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French expression of the day: Bien dans sa peau

Most of us could probably need a bit more of this French expression.

French expression of the day: Bien dans sa peau
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know bien dans sa peau?

Because it’s such a canny way to describe inner peace.

What does it mean?

Bien dans sa peau literally translates to 'good in one's skin'.

It usually follows after the verb être (to be), which changes depending who you're talking about and whether it's present, past or future tense. 

Être bien dans sa peau means the same as the English expression 'comfortable in one's own skin' or someone who accepts themselves as they are and feels at ease.

Je suis bien dans ma peau – I'm feeling comfortable in my own skin.

Just like its English equivalent, it implies a feeling of ease and confidence. A French synonym is se sentir épanoui, which means 'to feel fulfilled'.

You can also use it in the contrary sense, by replacing bien with mal (bad). 

Je me sens mal dans ma peau. – I'm not feeling comfortable in my own skin.

In this case, “the skin is considered as a sort of prison within which one is trapped,” according to French online dictionary l'Internaute.

Use it like this

J'adore avoir 50 ans. Je ne me suis jamais senti aussi bien dans ma peau. – I love being 50. I've never felt this at ease with myself.

Je ne sais pas ce qu'elle a en ce moment, mais c'est sûr qu'elle est mal dans sa peau. – I'm not sure what's wrong with her at the moment, but she certainly isn't comfortable in her own skin.

Il faut arrêter de lire toutes ces conneries, sinon tu ne seras jamais bien dans ta peau ! – You need to stop reading all that crap, otherwise you'll never feel good about yourself.

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French Expression of the Day: Faire trempette

You'll definitely need this phrase as the temperature rises.

French Expression of the Day: Faire trempette

Why do I need to know faire trempette?

Because you might need this phrase to describe that urge to jump in the water once the temperature hits a certain degree this summer.

What does it mean?

Faire trempette – usually pronounced fair trahm-pet – literally means ‘to make dipping sauce’ because the word ‘trempette’ is actually a condiment, or a dip, typically used for raw vegetables. In Canada, the dip is popular, and quite similar to Ranch dressing – a great addition to your crudités (vegetable snacks). 

But this phrase does not have anything to do with your healthy finger-food – in the colloquial sense, the phrase faire trempette actually means to take a dip – as in to go swimming.  

The way the expression came to become about swimming and not eating is pretty logical – in the 1600s a ‘trempette’ was a slice of bread dipped in liquid. As time went on people started to say ‘faire la trempette’ to describe the action of dipping food in liquid – like bread into wine – prior to taking a bite.

It became the metaphorical way of talking about taking a very short bath in the 19th century and now it’s the best way to reference the urge to  splash around for a second before heading back to the lounge chairs to tan. 

While you may  not have heard of this phrase before, you’ve definitely heard its synonym: the verb ‘se baigner’ (‘to bathe,’ but more so used as ‘to swim’). 

Use it like this

Comme la température augmente, je suis encore plus tentée d’aller faire trempette dans le canal. – As the temperature gets higher, I am even more tempted to go take a dip in the canal. 

Je pense que je vais faire trempette et ensuite m’allonger pour bronzer au soleil pendant un moment. – I think I will take a dip and then lay out to tan for a bit.