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French word of the day: Grogner

There's more than just one way 'to complain' in French. Here's one for times that merit real growling.

French word of the day: Grogner
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know grogner?

Because learning French is also about French cultural quirks, and this is arguably one of them.

What does it mean?

Grogner translates to 'grunt', 'growl' or 'grumble' in English, and is one of the many French expressions referring to the, arguably very French, act of complaining.

READ ALSO Why I love the French habits of scolding and complaining

According to French online dictionary l'Internaute, grogner means to “make one's dissatisfaction heard”.

Other French expressions for that is râler, rouspéter, grommeler, ronchonner or se plaindre – along with a few moreDepending on where you live and what circles you run in, you probably will have heard some of these and not others.

READ ALSO Eleven phrases that will let you complain like the French

La grogne means 'the discontent', and can be used to talk about anger in certain social groups, for example la grogne syndicale – the anger expressed by trade unions.

Use it like this

Thibault, je t'entends grogner là-bas, tu en penses quoi ? – Thibault, I hear your grumblings over there, what do you reckon?

Elle grogne tout le temps, peu importe la suggestion. Elle n'est jamais contente. – She always complains, no matter the suggestion. She's never pleased.

J'en ai marre de t'écouter grogner tout le temps. Pour une fois de ta vie, tu pourrais essayer d'être optimiste ? – I'm sick of listening to your complaining all the time. For once in your life, can you try to be optimistic?


Rouspéter – to complain

Râler – to complain

Bougonner – to grumble

Ronchonner – to grumble/complain/protest

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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