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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French expression of the day: Je me casse

Want to do a chilled-out French exit? Here's the phrase you will need.

French expression of the day: Je me casse
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know je me casse?

French people say this all the time. Especially young people. But if you’re not familiar with the expression, you might think they are announcing that they ‘are breaking’, which is not at all what they mean.

Also if you’re a Eurovision fan you will need to know this for the 2021 song contest.

What does it mean?

Although the expression je me casse includes the verb casser (‘to break’), it actually signifies making an exit. It also implies that the exit made is pretty swift, in the sense that the person is ‘getting out of here’ rather than ‘leaving’.

Imagine that you’re in school, suffering through a horrendously boring lecture. Well, if you’re the cool French kid in class, you might say je me casse – ‘I’m out of here’ – and head for the door.

Or, say you’re at a party that you aren’t really feeling the vibe of anymore and you want to head off, you could look at your French friend and say on se casse? – let’s get out of here?

The phrase is also the title of Malta’s Eurovision entry this year (no, we don’t know why the title is in French, the rest of the song is in English).

Alternatively..

You may also use casser as an interjection, in which case the meaning of se casser (‘get out’) becomes much less relaxed.

For example, if you’re arguing with your French boyfriend and you want him to get the f*** out of your apartment, you could dramatically scream:

Casse-toi ! – Get out!

Synonyms

A less colloquial way of announcing your exit is je m’en vais (I’m leaving) or alternatively on s’en va (we’re leaving).

Another one, which lies closer to je me casse on the informality scale, is je me barre, or on se barre.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

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. 

Alternatives

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).

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