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French expression of the day: Je me casse

French expression of the day: Je me casse
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Want to do a chilled-out French exit? Here's the phrase you will need.

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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