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French phrase of the day: Faire son Kévin

Do you know a Kevin? They might not be thrilled about this phrase.

French phrase of the day: Faire son Kévin
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know faire son Kévin?

This is French teen-speak, so if you plan on hanging out with teenagers or would just quite like to know what they're on about, this is a handy little phrase.

What does it mean?

It means to be childish, immature or just generally lame and annoying.

It's unlikely to be one that you will need during an appointment with your bank manager, but if you hear a French teenager tell their mate Jean-Pierre, arrête de faire ton Kévin it basically means that Jean-Pierre is being childish, immature and getting on everybody's tits.

You can use it to talk about people too.

Ah, il a fait son Kévin donc je suis parti – Oh, he was being really annoying so I left 

So why does Kévin get this dubious honour?

Well the name Kévin briefly became extremely popular in France, with 14,087 French parents naming their baby boys Kévin in 1991, largely on the back of two films – Dancing with Wolves starring Kevin Costner and Home Alone featuring Kevin McAllister.

READ ALSO How France fell in and out of love with Kévin

The name then rapidly fell out of favour, meaning that by the mid 2000s there was a whole generation of teenage Kévins and the word came to be associated with the classic teenager – grumpy, lazy and annoying.

So if you accuse someone of 'doing their Kévin' it means they are acting like everyone's worst stereotype of a teenager.

There is a female version – faire son Vanessa – but it's much less widely used.



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French Expression of the Day: Avoir des idées arrêtées

This type of person knows what they like, and more importantly, what they don't like.

French Expression of the Day: Avoir des idées arrêtées

Why do I need to know avoir des idées arrêtées ?

Because your friend who will only watch certain movie genres might be described this way.

What does it mean?

Avoir des idées arrêtées roughly pronounced ah vwar dayz ee-day arr-eh-tay –  translates precisely to “to have stopped ideas.” 

In its normal usage, the phrase translates more accurately as “to have strong opinions” or “to have fixed ideas” – being uncompromising in your one’s viewpoints. 

Another way to describe this type of person in French might be “catégorique” (or ‘categorical’ in English). 

You might also hear this expression as “des idées bien arrêtées” – meaning someone who has ‘very’ strong opinions. Depending on context, this phrase might have a bit of a negative connotation, particularly if it is being used to portray someone as being stubborn.

Use it like this

Elle a des idées arrêtées sur les films, comme elle refuse de regarder tout autre film que ceux de Marvel. Elle ne veut même pas regarder les films DC. – She has very strong opinions about films, for instance she only watches Marvel movies. She won’t even watch DC movies.

Tout le monde dit qu’il a des opinions arrêtées, mais je l’ai trouvé flexible sur certaines choses… comme le choix d’un restaurant. – Everyone says he is uncompromising, but I find him to be flexible on some things, like choosing a restaurant.