French word of the day: bah

French word of the day: bah
Photo: Depositphotos
It is impossible to go through a day in France without using this very useful and versatile little word. It is the verbal equivalent of a dismissive shrug or hesitant incomprehension.

Why do I need to know bah?

Bah will make you sound as French as the French, particularly if you deliver it with your eyebrows raised, your hands turned palms upwards and your mouth formed so that both corners are pointed to the floor. Or with your eyes wide open and an expression of complete perplexity.

What does it mean?

Bah can mean ‘I know everything’ or ‘I know nothing’, it all depends on the delivery and context.

Say it quickly and you can sound dismissively confident. However, you can also say it quickly to sound genuinely surprised. It can also be stretched out to demonstrate just how sceptical and incredulous you are. Or indeed how dubious you are. Everything depends on your facial expression.

How is it pronounced?

Exactly how it looks. Find your inner sheep and baa with the best of them.


Baaaah oui…. 'But of course, you are a fool for asking this question'. Or 'I think so….' (showing your hesitation)

Bah oui! 'Yes!' (showing the answer is blatantly obvious)

Bah oui? 'Goodness me! Is that really true?'

For more French Expressions and French Words of the Day you can CLICK HERE to see our full list

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.