French expression of the day: Je suis HS

French expression of the day: Je suis HS
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Do you feel like a defective photocopier? Here's how to express that in French.

Why do I need to know je suis HS?

Because, cryptic as it may seem as expression, it's quite commonly used in France and – as soon as you get what it means – it's obvious why.

What does it mean?

As you probably know, je suis means 'I am'.

HS is the French abbreviation for hors-service, which means 'out of service'.

If you have worked in a French office, you probably will have seen annoying Post-it notes with hors service ! scribbled on them hanging on printers, elevators or (worst of all) coffee makers to signal that they don't work.

L'imprimante est HS – the printer is out of service.

When used about an object, the meaning of HS is like en panne (out of service), but if the item that's HS is you yourself, the meaning changes slightly.

Je suis HS means 'I'm out of service' spiritually, emotionally or physically speaking, as in 'I'm knackered', 'I'm exhausted', 'I'm drained' or 'I'm done'.

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Use it like this

When speaking, you run the H and the S together, so the phrase sounds more like 'je suis ashesse'

J'étais au sport hier et mon coach sportif m'a tué, je suis complètement HS. – I was at the gym yesterday and my PT killed me, I'm completely knackered.

Je ne sais pas ce que j'ai en ce moment, je suis HS. – I don't know what's wrong with me at the moment, I'm drained.

J'aurai bien besoin d'un café, mais la machine est HS. – I'd have loved a coffee, but the coffee maker is broken.


There is a long list of ways to say you're extremely tired in French – either life here is particularly exhausting or French people enjoy complaining about tired they are all the time (we couldn't possible speculate).

Here are some of the most common;

Je n'en peux plus – I can't take anymore 

Je suis crevé – I am knackered

Je suis au bout du rouleau – I am at the edge

Je suis KO – I am knocked out

Je suis mort – I am dead (figuratively speaking)

Je suis épuisé – I am exhausted

Je suis lessivé – I am drained

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