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French word of the day: Se goinfrer

Learn this and you're ready for Christmas.

French word of the day: Se goinfrer

Why do I need to know se goinfrer

Because it’s that time of the year.. 

What does it mean?

Se goinfrer is a French way of saying that one is stuffing oneself with food. It can literally be translated to manger salement et voracement, ‘eating voraciously like a pig’. At the same time the expression implies that the food being stuffed is delicious. La goinfrerie refers to the process of devouring food with great appetite.

Il s'est goinfre de chocolat – He stuffed his face with chocolate.

So, if there's anytime to use se goinfrer, it's during the Christmas holidays – perhaps the only time of the year when pigging out is encouraged.

On va bien se goinfrer ce noel! – ‘We’re going to stuff our faces this Christmas!’

C'est clair que tante Muriel a abandonné sa régime. T'as vu comment elle s'est goinfré chez mamie? Aunt Muriel clearly stopped her diet. Did you see how she stuffed herself at grandma's?

Vaut mieux éviter de trop se goinfrer à l'apéro pour garder de l'appétit pour les plats délicieux à venir – Better not stuff oneself during the apéro and save your appetite for the rest of the delicious meal.


Another very common French term that means nearly the same is gourmand/gourmandise

There is however a subtle difference between la gourmandise and la goinfrerie, dating back to the 18th century in France. While gourmandise is regarded as a quality, a virtue even, gonfrerie is not. A gourmand loves good food and eats it with delight, but not in a piggish manner. And, as we've seen, the piggishness is implied in se goinfrer.

If someone calls you a gourmand during Christmas, wear the label proudly! In a country that prides itself with its culinary exquisiteness, being a gourmand is proof you're one of them. But it someone tells you to ne pas trop te goinfrer du foie gras – to goo a little less heavy on the foie gras, it might be wise to chew a little slower.

Gloutonnerie is another word for gonfrerie, which also – unlike gourmandise –  implies some sort of pigging out

You can also use se bâfrer or s’empiffrer, which both mean ‘to stuff oneself’ or ‘to guzzle’.

Other options?

In addition to the verb se goinfrer, goinfre is also a noun. Manger comme un goinfre means ‘to eat like a pig’

Sebastien est un tel goinfre ! Il a mangé 10 crêpes ce midi. – Sebastien is such a pig! He ate 10 pancakes for lunch.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

The long-range forecast suggests that this will be a handy phrase this summer.

French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

Why do I need to know ça tape?

Because you might want a way to describe the feeling of walking down a long boulevard with no shade in sight…or a techno concert.

What does it mean?

Ça tape usually pronounced sah tap – literally translates to ‘it taps’ or ‘it hits.’ The verb being used is taper, which means to hit or slap, and colloquially can be used to seek monetary support from someone. It is also the verb for ‘to type.’ But when spoken, this phrase does not involve violence, financial assistance, or note-taking.

Ça tape is a way to say ‘it’s scorching’ and complain about the hot weather or the search for shade. If someone uses it under a hot sun, and they say “ça tape”  or “ça tape fort” they’re referring to the particularly violent, piercing heat.

It can also be used to say something is intense, particularly in relation to music. It bears a similar colloquial meaning to the English informal phrase “it hits” or “it’s banging.” For example, you might be at a loud concert listening to a particularly passionate DJ – this might be a good scenario to employ ‘ça tape.’

The first meaning, which refers to the heat, is more commonly used across generations, whereas the second might be heard more from a younger audience. 

 Use it like this

Dès que je suis sortie de l’appartement et que je suis entrée dans la rue, j’ai dit “Ça tape !” car le soleil était si fort.– As soon as I stepped out of the apartment and into the street, I said to myself “it’s blazing!” because the sun was so strong.

Ce festival est incroyable, tout le monde est dans le même esprit. Ouh t’entends cette basse ? Ça tape !  – This festival is amazing, everyone is really in the same mood. Do you hear that bass? It’s banging.