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French expression of the day: Fayot de la classe

You could become the dry bean of your French class with this expression.

French expression of the day: Fayot de la classe
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know fayot de la classe?

Because it is difficult to translate directly and it’s a convenient one to know, especially if you have kids in a French school.

What does it mean?

Un fayot can either refer to a dry bean, or someone who works hard to get recognition. De la classe means ‘of the class’.

The best English equivalent is therefore probably ‘teacher’s pet’.

The image below illustrates it like this: “Teacher: Well, who want’s to wipe clean the board? The fayot de la classe:”

Fayot de la classe can be shortened to just fayot, if the person targeted is trying to impress other superiors than a teacher. In this sense, the English equivalents are ‘kiss-up’, ‘suck-up’ or similar.

For example, espèce de fayot, which directly translates as ‘species of fayot‘, means something like ‘what a kiss-ass’.

It’s not a very nice thing to call someone.

Use it like this

La France a tellement voulu faire plaisir à l’Union Européenne, Emmanuel Macron est le fayot de la classe. – France wanted so bad to please the European Union, Emmanuel Macron is the teacher’s pet.

J’en peux plus de ce fayot. – I can’t take anymore of that suck-up.

C’est la fayotte de la classe, celle-là. Mais on l’aime beaucoup quand même. – She’s the teacher’s pet, that one. But we like her a lot all the same.


Lèche-botte – boot-licker

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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.