For members


French expression of the day: Depuis belle lurette

In French, an hour becomes an eternity when used the right way.

French expression of the day: Depuis belle lurette
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know depuis belle lurette?

Because it’s a great way to show off your French vocab. Plus, even though the French use it often, few really know the history behind the expression.

What does it mean?

Depuis belle lurette or il y a belle lurette translates to 'for ages' or 'a long time ago'.

In French the literal meaning is il y a une bonne petite heure – 'a good little hour ago', which doesn't sound like very long, but it is.

Lurette doesn't really mean anything in French. It comes for the word hurette, which is a diminutive for heure and means 'little hour'.

The expression il y a belle lurette first appeared all the way back in 1877, according to French online dictionary Expressio.

No one knows exactly how or when heurette became lurette, but the dictionary says it's likely from the L' that usually precedes the l'heure in French. Another explanation is that the silent H became an L over time because of the L in belle.

Use it like this

Je n’ai pas dansé depuis belle lurette ! – It’s been ages since I last danced!

You can drop the belle and just stick to lurette:

Je l’attends depuis lurette. I’ve been waiting for him for ages.

Il y a lurette que je ne suis pas allé skier. – I haven't been skiing in a good old while.


Depuis longtemps – In a long time

Depuis la nuit des temps – Since forever

By Olivia Sorrel Dejerine


Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Expression of the Day: La clim’

You'll definitely want to know about this during the summer.

French Expression of the Day: La clim'

Why do I need to know la clim’?

Because the lack of green spaces in cities might find you looking desperately for fresh air.

What does it mean?

La clim’, pronounced la-cleem, means air conditioning, it is a shortened version of la climatisation.

Climatisation comes from the word climatiseur, which itself comes from Klima in Greek and means the inclination of planet Earth from the equator to the poles. This inclination of the planet on its axis is responsible for the seasons and if you find yourself in a French city in August your inclination will definitely be towards climatisation.

Air-conditioning in private homes is not common France, some hotels have it but not all and in the summer months restaurants will often advertise air-con if they have it, as a way of luring in hot-and-bothered tourists.

If you find yourself desperate for cool air, head to a supermarket – almost all French supermarkets are air-conditioned in the summer. Or for a more fun option just head to the nearest city fountain or water feature and join the locals who are splashing around to cool off.

Use it like this

Il fait très chaud, avez-vous la clim’ dans votre hotel ? – It’s really hot, do you have air-con in the hotel?

Je n’aime pas mettre la clim’ en route car cela est mauvais pour la santé et l’environnement – I don’t like turning on the AC, it’s bad for my health and for the environment

Il fait froid, peut-on s’il vous plait éteindre la clim’ ? – It’s cold, could  we turn off the air-con?

La clim’ fait beaucoup de bruit, pouvons-nous la mettre en sourdine ? – This AC is really noisy, could we turn it down?


Un climatiseur – the formal name for an air-conditioner (in French the air conditioning is feminine by the air conditioner is masculine)

Un ventilateur – a ventilator

Un Brumisateur – a ‘fogger’ – these machines which pump out cool water vapour are often seen on the streets and in parks during the summer

Un Rafraichisseur d’air – an air freshener