For members


French expression of the day: Je suis HS

Do you feel like a defective photocopier? Here's how to express that in French.

French expression of the day: Je suis HS
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

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'.

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

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