French phrase of the day: Mettre du baume au cœur

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

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.

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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.


Remonter le moral – boost moral

Consoler – console/comfort

Rénconforter – comfort

Réchauffer l’âme – lift your spirits

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