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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: connerie

The Scottish actor Sean Connery is no doubt reminded of what his name means every time he visits France. 'Connerie' might be spelt a little differently but it sounds the same, and the star probably thanks the heavens that he is not French with a surname like that.

French Word of the Day: connerie
Photo: Depositphotos

Why do I need to know connerie?

It’s one of those French slang words that you're unlikely to be taught in school but which is used all the time by native speakers, and is extremely handy for expressing disapproval or disbelief at the stupidity of others.

What does it mean?

Connerie, which is probably best not used in polite company, has a whole range of equivalent words in English, all of which are negative.

La connerie simply means stupidity or a stupid thing.

Faire une connerie means to do something bloody stupid or to screw up. Je crois que j’ai fait une connerie can be translated as 'I think I’ve done something stupid'.

If you want to complain about the stupidity of reckless drivers you can sigh wearily and remark on la connerie des chauffards.

Ce sont des conneries! is useful when listening to fools or extremist politicians or other purveyors of untruths: it simply means 'That’s bullshit'.

A naughty child can be reprimanded with the phrase Arrête tes conneries! ('Stop being silly/fooling around', or 'Cut the crap' if you want to be a little harsher).

The plural form conneries has a host of possible and very useful translations. These include 'balderdash', 'rubbish', 'baloney', 'drivel', 'piffle', 'empty talk', 'rot', 'hot air', 'prattle'… We could go on. But you’ve likely got the picture by now.

Alternatives

Instead of saying connerie, you could use bêtise, which means much the same thing but is arguably a little less offensive.

Origin

The word derives from the word 'con,' the literal translation of which means a woman’s sexual organs and the English word for which is definitely not safe to be used at work.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: C’est le box

This French expression has little to do with storage devices.

French Expression of the Day: C’est le box

Why do I need to know c’est le box?

Because you might have described your adolescent bedroom this way.

What does it mean?

C’est le box roughly pronounced say luh box – comes from the longer expression c’est le boxon, and does not have to do with a container to store things. In reality, c’est le box means either literally or figuratively that something is a mess or disaster.

It is a synonym for the more commonly used French expression c’est le bordel

Both are slang terms that border on being vulgar, are originally references to brothels, and describe disorder or disarray.

The word boxon first appeared in the early 1800s in the form of bocson, which meant cabaret and later “house of tolerance”. Its origins are disputed, but over the past two centuries it has come to be synonymous with a “place of debauchery” and later messiness and disorder.

You can also say “Quel box!” or “Quel Boxon!” to mean “What a mess!” or “What a disaster!”

If you are looking for a less vulgar way to describe a mess, you could instead say “c’est le bazar”.

Use it like this

C’est quand la dernière fois que tu as nettoyé ta chambre ? C’est le box ici. – When was the last time you cleaned your room? It is a disaster in here.

Je ne suis pas la seule personne qui pense que c’est le boxon dans cette ville en ce moment. – I’m not the only person who thinks this city is a mess right now.

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