For members


French word of the day: Gamin

Here's one for kids and grown-ups who act like big babies.

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

Why do I need to know gamin?

Because if someone calls you a gamin it can mean two different things.

What does it mean?

Firstly, gamin refers to a 'child'. However the expression is quite familiar so a better translation is probably 'kid'.

Un gamin means a young boy and une gamine means a young girl.

Dis-donc, il est mignon ton gamin ! – What a cute kid you have there!

Secondly, gamin is a way of saying that someone is acting 'childish'.

Arrêtes de te comporter comme un gamin ! – Stop acting like a child! 

Use it like this

Cette gamine est tellement intelligente. – That girl is so intelligent.

Je n'aime pas les gamins. – I don't like kids.

Il a envie des gamins depuis des années. – He's been wanting kids for years.

Profites, tu ne sais pas combien la vie change dès que tu as des gamins. – Enjoy, you have no idea how much life changes as soon as you have kids.


Enfant – child

Gosse – small child

Bambin – small child

Môme – small child


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For members


French Expression of the Day: Découvrir le pot aux roses

You might do this while gardening or while reading the tabloids.

French Expression of the Day: Découvrir le pot aux roses

Why do I need to know découvrir le pot aux roses?

Because if you enjoy celebrity gossip, then you probably will find good use for this phrase

What does it mean?

Découvrir le pot aux roses – pronounced day-coov-rear le pot-oh rose – literally translates to ‘to discover the pot of roses.’ 

You might use this expression when finding out about some exciting gossip or maybe when discovering what your partner secretly planned for your anniversary, as this phrase in actuality is what you would say when you learn something secret or hidden. 

In English, when discussing secrets, you might say someone has ‘spilled the beans’ or ‘let the cat out of the bag,’ but the French phrase is more about the person who has found out about the hidden item or truth, not the person who told it, as it ‘spill the beans’.

The origins of this French expression are not what you might expect, historically, the phrase has little to do with the flowers.

During the Middle Ages, the verb ‘découvrir’ had the meaning of ‘to lift a lid’ and at the time the phrase ‘pot aux roses’ referred to a small box that wealthy women used to store their perfumes, as well as their makeup. They often used these boxes to keep secrets, letters, or notes that they did not want others to stumble upon.

Use it like this

Pendant l’afterwork, Sarah a raconté à tout le monde les secrets les plus fous sur la vie privée du patron. Je ne comprends pas comment elle a réussi à découvrir le pot aux roses. – During the work happy hour, Sarah told us all about the wildest secrets of our boss’ personal life. I don’t understand how she managed to unearth that gossip.

Il a découvert le pot aux roses lorsqu’il s’est connecté à l’ordinateur de son colocataire pour regarder simplement son mail. – He discovered the secret when he logged onto his roommate’s laptop to just check his email.