For members


French word of the day: Confifi

This a recent addition to the French language concerning a very relevant topic.

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

Why do I need to know confifi?

Because it sounds like a much nicer concept than what it actually is referring to, so it’s good to know what it actually means.

What does it mean?

Confifi is not a real word, it’s really just a slang version of confinement, the French term for ‘lockdown’.

It originated during the first lockdown in the spring of 2020, along with a long list of other “Covid terms” like lundimanche, a fusion of lundi (Monday) and dimanche (Sunday) to highlight the monotony of life in confinement and how one day blurs into the other; jeudredi, the same concept just with jeudi (Thursday) and vendredi (Friday); and covidépriment (covidepressing).

READ ALSO: Quatorzaine to glottophobie: The French words of 2020

Confifi has become more common lately, especially in young crowds.

The word itself sounds misleadingly cute for what in reality is a pretty awful concept, but that might actually be among the reasons why it spread, as some sort of linguistic defence mechanism.

Another reason might have something to do with the fact that France has undergone two strict lockdowns already and is possibly headed for a third, so the concept of lockdown has become a lot more casual in French society (not that it’s a something people really get used to, but it’s seen as less extreme now than before the first one in March 2020).

Plus, some people actually claim the current 6pm to 6am couvre-feu (curfew) is even worse than confifi, because during lockdown it was possible to run errands in the evenings even with restrictions on movement. The couvre-feu means all shops must close at 6pm, meaning people who work later than that can’t get groceries on their way home. It also means public transport is more crowded than usual in the time before the curfew hits.

Use it like this

J’en ai marre de me battre dans les magasins à 17h30 à cause du couvre-feu. Franchement je préfère le confifi. – I’m sick of fighting in shops at 5.30pm due to the curfew. Frankly I prefer lockdown.

Alors, ça te dis qu’on part à la campagne pour le prochain confifi ? – So what do you say about heading for the countryside for the next lockdown?

À Paris on craint un confifi le week-end prochainement. – In Paris we fear a lockdown on weekends soon.


Confinement – lockdown

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Word of the Day: Une tronche

You might call a member of the Big Bang theory team this word.

French Word of the Day: Une tronche

Why do I need to know une tronche ?

Because you probably have some former classmates who fit this description

What does it mean?

Une tronche roughly pronounced oon trohnsh –  normally refers to a big stump, log or block of wood, though not to be confused with the word “tranche”, which though it has a similar pronunciation, means a piece or slice of something. 

The French word for a block of wood has a second, casual meaning too – it can be used as a synonym for “face” or “head” – as it can in English too, such as in the phrase “knock your block off” to mean punch someone in the head.

You might be wondering now whether the word can be used synonymously with the English insult “blockhead” – referring to a dim person, but in fact it is the opposite. 

French people might call a genius or a highly intelligent person “une tronche,” similar to how English-speakers might call a very smart person a “brain.” 

Thus, a savant at mathematics might be referred to as une tronche en mathématiques.

Use it like this

C’est une tronche, il est le premier de la classe chaque année. – He is a genius, he is the top of the class every year.

Elle est une tronche dans l’apprentissage des langues, elle peut parler cinq langues différentes couramment.– She is a language-learning genius, she can speak five different languages fluently.