For members


French word of the day: Déconfiner

A word that has become associated with happiness over the past year.

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

Why do I need to know déconfiner?

Because over the last year it’s become rather a big deal.

What does it mean?

Déconfiner comes from the verb se déconfiner, which refers to sortir d’une situation de confinement – ‘exiting a confinement situation’.

It’s the negative of confiner – to impose a confinement or lockdown.

Therefore the day we begin to nous déconfiner is le déconfinement – the lifting of lockdown restrictions including bar closures and curfew.

Noun vs. verb

Se déconfiner is a verb and déconfinement a noun.

You can use both, but in different ways.

Nous attendons avec impatience le jour où nous commençons de se déconfiner – We’re all keenly awaiting the day where we begin to unwind the lockdown. 

Le déconfinement débute en mai – the lifting of lockdown begins in May


And there is now a third option to add to confinement and déconfinement, but we hope that we will never have to use again – reconfinement.

Logically, this is when a country goes back into lockdown and one we hope we can retire in 2022.


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For members


French Expression of the Day: Les toxicos

You'll want to be sure to only use this French expression in the right contexts.

French Expression of the Day: Les toxicos

Why do I need to know les toxicos?

Because you might want to avoid using this term if you simply want to describe someone as behaving in a toxic manner.

What does it mean?

Les toxicos roughly pronounced lay tox-ee-kohs – is the French slang term to describe “drug addict”.

The English equivalent might be “junkie”.

The word comes from a French word for drug addiction more generally. “Toxicomanie” refers to the physical and/or psychological dependence on chemical substances without prescription or therapeutic justification.

The official term for a person addicted to substances is “toximane” – and les toxicos is a shortened, more informal version of the term. 

In French, you can also use the term “dépendance” to refer to addiction as well.

READ MORE: French Expression of the Day: Les stups

Some may use this term in a derogatory way, though its usage depends on context and the person speaking.

Use it like this

Le politicien a critiqué le manque de financement de la police et a cité le fait qu’il y avait trop de toxicos près de la gare. – The politician criticised a lack of funding for police and cited the fact that there were too many drug addicts by the train station.

L’homme m’a dit que je devais faire attention en traversant le parc car il y avait beaucoup de toxicos, mais je me sentais en sécurité.– The man told me that I should be careful when crossing the park because there are many junkies, but I felt safe.