For members


French word of the day: Pschitt

When you're a politician aiming for high office, but then your sex-tape is put online (and other everyday scenarios involving disappointment).

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

Why do I need to know it?

It doesn't sound like a real, French word – but it is. And it's a pretty useful one at that.

What does it mean?

Say you have a huge balloon. Then, imagine someone pokes a hole in the balloon, just big enough for it to deflate rather quickly. That’s pschitt.

But it can also be used metaphorically to describe a big moment that has deflated or become a let-down.

The French online dictionary l’Internaute defines it like this:

[Pschitt] est utilisée pour qualifier quelque chose qui est décevant. Par exemple, on attend beaucoup d'un événement, tout le mone en parle, et finalement, c'est ennuyeux.”

Pschitt is used about something that is disappointing. For example when you have high expectations of an event, everyone talks about it, but then it turns out to be boring.

How do I use it?

Let’s say you are a supporter of Mike Bloomberg as a Democratic candidate for the next US presidential elections, hoping he'd do big wins during 'Super Tuesday'.

Ben, malheureusement ca a fait un peu pschitt. – Well, I’m afraid it was a bit of a flop.

Like the French website 20 minutes said in the tweet below: “Joe Biden surges Bernie Sanders saves what's left and Mike Bloomberg flops.”


Or, that you are a French unionist hoping that a motion of censure in the French parliament would have the tables turned, force the government to resign and scrap the pension reform. 

Ca a fait un pschitt pas possible, mon frère. Les motions de censure déposées étaient loins d’obtenir une majorité parmis les députées. – That was a huge flop, brother. The motions of censure that were deposed were really far from obtaining a majority among the MPs.

READ MORE: French unions protest government's decision to push through pension reform


Or say you live in Paris and wanted the former government party candidate, Benjamin Griveaux, elected as mayor in mid March.

Genre! Sa carrière politique a fait pschitt dès que sa sex-tape a été mis en ligne par cet étrange artiste russe. – Yeh, right! His political career was over the moment his sex-tape was put online by that weird Russian artist.

READ MORE: Does the Griveaux scandal mean it's now open season on French politicians' sex lives?

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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).