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French expression of the Day: Une commère

Because everyone sometimes enjoys a good gossip.

French expression of the Day: Une commère
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know une commère? 

It’s the ideal word to describe someone who has a passion for gossiping.

What does it mean? 

Une commère is the French term for a person who is always on the lookout for a new gossip.

Although commère is a feminine word, it can be used for a man as well (and the une doesn't change into un). She/he loves to chitchat about anyone or anything, as long as it has nothing to do with herself/himself.

She/he is a character known to be curious, who loves informal talking and spreading rumors.


commère is what Anglos would call 'a good gossip'.

In the past, a commère described a common woman who imposed herself thanks to her energy and her language. A commère could also be used to describe a “godmother”.

Use it like this

Usually, French will use une commère in a pejorative way, to signal that someone is irritating.

Mais quelle commère ! – What a gossip!

Si seulement elle arrêtait de faire sa commère, elle pourrait se concentrer sur des choses plus importantes. – If only she stopped being a gossip, she could concentrate on more important stuff.

Il adore être une commère, surtout quand ça concerne les gens du bureau. – He loves being a gossip, especially when it regards people at work. 


Concierge – gossip

Pipelette/ bavarde – someone who doesn't stop talking

In the mood for some good gossip in French? Check our article about the 10 French phrases that will help you out.


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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.