For members


French word of the day: Bouffer

Planning to go hard on the oysters and foie gras this Christmas?

French word of the day: Bouffer

Why do I need to know bouffer?

Because as we're approaching Christmas, you will probably be doing it a lot.

What does it mean?

Bouffer is slang for nourriture (food) or manger (to eat). La bouffe is a very colloquial way of saying food, and j’ai bouffé is an equally colloquial way of saying that you ate something.

Bouffer has kind of a greedy clang to it, and French people often use it to express that they overate:

C’est fou comment on a bouffé chez ma grand-mère ce noël – We stuffed ourselves like crazy at grandma’s this Christmas.

Tu bouffes trop vite, tu vas t’étouffer si tu ne t'arrêtes pas de temps en temps – You’re eating too quickly, you’re going to choke if you don’t stop to chew occasionally.

J’ai craqué ce week-end, je suis allé bouffer un énorme Big Mac – I couldn’t resist, I pigged out this weekend and ate a huge Big Mac

But you can also use it as a noun:

Elle est où la bouffe? J’ai la dalle ! – Where’s the grub? I’m starving!

Do keep in mind that bouffer is so colloquial that it’s bordering on vulgar, so never use this last sentence if you’re, let’s say, visiting your French mother-in-law for a Christmas meal. 

Other options?

Bouffer is also popularly used in the expression se faire bouffer, which best can be translated to ‘be walked all over’. Sport fans often use it to describe a big win or loss, or to show off and play tough before a game.

For example:

On s’est fait bouffer hier pendant le match – We were eaten alive during the game last night.

Vous allez vous faire bouffer sur le terrain ce soir – Your team will be walked all over on the field tonight.

Or, since it's nearly Christmas, here's a phrase you should only say when surrounded by your very close friends:

Je te boufferai comme ton grand-père bouffe une bûche de Noël – I'll eat you alive like your grandfather eats the Christmas cake.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Découvrir le pot aux roses

You might do this while gardening or while reading the tabloids.

French Expression of the Day: Découvrir le pot aux roses

Why do I need to know découvrir le pot aux roses?

Because if you enjoy celebrity gossip, then you probably will find good use for this phrase

What does it mean?

Découvrir le pot aux roses – pronounced day-coov-rear le pot-oh rose – literally translates to ‘to discover the pot of roses.’ 

You might use this expression when finding out about some exciting gossip or maybe when discovering what your partner secretly planned for your anniversary, as this phrase in actuality is what you would say when you learn something secret or hidden. 

In English, when discussing secrets, you might say someone has ‘spilled the beans’ or ‘let the cat out of the bag,’ but the French phrase is more about the person who has found out about the hidden item or truth, not the person who told it, as it ‘spill the beans’.

The origins of this French expression are not what you might expect, historically, the phrase has little to do with the flowers.

During the Middle Ages, the verb ‘découvrir’ had the meaning of ‘to lift a lid’ and at the time the phrase ‘pot aux roses’ referred to a small box that wealthy women used to store their perfumes, as well as their makeup. They often used these boxes to keep secrets, letters, or notes that they did not want others to stumble upon.

Use it like this

Pendant l’afterwork, Sarah a raconté à tout le monde les secrets les plus fous sur la vie privée du patron. Je ne comprends pas comment elle a réussi à découvrir le pot aux roses. – During the work happy hour, Sarah told us all about the wildest secrets of our boss’ personal life. I don’t understand how she managed to unearth that gossip.

Il a découvert le pot aux roses lorsqu’il s’est connecté à l’ordinateur de son colocataire pour regarder simplement son mail. – He discovered the secret when he logged onto his roommate’s laptop to just check his email.