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French word of the day: Manif

If you've spent much time in France, you will undoubtedly have encountered one of these.

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

Why do I need to know manif? 

It's a key concept in France. 

What does it mean?

Manif is short for manifestation, which means 'protest'.

France, known worldwide for its bloody 1789 revolution, has a longstanding tradition of social protest.

And if you talk to French people – especially young ones – you will undoubtedly hear someone talk about la manif – 'the protest', or 'the demo' – at some point.

READ ALSO: Don't ask 'why are the French always striking' but look at what the strikers have achieved 


If you tap it into your Google search engine, it suggests to translate manif to 'strike.' But, while strikes nearly always bring along one or many manifs, going to a manif does not imply being on strike.

A manif is used to show strength by numbers. In France, bringing people to the capital in one big street protest has long been used as a tool to put pressure on politicians to achieve something. 

During the December mass-strikes in France against the government's proposed pension reforms, there was a big manif every week or so, an attempt by unions to flex their muscles.

This week, there was a huge manif in France to protest against police violence and alleged systemic racism by the country's law enforcement.

Use it like this

On va à la manif samedi ? – We going to the demo on Saturday?

Tu as vu le monde qu'il y avait à la manif contre les violences policières ! – Did you see how many people there were at the demo against police violence!

J'en peux plus des manifs, on dirait qu'il y en a une tous les weekends. – I'm sick of protests, seems like there's one every weekend.

Pourquoi il y a une manif ce weekend encore? C'est la France. Il y a toujours une raison de manifester. – Why is there another protest this weekend again? It's France. There's always a reason to protest.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

The long-range forecast suggests that this will be a handy phrase this summer.

French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

Why do I need to know ça tape?

Because you might want a way to describe the feeling of walking down a long boulevard with no shade in sight…or a techno concert.

What does it mean?

Ça tape usually pronounced sah tap – literally translates to ‘it taps’ or ‘it hits.’ The verb being used is taper, which means to hit or slap, and colloquially can be used to seek monetary support from someone. It is also the verb for ‘to type.’ But when spoken, this phrase does not involve violence, financial assistance, or note-taking.

Ça tape is a way to say ‘it’s scorching’ and complain about the hot weather or the search for shade. If someone uses it under a hot sun, and they say “ça tape”  or “ça tape fort” they’re referring to the particularly violent, piercing heat.

It can also be used to say something is intense, particularly in relation to music. It bears a similar colloquial meaning to the English informal phrase “it hits” or “it’s banging.” For example, you might be at a loud concert listening to a particularly passionate DJ – this might be a good scenario to employ ‘ça tape.’

The first meaning, which refers to the heat, is more commonly used across generations, whereas the second might be heard more from a younger audience. 

 Use it like this

Dès que je suis sortie de l’appartement et que je suis entrée dans la rue, j’ai dit “Ça tape !” car le soleil était si fort.– As soon as I stepped out of the apartment and into the street, I said to myself “it’s blazing!” because the sun was so strong.

Ce festival est incroyable, tout le monde est dans le même esprit. Ouh t’entends cette basse ? Ça tape !  – This festival is amazing, everyone is really in the same mood. Do you hear that bass? It’s banging.