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WORD OF DAY

French expression of the day: Comme une fleur

Another French expression that sounds nice but isn't.

French expression of the day: Comme une fleur
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know comme une fleur ?

Because if you are a foreigner living in France, chances are that you are sometimes acting 'like a flower'.

What does it mean ?

Comme une fleur is a form of fake politeness, most often used to make fun of naive or unprepared people.

It is generally used when someone has arrived unprepared in a given situation. For example, you have arrived comme une fleur in Paris if you were expecting the entire city to look like Montmartre.  

Originally, comme une fleur was used to describe something happening naturally, like a flower blooming in springtime, but over time has come to be used more in its ironic sense.

Comme une fleur can also mean that your presence is embarrassing or unwanted.

So even though comme une fleur sounds like a poetic phrase, it is not exactly nice. If somebody says that you have been arriving comme une fleur, ask yourself whether you have a clue about what is going on.

Use it like this

Je ne pensais pas que ce serait si difficile d’avoir un pass Navigo. Je suis arrivée comme une fleur au guichet, et on m’a dit qu’il fallait donner cinq documents – I never thought it would be that difficult to get a Navigo pass for the Metro. I arrived innocently at the counter, and I was told I needed to give them five documents.

J’en ai assez de Gabriel, il ne prépare jamais rien. Il est encore arrivé comme une fleur à la réunion ce matin – I can’t stand Gabriel’s attitude, he never prepares anything. As usual, he did not have a clue at this morning’s meeting.

On s’amusait bien à la fête de Léo, et Antoine est arrivé comme une fleur alors que personne ne l’avait invité – We were having a good time at Leo’s party, and Antoine showed up even though no one invited him. It was awkward.

Synonyms

Comme un cheveu sur la soupe – To come at the worst possible moment.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

The long-range forecast suggests that this will be a handy phrase this summer.

French Expression of the Day: Ça tape

Why do I need to know ça tape?

Because you might want a way to describe the feeling of walking down a long boulevard with no shade in sight…or a techno concert.

What does it mean?

Ça tape usually pronounced sah tap – literally translates to ‘it taps’ or ‘it hits.’ The verb being used is taper, which means to hit or slap, and colloquially can be used to seek monetary support from someone. It is also the verb for ‘to type.’ But when spoken, this phrase does not involve violence, financial assistance, or note-taking.

Ça tape is a way to say ‘it’s scorching’ and complain about the hot weather or the search for shade. If someone uses it under a hot sun, and they say “ça tape”  or “ça tape fort” they’re referring to the particularly violent, piercing heat.

It can also be used to say something is intense, particularly in relation to music. It bears a similar colloquial meaning to the English informal phrase “it hits” or “it’s banging.” For example, you might be at a loud concert listening to a particularly passionate DJ – this might be a good scenario to employ ‘ça tape.’

The first meaning, which refers to the heat, is more commonly used across generations, whereas the second might be heard more from a younger audience. 

 Use it like this

Dès que je suis sortie de l’appartement et que je suis entrée dans la rue, j’ai dit “Ça tape !” car le soleil était si fort.– As soon as I stepped out of the apartment and into the street, I said to myself “it’s blazing!” because the sun was so strong.

Ce festival est incroyable, tout le monde est dans le même esprit. Ouh t’entends cette basse ? Ça tape !  – This festival is amazing, everyone is really in the same mood. Do you hear that bass? It’s banging.

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