French expression of the day: C’est fade

French expression of the day: C'est fade
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
How to critique food in France like a pro.

Why do I need to know c'est fade?

Because it will elevate your food critiquing abilities to Top Chef France levels.

Plus, it will be of use if you're one of the unlucky coronavirus victims who has lost their sense of taste and smell.

What does it mean?

Fade is a French expression people use to say that something is 'tasteless', 'bland', 'boring'.

C'est fade, ça manque de saveur. – 'It's bland, it lacks flavour.'

It’s commonly used for food, and if you’ve watched Top Chef France, you might have heard something like:

Je trouve ce plat très fade, il n’y a ni de goût ni de couleurs ! – ‘I find this dish very bland, there’s no taste or colour!’

In a country like France where “food” means a million more things than just “fuel”, a chef does not want his or her food to be defined as fade.

Like this Twitter user did with a Parisian pizzeria:

“A ruined attempt on a Neapolitan pizza: dough too thin, crust not high enough, bland tomato sauce and, average cheese. Pity.”

While fade is above all a food expression, you can use it in other settings too.
Il est fade, ce tableau. Il ne me transcend pas du tout. – 'What a bland painting. It doesn't appeal to me at all'.
Je trouve ton pull trop fade. – 'I find your sweater so dull.'
Insipide – tasteless
Inintéressant – uninteresting
Ennuyeux – boring

Member comments

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  1. I wish there was a button to press so you could hear how it’s pronounced. Is goût à hard g ( goot) or a j (jute). I was pronouncing ongles (on guls) it wasn’t until a laughing french person said (on ger lay) that I realised. So is this pronounced fad?

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