For members


French word of the day: Bide

A lot of people have been very worried about getting one of these during the lockdown.

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

Why do I need to know bide?

Because if someone asks you about your bide à bière, they're unfortunately not offering to get the next round at the bar.

What does it mean?

Bide means ‘belly’ in English, so bide à bière is the same as 'beer belly'.

Bide is more colloquial than ventre, so use it in informal settings.

J'ai trop mange, je me suis pété le bide – I ate too much, I destroyed my belly.


Il faut que je me remette au sport. Tu as vu mon bide? – I need to start working out again. Have you seen my belly?

Ca y est ! Je n'en peux plus de mon bide. Je me mets au régime dès qu'on sort du confinement. – That's it! I can't deal with my belly anymore. As soon as we get out of lockdown I'm going on a diet.

If you’re worried about getting a bit of a bide during the coronavirus lockdown period, you could check out the French Foreign Legion’s kickass workout video to get your juices flowing.

But if all this talk about getting a bide during the lockdown is making you a little stressed, you could say

J'ai la boule au bide – My stomach is in knots.

(However boule au ventre is more common.) 


Bidon – belly

Brioche – belly (slang)

Ventre – belly


Bide can also mean a 'flop' (when a joke falls flat and no one laughs)

Se bidonner – laugh (think about the belly shaking when you laugh)

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Tarte à la crème

This expression is more than just your last order at the boulangerie.

French Expression of the Day: Tarte à la crème

Why do I need to know tarte à la crème ?

Because if someone uses this phrase to describe you, you should probably be a bit offended.

What does it mean?

Tarte à la crème – pronounced tart ah lah krem – literally refers to a cream filled tart, or a custard tart, in English. However, this expression has more to do than just baking. It is another way of describing something that is boring, predictable or commonplace.

This expression comes straight from Moliere himself. In the 17th century, there was a popular rhyming game called “Corbillon.” The phrase “Je vous passe mon corbillon” (I pass you by corbillon) is said, and then it is followed by “Qu’y met-on?” (What does one put on it?) To keep the rhyme up, people must respond with something ending in an -ON sound.

In the play, “L’Ecole des Femmes” (The School of Wives), one character says the ideal woman would respond to the question with “tarte à la crème” which is obviously the wrong answer. The right answer would be tarte à la citron (lemon tart). Molière did this on purpose to poke fun at the fact that disgruntled fans would send poor actors cream tarts to express their frustration.

It was a way of ridiculing his critics and showing he was unimpressed by their method of showing discontentment at his plays. Over time, the phrase went on to describe things that are commonplace or boring. It is often used to describe entertainment related topics, such as books, movies, or plays.

A synonym for this phrase in French might be banal and in English you might say something is ‘vanilla’ to describe something that is fairly unexciting.

Use it like this

Le film était vraiment tarte à la crème. Je ne recommande pas d’aller le voir au cinéma, vous pouvez attendre de le voir une fois qu’il sera gratuit en ligne. – The movie was really boring. I don’t recommend going to see it at the movies, you can simply wait to see it once it is free online.

Je pense que l’album est tarte à la crème. Elle a pris tellement d’idées d’autres artistes que ce n’est vraiment pas original du tout. – I think the album is predictable. She really took plenty of ideas from other artists and it was not original at all.