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Word of the Day: Jour J

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Word of the Day: Jour J
15:30 CEST+02:00
Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of Jour J. But what exactly does it mean and where does it come from?
Why do I need to know Jour J?
 
Jour J has a very specific meaning to describe a certain event in history but it is also used as an expression in everyday conversation. 
 
So, what does it mean?
 
Jour J is the French equivalent of D-Day - the 75th anniversary of which is being commemorated this week.
 
Both the French and English words were created by the military to mean the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. Thursday marks 75 years since Jour J when the Normandy Landings, which launched the Western Allied effort to liberate France from Nazi Germany, began. 
 
However it is also used to describe other important days in military history. 
 
The military use the terms to refer to operations when either the day has not been decided or when secrecy is crucial to the action going ahead as planned. 
 
 
Like D-Day in English, Jour J is used figuratively in everyday conversation to refer to a big event, and in both languages the stand alone letters 'J' and 'D' do not stand for anything but are simply taken from the words Jour and Day. 
 
For example, Ce dimanche, c'est le jour J des élections. - 'This Sunday is the day of the elections'.
 
Unlike in English however, the French also use linked military expressions to mean the build up, or days following, an important event. 
 
For example, in French you can describe three days before a big events a J-3, or similarly two days or one day before as J-2 and J-1, respectively. You can do the same for the days following the event, such as J+3, J+2 and J+1. 
 
This is something you often see used by the French press, as in the following headline from Le Point about the women's football world cup: Mondial-2019: à J-3, Macron passe ses consignes aux Bleues - 'World Cup 2019: Three days before, Macron gives his instructions to les Bleues'. 
 
 
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