French Expression of the Day: Un quatre-heures

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French Expression of the Day: Un quatre-heures

'Le quatre-heures' is a must-know French expression, if only to be aware of its second and not so innocent meaning.


Why do I need to know un quatre-heures?

Le quatre-heures is quite a tradition in France, especially for children. However, you would still find French grown-ups taking un quatre-heures on a regular basis as well.

So, what does it mean?

Un quatre-heures is an afternoon snack kids usually have when they come home from school, ranging from an apple and a glass of juice to a full banquet of croissants and pains au chocolat. 

The name simply comes from the time around which this snack is taken: around four o'clock in the afternoon. Similar to the British elevensies or three o'clocks.

Initially intended as a way for kids to wait until dinner, some adults also indulge in le quatre-heures. Another word for this you may have already heard is le goûter.

J'achète toujours un pain chocolat à Paul pour son quatre-heures. - I always buy Paul a pain au chocolat for his quatre-heures.

Je n'ai pas pris de quatre-heures, je meurs de faim! - I did not eat a quatre-heures, I am starving!

But beware of the French people's love for evocative sayings. While most of the time this refers to a snack for kids, it can also be an expression of a sexual nature.

If you ever hear someone say they would like to turn someone into their quatre-heures, then you should know the discussion topic is not revolving around food anymore. 

T'as vu le nouvel informaticien? J'en ferai bien mon quatre-heures, si tu vois ce que je veux dire. - Have you seen the new IT guy? I would not mind a piece of that, if you know what I mean.

For more French phrases, check out our word of the day section.









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