Why do I need to know être fauché?
If you're experiencing a temporary cash flow crisis, then this one is for you.
What does it mean?
It means to be brassic, skint, on the rocks, stony broke, penurious or without two centimes to rub together. Basically having no ready cash.
So if you've slightly overdone it on the holiday spending, you could say J'ai achete' trop des cocktails cet été et maintenaint je suis fauché – I bought too many cocktails this summer and now I'm broke.
Or if things aren't that bad you could say Je ne suis pas fauché, mais les prix qu'ils demandent pour les boissons sont carrément obscènes – I'm not exactly broke, but the prices they charge for drinks are just obscene.
Although it's slightly casual, it's perfectly OK to use in more serious contexts as well, such as Je serai fauché si les prix sont mauvais encore cette année pour les abricots – I'll be broke if this is another year of bad prices for apricots.
Just as the English language has come up with plenty of synonyms for being short of cash, there are several French expressions too. Il est fauché comme les blés (he is broke like wheat) is a common one used to describe a person left with nothing. The agricultural metaphor evokes a field once the crop has been harvested – ie one with nothing in it.
And if you are going through this, you might need to serre la ceinture or tighten your belt (ie spend less money). Il faut que je me serre la ceinture pour pouvoir rembourser mes dettes – I need to tighten my belt to pay back my debts.
Just be careful not to get it mixed up with je suis faché (I'm angry) unless you're talking about your anger at your cash flow problems of course. Je suis si faché que je suis fauché – I'm furious that I'm broke.
Fauché also means “run down” or “mown down”. We often see headlines in the French media about road accidents in which a victim was fauché par une voiture (knocked over by a car).
For more words and phrases, check out our French Word of the Day section.