French Word of the Day: Vénère

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French Word of the Day: Vénère
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This French word comes in handy when you’re really angry.


Why do I need to know vénère?

Besides its ubiquity in everyday speech and protests, vénère is a good example of verlan, almost a dialect unto itself of French slang.

What does it mean?

Vénère - pronounced vehn-air - is a a verlan word, meaning that it is formed by inverting the syllables of another word.

Even the word verlan itself is created this way - the word (with article) l’envers, mean ‘the inverse’, has its syllables reversed as follows: l’envers -> vers-l’en -> ‘verlan’

This same method is applied to all sorts of words, creating a sort of sub-dialect of argot, of which vénère is a prime example. 

Vénère is verlan for énervé, meaning ‘irritated’, ‘angry’, or even ‘pissed off’ - the first and last ‘é’ are combined (énervé -> vé-éner -> vénère). It means ‘angry’ or ‘irritated’.

You should keep in mind that vénère is slang and probably not ideal for professional situations, so if you want to avoid the casual language, you can always just say énervé or en colère.

You may see the word vénère used by protesters. For example, students at the University of Paris Nanterre protested against the Macron government's 2018 higher education reform and called themselves Nanterre Vénère.


Use it like this

Je suis trop vénère, ta soeur m’a piqué mon mec ! - I’m really angry, your sister stole my man!

Son père était hyper vénère quand il a appris sa note au bac. - His dad was super pissed when he found out about his grade on the bac (end of high school exam).


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M.J. Wilkie 2023/06/02 17:21
Re "your sister stole my man," when will we stop blaming women for these circumstances. Isn't the man responsible for his actions? It seems like the more accurate way is, "my man left me."

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