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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: zarbi

Another in our series of verlan words... and you might even be tempted to use this one to describe the French argot.

French Word of the Day: zarbi
Photo: Depositphotos
Why do I need to know zarbi?
 
Zarbi is frequently used in everyday speech and protests and is a good example of verlan, almost a dialect unto itself of French slang. Using it might even give your French a little boost of street cred. 
 
Origins…
 
Zarbi is a verlan word, meaning that it is formed by inverting another word's syllables (for more on verlan, check out our recent word of the day vénère and our more in-depth analysis of this French argot).
 
In this case, that word is bizarre which is turned into zarbi as follows: bi – zarre => zarre – bi => zarbi
 
How do I use it?
 
Zarbi is the equivalent of saying 'bizarre', 'strange' or 'weird' in English. 
 
For example, you might hear J'ai vu un mec zarbi dans le bus. – I saw a weird guy on the bus.
 
Or, Il y avait beaucoup d'objets zarbis au marché aux puces. – There were many strange objects at the flea market.
 
 
 
 
 

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Faire trempette

You'll definitely need this phrase as the temperature rises.

French Expression of the Day: Faire trempette

Why do I need to know faire trempette?

Because you might need this phrase to describe that urge to jump in the water once the temperature hits a certain degree this summer.

What does it mean?

Faire trempette – usually pronounced fair trahm-pet – literally means ‘to make dipping sauce’ because the word ‘trempette’ is actually a condiment, or a dip, typically used for raw vegetables. In Canada, the dip is popular, and quite similar to Ranch dressing – a great addition to your crudités (vegetable snacks). 

But this phrase does not have anything to do with your healthy finger-food – in the colloquial sense, the phrase faire trempette actually means to take a dip – as in to go swimming.  

The way the expression came to become about swimming and not eating is pretty logical – in the 1600s a ‘trempette’ was a slice of bread dipped in liquid. As time went on people started to say ‘faire la trempette’ to describe the action of dipping food in liquid – like bread into wine – prior to taking a bite.

It became the metaphorical way of talking about taking a very short bath in the 19th century and now it’s the best way to reference the urge to  splash around for a second before heading back to the lounge chairs to tan. 

While you may  not have heard of this phrase before, you’ve definitely heard its synonym: the verb ‘se baigner’ (‘to bathe,’ but more so used as ‘to swim’). 

Use it like this

Comme la température augmente, je suis encore plus tentée d’aller faire trempette dans le canal. – As the temperature gets higher, I am even more tempted to go take a dip in the canal. 

Je pense que je vais faire trempette et ensuite m’allonger pour bronzer au soleil pendant un moment. – I think I will take a dip and then lay out to tan for a bit.

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