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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French word of the day: Jusqu’au-boutiste

Are you one of these?

French word of the day: Jusqu'au-boutiste
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know jusqu'au-boutiste?

Because it's a common caricature of French politicians, which supposedly originated as a timely war reference.

What does it mean?

As you may know, jusqu’au bout is a common French expression that means ‘all the way’ or ‘until the end’. Jusqu’à means ‘until the’ and le bout means 'the end'.

On ira jusqu’au bout – we will go all the way.

A jusqu'au-boutiste, therefore, is a person willing to go all the way for their beliefs. It's an 'all-the-way-ist' – in the same way we call followers of liberalism 'liberalists' or communism 'communists'.

According to Expressionfrançaises.fr, the expression originated during the 20th century during World War I. Les jusqu'au-boutistes wouldn't give up, no matter the (human) cost.

Today it's a caricature more than anything, often used as a pejorative way of talking about politicians who are too 'radical', or even 'extremist', according to French online dictionary l’Internaute.

Some have used it to poke fun at US president Donald Trump because of his perceived stubborn reluctance to concede that he might not have won the election.

 

For example, les jusqu'au-boutistes Fillon refers to the 'Fillon-fanatics', those said to want to support the former leader of Les Républicains (French Conservative Party) even after he was exposed for having committed fraud.

But it can also simply mean ne pas baisser les bras (not to give up).

Use it like this

C'est impossible de négocier avec ces syndicats jusqu'au-boutistes. – It's impossible to negotiate with these fanatical unions.

Il faut arrêter ce jusq'au-boutisme ridicule. Il faudra plutôt trouver des compromis. – This ridiculous extremism must stop. We need to rather find compromises. 

Sans les jusqu'au-boutistes on n'aurait jamais fait des réels progrès sur les sujets comme les droits de femmes. – Without the radicals, we would have never made real progress on topics such as women's rights.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Being patronised by a Frenchman? Roll out this phrase.

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Why do I need to know ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines?

Because someone might be trying to take you for a fool.

What does it mean?

Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines – pronounced ne me pren pah pour un lapan de see sem-enn – translates as ‘don’t take me for a six-week-old rabbit’, and is a go-to phrase to warn people not to mistake you for a fool, someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

The podcast Hit West from French regional newspaper Ouest-France suggests that the ‘six weeks’ comes from the age a rabbit is weaned at, and must therefore be ready to survive on its own.

And why a rabbit at all? Well no-one really seems very sure. Rabbits don’t get a good rap in the French language though, to stand someone up is poser un lapin in French.

English-language metaphor equivalents may be, “I didn’t come down in the last shower”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, or, as Line of Duty’s DCI Hastings might say, “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble”.

Use it like this

Honestly, keep it simple. If someone’s speaking to you in a patronising manner, simply say: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines.

Ouest France suggests that this is the ‘more elegant’ way to request that people don’t take you for a fool. It’s not offensive, but it might be a little old-fashioned. 

Alternatives

You can use the more basic version of this phrase – Ne me prends pas pour une idiote (don’t take me for a fool) or the slightly more punchy Ne me prends pas pour un con (don’t take me for a moron).

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