bush, but to get a bit sidetracked, not to go directly to what you are after, or to say succinctly what you mean, or even quite address the topic at hand (a college French professor used this expression with his students).


I read your book on the plane on my way to the Cote d'Azur and found the approach to learning vocabulaire tres helpful. Maintenant, I'll continue my education on this website. Merci beaucoup!

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