Word of the day: La risée

Word of the day: La risée
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
An expression you probably don't want to be the subject of.

Why do I need to know la risée?

It’s a good one to know in case you are the target of someone’s jokes.

What does it mean?

La risée is the laughter made by a group of people. It comes from rire (to laugh). However it can also be used to mean mockery, ridicule, laughing stock or scorn.

Être la risée de quelque chose means ‘to be the laughing stock of something’.

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It’s also used to describe a person or subject that is being mocked or ridiculed – the butt of joke.

In the example below it’s ex Friends actor Matthew Perry who is being mocked.

If you’re talking about the person who is the butt of the joke you use the verb être, but if you’re using to describe the action of ‘taking the piss/taking the Mickey’ you use faire Faire une risée de quelque chose’ means ‘to take the piss out of something or someone.’

Use it like this

Il s’éleva une grande risée du public – the crowd burst into laughter

Si nous arrivons en retard, nous serons la risée de tout le monde – If we’re late everyone will laugh at us

Il se moquait de lui et en faisait la risée de l’école – He mocked him and made him the laughing stock of the school


raillerie – mockery, ridicule

être le dindon de la farce – to be the butt of the joke

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