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French word of the day: Larguer

It’s a sign it’s time to dig out the full-fat ice cream and start singing Gloria Gaynor songs.

French word of the day: Larguer
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know larguer?

We've all been there. But have you been dumped in French?

What does it mean?

It comes from the nautical world: larguer un cordage or larguer les amarres can both be translated to ‘cast off’ a boat.

It's a telling image, as larguer means ridding yourself of something you don’t want anymore – like a lover.

It is most commonly used as part of the expression se faire larguer – to be dumped.

Pauvre Pauline, elle s’est fait larguer par son mec depuis trois ans ce week-end. – Poor Pauline was dumped by her boyfriend of three years this weekend.

Je me suis fait larguer par ma meuf l'année dernière, je ne suis toujours pas prêt pour reprendre la vie célibataire  – I was dumped by my girlfriend last year, and I am still not ready to get back into single life.

In other words, to larguer someone is the same as laisser tomber or abandonner. 'Letting go'.

Be careful when using it..

If you want to break up with someone, you probably would not say je te largue (‘I’m dumping you).

It's not wrong, mind you. Linguistically it's correct. However je te largue is a pretty aggressive way of ending things with someone. 

Je te quitte is probably better, in the same way as ‘leaving’ someone sounds more empathetic than ‘dumping’ someone.

A more diplomatic way of dumping someone in French is probably je pense qu’on devrait rompre – I think we should break up.

So if a French friend tells you, je me suis fait larguer hier soir, you know what to do:



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For members


French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Being patronised by a Frenchman? Roll out this phrase.

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Why do I need to know ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines?

Because someone might be trying to take you for a fool.

What does it mean?

Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines – pronounced ne me pren pah pour un lapan de see sem-enn – translates as ‘don’t take me for a six-week-old rabbit’, and is a go-to phrase to warn people not to mistake you for a fool, someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

The podcast Hit West from French regional newspaper Ouest-France suggests that the ‘six weeks’ comes from the age a rabbit is weaned at, and must therefore be ready to survive on its own.

And why a rabbit at all? Well no-one really seems very sure. Rabbits don’t get a good rap in the French language though, to stand someone up is poser un lapin in French.

English-language metaphor equivalents may be, “I didn’t come down in the last shower”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, or, as Line of Duty’s DCI Hastings might say, “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble”.

Use it like this

Honestly, keep it simple. If someone’s speaking to you in a patronising manner, simply say: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines.

Ouest France suggests that this is the ‘more elegant’ way to request that people don’t take you for a fool. It’s not offensive, but it might be a little old-fashioned. 


You can use the more basic version of this phrase – Ne me prends pas pour une idiote (don’t take me for a fool) or the slightly more punchy Ne me prends pas pour un con (don’t take me for a moron).