French Word of the Day: Pas de quoi

Need a gracious reply after you've committed a random act of kindness or helped someone out? Here's an option.

French Word of the Day: Pas de quoi

Why do I need to know 'pas de quoi'?

Pas de quoi is the informal way to say you're welcome if someone has just thanked you for something. It is similar to de rien but is a little more friendly and informal. But it's not a slang term that can only be used with close acquaintance, but it is just friendlier and more informal than de rien, but perfectly appropriate to use for strangers and older people.  

What does it mean? 

Pas de quoi literally translates to not of what, which is similar to the English not of worth, as in it is not worth mentioning it, or not worth making a fuss about it. So to say that the word could be translated into 'it's not worth thanking me' or more informally 'it's nothing' 'no problem', 'think nothing of it', 'not at all'.

For example, if you give up your seat to an old person or a pregnant woman on the Metro and they say Merci you can respond with pas de quoi. 


It is argued that this expression started being used around the 20th century, and is still been used since. 

You are more likely to hear this expression being used by younger generation as it is a friendlier term than the de rien which is generally still taught to foreigners in French classes. 

For more words, expressions and phrases that are in everyday use in France, check out our word of the day section.

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French Word of the Day: Bordéliser

This French expression is not the kindest, but it will certainly get your point across.

French Word of the Day: Bordéliser

Why do I need to know bordéliser?

Because when things feel chaotic, you might want to use this word.

What does it mean?

Bordéliser roughly pronounced bore-del-ee-zay – comes from the swear word “bordel” which means brothel.

In popular usage, bordel is used to describe a mess or a chaotic environment, and bordéliser turns the bordel into a verb – meaning to make or create disorder, disaster or chaos. 

During periods of unrest in France, you may hear people blame one group for causing the problem by using this expression. Keep in mind that bordéliser is not polite language – the English equivalent might be to “fuck (or screw) something up”.

One popular theory says that the root word bordel comes from medieval French – at the time, sex workers were explicitly not allowed to work near the ports, so they were relegated to wooden huts or small houses – or bordes, in French –  away from the city.

You may also hear another French expression that uses the same root word: “c’est le bordel”. 

This literally translates to “it’s a brothel” but it is used to describe a situation that’s untidy, messy or chaotic, both literally and figuratively as in  ‘what a bloody mess!’ or ‘it’s mayhem!’ or ‘what a disaster!’

Use it like this

Le militant accuse le gouvernement de bordéliser le pays avec sa réforme impopulaire. – The activist accuses the government of “fucking up” the country with its unpopular reform.

Tu as bordélisé l’appartement et notre dynamique de colocation en achetant le singe comme animal de compagnie. Qu’est-ce qui t’a pris ? – You have screwed up the apartment and our roommate dynamic by buying the monkey as a pet. What were you thinking?