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French word of the day: Mec

Here's a must-know slang expression to be used among friends, youngsters or about lovers.

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

Why do I need to know mec?

Because it’s an example of French slang that is so commonly used that we were surprised to find we had not explained it to our readers already.

What does it mean?

In France, un mec is ‘a guy’, ‘a dude’, ‘a bro’ or ‘a homie’ if you will. It can also be just a 'man' or a 'boyfriend', it really all depends on the context.

Most often, mec is often used by young people as a nickname that expresses fondness between friends.

In this variant, mec becomes a superfluous addition to the sentence, like when you add 'dude' to a sentence in English.

Ca va mec ? – How's it going, bro?

Je sais, mec, ce n'est pas facile – I know, mate, it's not easy.

In the other variant, mec replaces another male pronoun, like le monsieur or le type or le garçon.

Tu as vu le mec de Syrine ? Il est tellement beau ! – Have you seen Syrine's boyfriend? He's gorgeous!

Use it like this

Salut mec, tu fais quoi ce soir ? – Hey dude, what are you up to tonight?

Mon mec déteste la plage, donc on ne va jamais en vacances au bord de la mer. – My boyfriend hates the beach so we never go on holiday by the sea.

Je n'en peux plus des mecs qui me sifflent dans la rue, ce sont vraiment des porcs. – I can't deal with guys who whistle when I walk past them, they're such pigs.

For women

The female variant of mec is meuf, which is French slang for ‘woman’, ‘girl’ or ‘bird’.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Faire son miel

Surprisingly, this phrase has nothing to do with beekeeping.

French Expression of the Day: Faire son miel

Why do I need to know faire son miel?

Because you might want to describe how you were able to buy a new wardrobe after the airline lost your luggage.

What does it mean?

Faire son miel – usually pronounced fair soan mee-ell – literally means to make your honey, or to make your own honey. In practice, this phrase actually means to take advantage of a situation, usually by turning a profit or to get the most out of a situation. 

The phrase comes from the idea that bees are actually profiteers: they take advantage of flowers in order to make honey. In the 16th century, this phrase was first put into use, and it followed the idea that bees fly up to the innocent flowers and steal their nectar and pollen for their own purposes. People began to use this as a way to describe people who take advantage of others or particular situations for their own benefit, or those who take things that do not belong to them.

Though the phrase is tied to the idea of turning a situation around for your own benefit, it is does not necessarily have a negative connotation. It can be used both for physical profit, or intellectual. It is somewhat similar to the English phrase of ‘making lemonade from lemons’ – taking a bad situation and making something good out of it.

In fact, French actually has another phrase that is quite similar to this one: faire son beurre, which is potentially even older than faire son miel

Use it like this

La compagnie aérienne a perdu nos sacs, avec tous nos vêtements dedans. Nous avons pu faire notre miel de la situation et acheter un nouvel ensemble de meilleurs vêtements avec l’argent de la compagnie aérienne! – The airline lost our bags, with all our clothes inside. We were able to take advantage of the situation by buying a whole new wardrobe on their dime!

Les oiseaux font leur miel de tous les nouveaux arbres plantés dans la ville. Ils profitent de ce nouvel espace pour faire leurs nids. – The birds are taking advantage of all the new trees being planted across the city. They are enjoying the new space to build their nests.

Le politicien a fait son miel des fonds supplémentaires et en a utilisé une partie pour son propre projet de construction. Ils pourraient le mettre en procès pour corruption. – The politician took advantage of the extra public funds for his own construction project. They might put him on trial for corruption.