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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French word of the Day: Potins

As lockdown lifts and we meet up with friends and colleagues again, many people will be asking for this.

French word of the Day: Potins
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know les potins?

Because it's highly likely that people will be swapping it over the next few weeks.

What does it mean?

It means the gossip, the latest news, all that has been happening and it's particularly apt right now as office colleagues, friends and family begin to meet up again after long separations during the lockdown.

So it's highly likely that people will be asking you

C'est quoi les derniers potins? – What's the latest gossip/what's been going on?

Or someone might tell you

J'ai entendu de très bons potins sur un certain homme politique français pendant le confinement – I heard some really good gossip about a certain French politician during lockdown.

Generally, les potins is a nice word for gossip, it means gossip in the sense of a good chat or a good catch up.

Les voici : les infos, les potins… ce qui compte vraiment, quoi! – Here they are: news, gossip… what really matters!

You might also hear about les potins des stars – celebrity gossip.

The word les ragots also means the gossip, but is generally used in a more disapproving sense, for example if someone is spreading malicious rumours.

READ ALSO The 10 French phrases that will let you have a good gossip

 

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Being patronised by a Frenchman? Roll out this phrase.

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Why do I need to know ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines?

Because someone might be trying to take you for a fool.

What does it mean?

Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines – pronounced ne me pren pah pour un lapan de see sem-enn – translates as ‘don’t take me for a six-week-old rabbit’, and is a go-to phrase to warn people not to mistake you for a fool, someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

The podcast Hit West from French regional newspaper Ouest-France suggests that the ‘six weeks’ comes from the age a rabbit is weaned at, and must therefore be ready to survive on its own.

And why a rabbit at all? Well no-one really seems very sure. Rabbits don’t get a good rap in the French language though, to stand someone up is poser un lapin in French.

English-language metaphor equivalents may be, “I didn’t come down in the last shower”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, or, as Line of Duty’s DCI Hastings might say, “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble”.

Use it like this

Honestly, keep it simple. If someone’s speaking to you in a patronising manner, simply say: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines.

Ouest France suggests that this is the ‘more elegant’ way to request that people don’t take you for a fool. It’s not offensive, but it might be a little old-fashioned. 

Alternatives

You can use the more basic version of this phrase – Ne me prends pas pour une idiote (don’t take me for a fool) or the slightly more punchy Ne me prends pas pour un con (don’t take me for a moron).

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