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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French word of the day: Bondé

This isn't a word you want to have to use during a pandemic.

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

Why do in need to know bondé?

It’s particularly useful during the summer, or all year round if you live in Paris.

What does it mean?

Bondé means “full” or “packed”. Public transport, bars, beaches, shops… These are just some of the things you might refer to as bondé. It’s for when a place is bursting at the seams because there are so many people packed together.

It is usually reserved for talking about places crammed with people, but you might also hear it used in reference to objects.

A bonde is a plug such as you might find on the top of a wine barrel, and bonder means to fill something up to the plug, or the bung. So when you describe a venue as bondé, you might be paying homage to one of France’s greatest and most delicious traditions.

Not to be confused with the verb bander, which sounds almost identical when spoken and means “to have an erection”. Context is your friend here!

Use it like this

Le supermarché était bondé ce matin – The supermarket was jam-packed this morning.

Les Champs-Elysées étaient bondés de supporters quand la France a gagné la Coupe du monde – The Champs-Elysées was packed with supporters when France won the World Cup.

J’aime pas la Côte d’Azur, les plages sont toujours bondées – I don’t like the French Riviera, the beaches are always overcrowded.

Synonyms

Noir de monde – crammed

Comble – full to capacity

Bourré – packed

Member comments

  1. Possibly a better, more vernacular, translation is ‘rammed’. Do young people still say ‘rammed’? I’m out of touch with them these days.

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For members

FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: C’est de la daube

A daube is a delicious and hearty French stew - but this expression is not something that you would aspire to.

French Expression of the Day: C’est de la daube

Why do I need to know c’est de la daube?

Because you might want to express your strong opinion on a movie/book/TV show you’ve just watched in informal but relatively polite society.

What does it mean?

C’est de la daube  – pronounced say de la dorb – translates as ‘it’s a piece of crap’ (rubbish, while a perfectly reasonable alternative, just doesn’t quite cut it) and is perfect for use in discussions about books, films and TV shows … there’s even a book about cinema called C’est de la daube (Chroniques de cinéma)

The phrase can also be used to describe things that have little value and can be discarded after use – or, basically, anything you want to describe as ‘crap’.

Famously, daube is a classic Provençal stew made with inexpensive beef braised in wine, vegetables, garlic, and herbes de Provence, and traditionally cooked in a daubière, a braising pan. The question, then, is how a delicious and hearty stew came to be used to describe something cheap and nasty and best avoided.

It’s thought that this phrase has its origins in the kitchen. According to Gaston Esnault in his “dictionnaire des argots”, ‘daube’ in this less-savoury context is a 19th-century word of Lyon origin to describe fruits and meat as being ‘spoiled’, applied to fruits and meats.

Notoriously, French programmers who like the Linux system often refer to Windows as Windaube…

Use it like this

C’est de la daube cette film – it’s crap, this film

Ton opinion, c’est de la daube – your opinion is rubbish

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