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French word of the Day: Le patriarcat

If you need something to blame the state of the world upon, this is often the culprit.

French word of the Day: Le patriarcat

Why do I need to know le patriarcat?

Whether you're aware of it or not it probably has a huge impact on your life, from how much you earn to the clothes you dress your children in.

What does it mean?

It means the patriarchy! So now you're ready to get involved in discussions on gender politics in French.

So for example if you want something to blame for the gender pay gap, here's what you can pin it on.

Pourquoi les femmes françaises gagnent-elles en moyenne 11 pour cent de moins que les hommes? C'est le patriarcat. – Why do women in France earn on average 11 percent less than men? It's the patriarchy. 

C'est ainsi que le patriarcat régit la socialisation des garçons et des hommes – This is how the patriarchy socialises its boys and men.

Or as in this example below by French writer Olivia Sorrel Dejerine


She tweets: “Are you cold in the office? Guess what, it has nothing to do with winter and everything to do with the patriarchy.”

And if you find yourself living in a matriarchal society, that would be la martriarchie in French.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: C’est le box

This French expression has little to do with storage devices.

French Expression of the Day: C’est le box

Why do I need to know c’est le box?

Because you might have described your adolescent bedroom this way.

What does it mean?

C’est le box roughly pronounced say luh box – comes from the longer expression c’est le boxon, and does not have to do with a container to store things. In reality, c’est le box means either literally or figuratively that something is a mess or disaster.

It is a synonym for the more commonly used French expression c’est le bordel

Both are slang terms that border on being vulgar, are originally references to brothels, and describe disorder or disarray.

The word boxon first appeared in the early 1800s in the form of bocson, which meant cabaret and later “house of tolerance”. Its origins are disputed, but over the past two centuries it has come to be synonymous with a “place of debauchery” and later messiness and disorder.

You can also say “Quel box!” or “Quel Boxon!” to mean “What a mess!” or “What a disaster!”

If you are looking for a less vulgar way to describe a mess, you could instead say “c’est le bazar”.

Use it like this

C’est quand la dernière fois que tu as nettoyé ta chambre ? C’est le box ici. – When was the last time you cleaned your room? It is a disaster in here.

Je ne suis pas la seule personne qui pense que c’est le boxon dans cette ville en ce moment. – I’m not the only person who thinks this city is a mess right now.