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Untranslatable – pied-à-terre

1 February 2019

LES INTRADUISIBLES : pied-à-terre Ready for this month’s Intraduisible? A “pied-à-terre” is a second residence that’s far away from your original one. It… Read More

Untranslatable – Tartiner

2 January 2019

“Tartiner” means to spread a substance on a piece of bread or toast. You could “tartine” just about anything onto your slice: cheese, honey, butter...the… Read More

Untranslatable – Crapoter

28 November 2018

“Crapoter” is a very interesting little word, meaning “to fake smoke”. It is when someone doesn’t inhale the smoke while smoking a cigarette but puffs… Read More

Unstranslatable – Spleen

18 July 2018

Given the etymology of "spleen", it is likely that many of you will never have encountered this term! The word was coined in the 19th… Read More

Intraduisible #24 Coup de

26 June 2018

'Coup de [qqc]' is a useful French phrase to describe those sudden, out-of-the-blue moments that trigger a certain feeling, such as love or tiredness. Read More

Intraduisible #22 Dizaine

22 March 2018

The French noun une dizaine is modified by the suffix ‘-aine’, which is used to convey the idea of an approximation in quantity. Read More

Intraduisible #21

26 February 2018

The verb mitonner, which means ‘to cook up slowly’, can also be used in an informal context to talk about someone who is preparing or… Read More

Intraduisible #20

23 January 2018

Derived from the noun nombril, meaning ‘navel’ or ‘belly button’, and the adjectival suffix -iste, the term nombriliste refers to someone who thinks only of… Read More

Intraduisible #19

18 December 2017

Don’t you think that the adjective frileux, with its harsh ‘f’ and tremulous ‘r’, evokes the exact feeling of a shiver, and then captures it… Read More

Intraduisible #18

22 November 2017

Mise-en-abyme is one of those expressions that seems to crop up all the time, especially in academic writing, but whose meaning is a bit of… Read More

Intraduisible #17

9 November 2017

The adjective décomplexé is taken from the infinitive form décomplexer, whose meaning is formed from the prefix dé-, connoting removal or separation, and the noun… Read More


4 July 2016

The French noun piston, often found in the expression (se faire) pistonner, is an informal way of describing the preferential treatment received by an individual… Read More

Intraduisible #15

31 May 2016

LES « INTRADUISIBLES » Too French for translation… #15 GOURMANDISE The French have a specific term to capture this love of good food: gourmandise. Read More

Intraduisible #14

2 May 2016

#14 CARTONNER The French verb cartonner and faire un carton have several meanings, but in the last few decades they have evolved to encompass a… Read More

Intraduisible #13

30 April 2016

LES « INTRADUISIBLES » Too French for translation… #13 L'ESPRIT D'ESCALIER English is yet to create any counterpart for this useful French term. Read More

Intraduisible #12

18 April 2016

INTRADUISIBLE #12 "Sortable" Too French for translation... "Sortable" is an adjective used exclusively in its negative form "pas sortable" to illustrate numerous different shortfalls in… Read More


25 March 2016

LES « INTRADUISIBLES » Too French for translation… #9 FUTE-FUTE This informal turn of phrase is found almost exclusively in the expression, ‘il/elle n’est pas… Read More

Intraduisibles #5

12 February 2016

LES « INTRADUISIBLES » Too French for translation… #5 DÉBROUILLARD A positive adjective of great versatility in the French language. Read More

Intraduisibles #4

3 February 2016

LES « INTRADUISIBLES » Too French for translation… #4 RETROUVAILLES For this noun captures the irrepressible joy experienced when you meet someone again after being… Read More


7 October 2015

#2 FLÂNER Perhaps the most Parisian of all French words, flâner originates from the Old Norse ‘flana’, meaning, ‘to get into something heedlessly’. Read More


30 September 2015

LES "INTRADUISIBLES". Too French for translation... #1 Dépaysement Learn French with Babylangues. Read More


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