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French Expression of the Day: avoir la flemme

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French Expression of the Day: avoir la flemme
Photo: Depositphotos
09:48 CET+01:00
This French expression has nothing to do with having a sore throat and a sinus infection.
Why do I need to know avoir la flemme?
 
Although this might sound like something you would say if you have the beginnings of a nasty cold, this phrase actually means you are unlikely to leave the house for a different reason: laziness.
 
What does avoir la flemme mean?
 
La flemme is derived from the latin word phlegma meaning phlegm or humour, and in French this word has taken on a meaning closer to the latter definition.
 
If you avoir la flemme (de faire quelque chose) it means you are in no humour to do anything because you can’t be bothered.
 
La flemme itself translates as ‘laziness’.
 
You might say, for example, Je ne veux pas faire le ménage. J’ai la flemme. (I don’t want to clean the house. I can’t be bothered.)
 
It could also translate as the milder ‘I don’t feel like it’, as long as a strong sense of apathy is still taken into account.
 
So if you say, J’ai la flemme de travailler aujourd’hui (I don’t feel like working today) it’s clear that rather than doing something exciting, you probably just want to spend the day sleeping or watching TV on the sofa instead.
 
And if you meet someone who has been overtaken by this kind of indifference to activity?
 
You might say quelle flemme! (how lazy!) to try and snap them out of it, or simply accept that they feeling paresseux/paresseuse (lazy) and leave them to it.
 
Alternatives
 
Avoir la flemme is an informal expression and a slightly more polite, although still fairly blunt, way to say you don’t feel like doing something would be: Je n’ai pas envie as in je n’ai pas envie de travailler aujourd’hui. (I don’t feel like working today.)
 
How can I use avoir la flemme?
 
J'ai la flemme d'y aller.
 
I can’t be bothered to go.
 
Je ne suis pas sorti de chez moi hier, j'ai eu la flemme. 
 
I didn’t go out last night. I couldn’t be bothered.
 
(The above examples are from wordreference.com)
 
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