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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Fête sauvage

It's a wild party, but probably not of the type that you want to be invited to right now.

French phrase of the Day: Fête sauvage
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know fête sauvage?

This phrase is being used more and more in the news recently and it’s a phrase that’s extremely useful to know to detect if someone is breaking the Covid-19 rules.

What does it mean?

Translated literally, fête sauvage means ‘wild party’ but it's not something you would use to describe an amazing night out.

The word sauvage can mean wild as in champignons sauvages (wild mushrooms) but it also has a secondary meaning of unathorised.

So in the context of the pandemic, a fête sauvage is an ‘illegal party’ or ‘unauthorised party’ and it refers to the parties people are holding that clearly go against the ban on large gatherings, the 8pm curfew and the social distancing rules.

The word sauvage is commonly used in the context of law-breaking, for example a rodéo sauvage is illegal street-racing, usually of motorbikes or scooters.

Fête sauvage is more used in the context of people describing the parties in disapproving terms, rather than the among the people who might have been invited, as this British mum of a bilingual teenager discovered.

 

Use it like this

Malgré le Covid-19 et le couvre-feu, une fête sauvage a été organisée à Paris – Despite Covid-19 and the curfew, an unauthorised party was organised in Paris

Mes voisins ont organisé une fête sauvage, alors j’ai appelé la police – My neighbours held an illegal party so I called the police

La police a annoncé qu’elle allait sévir contre les fêtes sauvages suite à un pic dans les cas de Coronavirus – The police have announced they’re going to crack down on illegal parties following a spike in Coronavirus cases

Synonym

Fête clandestine 
 

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For members

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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