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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the day: Mettre du baume au cœur

You know that feeling when the sun finally appears after months of hiding behind thick, grey clouds? In French, that's called 'putting ointment on your heart'.

French phrase of the day: Mettre du baume au cœur
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know mettre du baume au cœur ?

Because it’s a cute expression, which is also timely for the season.

What does it mean?

Mettre du baume au cœur directly translates as ‘to put balm on the heart’ which is a French metaphor that means that something makes you feel better. 

It’s a great expression as we enter spring time, as it perfectly captures that feeling when the sun finally appears after months of cold and grey weather. 

Something that met du baume au cœur ‘consoles’, ‘reassures’ and ‘appeases’, according to French online dictionary l’Internaute. It’s like “talking to a sad or worried person until they feel better”.

When used in a sentence you generally say that ça met du baume au cœur. It’s similar to ‘it warms my heart’ (rechauffer le cœur in French).

You’d rarely hear someone say tu me mets du baume au cœur (you warm my heart), but rather something in the lines of merci pour tes mots gentils, ça mets du baume au cœur – thank you for the kind words, it warms my heart.

Origins

Baume comes from the Latin term balsamum and Greek balsamon, which means ‘balm’, ‘balsam’ or ‘salve’ in English.

The full expression originated in the second half of the 20th century, according to l’Internaute. The idea was that putting balm on the heart soothes the mind, just like skin balm would to a painful rash.

Use it like this

Voir tous ces enfants qui se tiennent la main, ça met du baume au cœur. – Watching all these kids holding hands, it really warms my heart.

Le printemps arrive pour nous mettre du baume au cœur. – The spring comes to warm our hearts. 

C’est super ces jeunes qui rendent visite aux personnes âgées. Ça met vraiment du baume au cœur. – It’s great to have these young people visiting the elderly. It really warms my heart.

Synonyms

Remonter le moral – boost moral

Consoler – console/comfort

Rénconforter – comfort

Réchauffer l’âme – lift your spirits

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: La Première ministre

A brand new coinage in the French language that reflects the changing times.

French Expression of the Day: La Première ministre

Why do I need to know la Première ministre?

Because France has one now.

What does it mean?

La Première ministre – usually pronounced lah prem-ee-air mean-east-ruh– translates as “the prime minister,” but this spelling is different from what you might be used to seeing.

This title is feminised, indicating that the prime minister in question is a woman. Under former PMs such as Jean Castex, the masculine title Le Premier ministre was used.

Élisabeth Borne made headlines on May 16th not only because she was appointed as France’s second female prime minister, but also because she will be the first to use the feminisation of the work title: Madame la Première ministre. The female prime minister who held the position before her, Edith Cresson, used the masculine version of the title.

Feminising work titles has been controversial in France, and most titles like “le Premier ministre” have been automatically put in masculine form.

But in 2019, France’s infamous Academie Francaise, which polices the French language and typically resists any sweeping changes to it, changed their stance and said there was “no obstacle in principle” to the wholesale feminisation of job titles. 

Use it like this

Le Président Emmanuel Macron a fait une annonce importante. Élisabeth Borne est la Première ministre. – President Emmanuel Macron made an important announcement: Élisabeth Borne is the prime minister.

“Madame la Première ministre, qui avez-vous choisi pour diriger votre nouveau gouvernement ?” a demandé le journaliste. – “Madame Prime Minister, who have you chosen to lead your new government?” asked the journalist.

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