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French word of the day: Peinard

It hardly gets more relaxed than this.

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

Why do I need to know peinard? 

Because we’re all going to do a lot of chilling with Netflix (if not Netflix & chilling) in the coming weeks. Might as well develop our French chillax-vocab while we’re at it.

What does it mean?

Peinard is a colloquial version of paisible – peaceful.

The French online dictionary l'Internaute defines peinard as “an equilibrium that won’t be affected by a sudden change” and“which is free from worries.” 

It’s a concept that most English-speakers would recognise as ‘chill’.

If you're peinard you're relaxé and détendu (relaxed and unnerved).

Imagine a fat cat sitting in the sun in a window sill, purring. 

Bien peinard, ce chat. – He's really chilled out, that cat.

Peinard can be a state of mind or an attitude. Un type peinard is 'a chilled out guy'.

Likewise, you can be sitting peinard (peinarde if you're a woman) at home on a Saturday evening, slacking on the couch and watching season gazillion of Real Housewives on Netflix.

J'étais peinard chez moi, j'avais pas la force de sortir. – I was chilling at home, I didn't have the strength to go out.


While it is an colloquial expression, peinard is not one of the many slang expressions that originated among kids in the French suburbs and then spread out.

Oh no, peinard is old school. It dates all the way back to 1549, originally referring to French workers, because they were seen as to travailler à peine – barely work.

In the late 19th century, a père peinard was used about homme combinant sagement besogne et repos – someone who is wisely combining work and rest.


The no. 1 synonym of peinard is tranquille, which means ‘cool’ or ‘chill’.

On est peinard ici – we’re at peace here – could just as well be on est tranquille ici.

Other (more formal) ways of saying peinard are serein (serene) or calme (calm).

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For members


French Word of the Day: Bordéliser

This French expression is not the kindest, but it will certainly get your point across.

French Word of the Day: Bordéliser

Why do I need to know bordéliser?

Because when things feel chaotic, you might want to use this word.

What does it mean?

Bordéliser roughly pronounced bore-del-ee-zay – comes from the swear word “bordel” which means brothel.

In popular usage, bordel is used to describe a mess or a chaotic environment, and bordéliser turns the bordel into a verb – meaning to make or create disorder, disaster or chaos. 

During periods of unrest in France, you may hear people blame one group for causing the problem by using this expression. Keep in mind that bordéliser is not polite language – the English equivalent might be to “fuck (or screw) something up”.

One popular theory says that the root word bordel comes from medieval French – at the time, sex workers were explicitly not allowed to work near the ports, so they were relegated to wooden huts or small houses – or bordes, in French –  away from the city.

You may also hear another French expression that uses the same root word: “c’est le bordel”. 

This literally translates to “it’s a brothel” but it is used to describe a situation that’s untidy, messy or chaotic, both literally and figuratively as in  ‘what a bloody mess!’ or ‘it’s mayhem!’ or ‘what a disaster!’

Use it like this

Le militant accuse le gouvernement de bordéliser le pays avec sa réforme impopulaire. – The activist accuses the government of “fucking up” the country with its unpopular reform.

Tu as bordélisé l’appartement et notre dynamique de colocation en achetant le singe comme animal de compagnie. Qu’est-ce qui t’a pris ? – You have screwed up the apartment and our roommate dynamic by buying the monkey as a pet. What were you thinking?