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French word of the day: Mouais

French word of the day: Mouais
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
When you're not really sure whether you fully agree with something, this is the expression.

Why do I need to know mouais?

There are several ways to answer questions in the affirmative in French (oui, ouais, si, bien sûr, mais oui…) but it’s important to get the nuances right.

What does it mean?

Mouais is the contraction of a hesitating “hmm” sound and ouais, the informal French 'yes'. It is usually used to answer in the affirmative whilst also showing uncertainty or doubt and might be translated as 'kind of', 'not really' or just 'yes, but I’m not sure'.

It may also be used to express dissatisfaction or indifference.

Use it like this

Tu aimes le chocolat? Mouais, en fait, pas trop – 'Do you like chocolate? Kind of. Actually, not really'

Mouais, tu dois avoir raison – 'I guess so, you're probably right'

Tu as aimé le film? Mouais, ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canard – 'Did you like the film? Not really, it’s nothing to write home about.'

Tu vois ce que je veux dire? Mouais, pas trop – 'Do you know what I mean? Not really.'

Synonyms

Bof – Not great, meh.

Not to be confused with…

Mouais is also the name of a French town in the Loire-Atlantique département, the inhabitants of which are called Mouaisiens

 

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