For members


French word of the Day: Naze

Distinctly unimpressed with a person, place or thing? We have just the word for you.

French word of the Day: Naze

Why do I need to know naze?

Channelling your inner high schooler? Hanging out with a younger crowd? This is how to convey the idea that something is not up to standard.

What does it mean?

It means lame, stupid, dorky, useless. You'll frequently hear c'est naze – it sucks, that's lame – to describe a situation or a thing that's just no good.

As the translations suggest, it's generally a phrase for younger people but there's nothing wrong with older people using it too for a frustrating situation and it's helpful if you want to avoid swearing.

So you could say;

C'est naze que ton sac ait été volé – It sucks that your bag got stolen.

Pas de Métro, €50 pour un Uber, la grève c'est naze – No Metros, €50 for an Uber, this strike sucks.

On a quitté le concert au bout de 20 minutes parce que c'était naze – We left the gig after 20 minutes because it was lame.

Tout ça, c'est trop naze – The whole thing is so lame.

Any alternatives?

Yes, loads. It's a cliché but possibly a true one to say that the French are sometimes quite fond of a good grumble and so there are plenty of ways in French to suggest that you find something below par.

You will frequently hear c'est nul which has a similar meaning to c'est naze – it sucks.

There's a verlan version which means basically the same thing – c'est relou.

There's also the excellently French phrase ras-le-bol which doesn't have an exact translation but conveys a general sense of being fed up or deeply disappointed with something.

J'en ai ras-le-bol de l'école, c'est naze – I'm fed up with school, it sucks.

READ ALSO Eleven phrases that will let you complain like the French 


Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Expression of the Day: Tarte à la crème

This expression is more than just your last order at the boulangerie.

French Expression of the Day: Tarte à la crème

Why do I need to know tarte à la crème ?

Because if someone uses this phrase to describe you, you should probably be a bit offended.

What does it mean?

Tarte à la crème – pronounced tart ah lah krem – literally refers to a cream filled tart, or a custard tart, in English. However, this expression has more to do than just baking. It is another way of describing something that is boring, predictable or commonplace.

This expression comes straight from Moliere himself. In the 17th century, there was a popular rhyming game called “Corbillon.” The phrase “Je vous passe mon corbillon” (I pass you by corbillon) is said, and then it is followed by “Qu’y met-on?” (What does one put on it?) To keep the rhyme up, people must respond with something ending in an -ON sound.

In the play, “L’Ecole des Femmes” (The School of Wives), one character says the ideal woman would respond to the question with “tarte à la crème” which is obviously the wrong answer. The right answer would be tarte à la citron (lemon tart). Molière did this on purpose to poke fun at the fact that disgruntled fans would send poor actors cream tarts to express their frustration.

It was a way of ridiculing his critics and showing he was unimpressed by their method of showing discontentment at his plays. Over time, the phrase went on to describe things that are commonplace or boring. It is often used to describe entertainment related topics, such as books, movies, or plays.

A synonym for this phrase in French might be banal and in English you might say something is ‘vanilla’ to describe something that is fairly unexciting.

Use it like this

Le film était vraiment tarte à la crème. Je ne recommande pas d’aller le voir au cinéma, vous pouvez attendre de le voir une fois qu’il sera gratuit en ligne. – The movie was really boring. I don’t recommend going to see it at the movies, you can simply wait to see it once it is free online.

Je pense que l’album est tarte à la crème. Elle a pris tellement d’idées d’autres artistes que ce n’est vraiment pas original du tout. – I think the album is predictable. She really took plenty of ideas from other artists and it was not original at all.