For members


French expression of the day: Faire marrer

We hope 2021 will bring a lot of this French expression.

French expression of the day: Faire marrer
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know faire marrer?

Because it's common, but also similar to a different expression that means pretty much the opposite.

What does it mean?

Faire marrer – pronounced 'fer marré' – means 'to make (someone) laugh' or 'crack (someone) up'.

Faire is the French verb for 'to do' something and marrer means 'to amuse someone a lot' or 'to make someone laugh', according to French online dictionary l'Internaute.

Similarly, se marrer means 'to amuse oneself' or 'laugh' and marrant means 'funny'.

You can faire marrer quelqu'un (crack someone up) but something can also te faire marrer (crack you up).

To use the expression you just need to conjugate faire correctly and add a mete or other article, if it's something that is making someone laugh.

For example: Ca te fait marrer, hein ? – You think that's funny, huh?

Don't confuse se marrer with en avoir marre, which means 'to be sick of' something.

Use it like this

Il nous a tellement fait marrer, on était tous mort de rire. – He really cracked us up, we could not stop laughing.

C'est drôle comme blague. Vous me faites marrer ! – That's a funny joke. You make me laugh! 

Taisez-vous, on ne va pas à l'école pour se marrer. – Be quiet, you're not in school to have a giggle.


Faire rire – make (someone) laugh

Rigoler – laugh/joke

Se bidonner – chuckle


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For members


French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

This might look like a mix of Spanish and French, but it is definitely not Franish.

French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

Why do I need to know mettre le holà?

Because you might need to do this if your friends go from laughing with you to laughing at you. 

What does it mean?

Mettre le holà – pronounced meh-truh luh oh-la – literally means to put the ‘holà’ on something. You might be thinking this must be some clever mix of Spanish and French, but ‘holà’ actually has nothing to do with the Spanish greeting. 

This expression is a way to say that’s enough – or to ‘put the brakes on something.’

If a situation appears to be agitated, and you feel the need to intervene in order to help calm things down, then this might be the expression you would use. Another way of saying it in English might be to ‘put the kibosh on it.’

While the origins of ‘kibosh’ appear to be unknown, ‘holà’ goes back to the 14th century in France. Back then, people would shout “Ho! Qui va là?” (Oh, who goes there?) as an interjection to call someone out or challenge them. 

Over time this transformed into the simple holà, which you might hear on the streets, particularly if you engage in some risky jaywalking. 

A French synonym for this expression is ‘freiner’ – which literally means ‘to break’ or ‘put the brakes on,’ and can be used figuratively as well as literally. 

Use it like this

Tu aurais dû mettre le holà tout de suite. Cette conversation a duré bien trop longtemps, et il était si offensif. – You should have put a stop to that immediately. That conversation went on for too long, and he was so offensive. 

J’ai essayé de mettre le holà à la blague sur ma mère, mais ils étaient sans pitié. – I tried to put a stop to the joke about my mother, but they were merciless.