For members


French word of the day: Vite fait

When you 'just have to' do something first..

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

Why do I need to know vite fait?

Because it’s the best linguistic way to legitimately procrastinate (for a teensy bit).

What does it mean?

Vite fait means ‘quickly done’, and the French use it to say that they’re ‘just going to do something quickly’ – usually before doing something else.

Je vais juste passer aux toilettes vite fait avant la réunion – I’m just going to go to the toilet quickly before the meeting starts.

Je vais me mettre au travail là, je vais juste me faire un café vite fait – I'm about to start working, I'm just going to quickly make myself a coffee first.

Oui, je vais mettre le film. Laisse-moi juste regarder les titres du journal vite fait. – Yes, I'll put on the film. Let me just quickly check the headlines of the evening news.



Vite fait is actually an example of a tic de langage (language tic), because you could just as well stop at vite without adding the fait.

Rapidement (quickly) is another day of saying vite fait. 

Je passe rapidement au magasin avant le diner pour qu'on soit sûr d'avoir assez de vin. – I'll pop to the store quickly before dinner so that we're sure to have enough wine.

Don't use it like this

You only use vite fait if the thing you're doing can be done quickly. 

Je vais commencer a chercher du travail, je vais juste terminer Game of Thrones vite fait d'abord – I'm going to start looking for jobs, I'm just going to finish Game of Thrones quickly first.

That sentence only makes sense if you're at the very last episode of the last season of the series. If you just started watching Game of Thrones, you'll need to find another expression.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Expression of the Day: Faire trempette

You'll definitely need this phrase as the temperature rises.

French Expression of the Day: Faire trempette

Why do I need to know faire trempette?

Because you might need this phrase to describe that urge to jump in the water once the temperature hits a certain degree this summer.

What does it mean?

Faire trempette – usually pronounced fair trahm-pet – literally means ‘to make dipping sauce’ because the word ‘trempette’ is actually a condiment, or a dip, typically used for raw vegetables. In Canada, the dip is popular, and quite similar to Ranch dressing – a great addition to your crudités (vegetable snacks). 

But this phrase does not have anything to do with your healthy finger-food – in the colloquial sense, the phrase faire trempette actually means to take a dip – as in to go swimming.  

The way the expression came to become about swimming and not eating is pretty logical – in the 1600s a ‘trempette’ was a slice of bread dipped in liquid. As time went on people started to say ‘faire la trempette’ to describe the action of dipping food in liquid – like bread into wine – prior to taking a bite.

It became the metaphorical way of talking about taking a very short bath in the 19th century and now it’s the best way to reference the urge to  splash around for a second before heading back to the lounge chairs to tan. 

While you may  not have heard of this phrase before, you’ve definitely heard its synonym: the verb ‘se baigner’ (‘to bathe,’ but more so used as ‘to swim’). 

Use it like this

Comme la température augmente, je suis encore plus tentée d’aller faire trempette dans le canal. – As the temperature gets higher, I am even more tempted to go take a dip in the canal. 

Je pense que je vais faire trempette et ensuite m’allonger pour bronzer au soleil pendant un moment. – I think I will take a dip and then lay out to tan for a bit.