French word of the day – Gâté

French word of the day - Gâté
What could French football star Kylian Mbappé possibly have in common with a whining child?

Why do I need to know gâté?

If you have or are planning to have children in France, you will want to avoid them becoming it.

What does it mean?

Gâté comes from the verb gâter, which means ‘to spoil’ [someone].

Gâter quelqu’un – to spoil someone 

If your French boyfriend texts je vais te gâter ce soir (‘I’m going to spoil you tonight), it’s a green light to start fantasising about flowers, chocolate or a home cooked meal.

If you do come home to one of the three above (or any other surprise), you could exclaim:

Mais tu me gâtes! – You’re spoiling me!

Which is a way of expressing that you appreciate the gesture.

In this case, it’s about being spoiled:

Être gâté – to be spoiled 

Enfant gaté 

So as you see, gâter can be a good thing, but – like spoiled – it has a bad side too.

A common expression in France is enfant gâté, 'spoiled child'.

Son fils est tellement gâté, c'est abusé! – Their son is so spoiled, it's horrendous

Je ne supporte pas des enfants gâtés qui pleurent tout le temps – I can't deal with spoiled children who cry all the time

But enfant gâté is a label not necessarily reserved for children.

French football start Kylian Mbappé has been called enfant gâté several times. 

French World Cup hero Kylian Mbappé. Photo: AFP

Here in a headline of an article published by Breizh, a news website in Brittany:

Un an après son titre mondial : Mbappé, l’enfant gâté du foot français – One year after the World Cup title: Mbappé, the spoiled child of French football.

Here by Christophe Bourgois-Costantini, a French football coach, during a televised debate on the French sports channel RMC:

'Mbappé number 10? I think that's the whims of a spoiled child.




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