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French Expression of the Day: Un nombre croissant

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French Expression of the Day: Un nombre croissant
10:47 CEST+02:00
This has nothing to do with the delicious, flaky, buttery breakfast pastry synonymous with France.

Why do I need to know un nombre croissant?

You will see this often is news reports or indeed in any statistical context, but it's nothing to do with how many pastries you can eat for breakfast in France.

What does it mean?

It means a climbing or increasing number. In this context croissant is used in its original sense - to mean crescent - rather than the breakfast pastry that has become the more well-known meaning for the word. So famous is the croissant that foreigners are often surprised to hear the word used in any other context, but in fact it's relatively well used and the pastry is so-called simply because it is shaped like a crescent.

Probably the most well known example of a non-boulangerie use of croissant is the Mouvement international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge - the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

But there are other uses as well, and un nombre croissant is a common one. It is used to suggest a growing number because of the shape of a rising graph and is common in newspaper headlines and TV reports.

For example 

Ces dernières années, un nombre croissant de pays ont exprimé  leur intérêt pour l'introduction ou l'expansion de la production d'énergie nucléaire 

In recent years, an increasing number of countries have expressed an interest in introducing or expanding their nuclear energy capacity.

Un nombre croissant de patients âgés sont admis à l'hôpital

A rising number of older patients are being admitted to hospital

 

In the above tweet, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner refers to a rising number of requests for asylum in France from 'safe' countries, while almost 30 percent of applications are made by people who started the process in another country.

You may also see hausse du nombre or  nombre grandissant to indicate rising numbers, although un nombre croissant would be more common. If you want the opposite - a falling or decreasing number - that would be un nombre décroissant.

For more French phrases and expressions, check out our French Word of the Day section.

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The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
- 11 Oct 2019 07:52
In this case croissant is the gérondif of the verb croître which means to increase and has nothing to do with the shape of a graph.
Scott - 14 Oct 2019 14:09
The verb is "croître," which should have been stated in the article.
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