French phrase of the Day: Faire barrage

French phrase of the Day: Faire barrage
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
What does the Hoover Dam have in common with some of Macron’s voters? 

Why do I need to know faire barrage?

Because it’s a neat little expression that crops up all the time in news articles and political statements. 

What does it mean?

barrage is a dam or a barricade, so the verbal construction faire barrage literally means ‘to make a barrier’. If you try to faire barrage à quelque chose, you are attempting to obstruct, block, or counter something. 

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The phrase is often seen in political discourse, especially when it comes to uniting against the extreme right in France. Many people voted for Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the 2017 presidential elections in order to faire barrage à Marine Le Pen and block her chances of becoming president (also known as the Front républicain).

Faire barrage also crops up throughout the French news and in all kinds of texts, from adverts for products to prevent insect infestations, to charity organisations seeking to counter poverty. 

Use it like this

Il faut faire barrage à de telles propositions – These proposals must be stopped.

L’éducation est un outil important pour faire barrage à la radicalisation et à l’extrémisme – Education is an important tool to counter radicalisation and extremism. 


Contrer – to counter

Bloquerto block

Empêcher – to prevent

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