For members


French word of the Day: Mdr

This vital piece of slang was once exclusively used in text messages. Now it is spoken aloud in a kind of ironic post-millennial way. Lol.

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

Why do I need to know the word Mdr? 

Because laughs make life worth living. 

What does it mean? 

Mdr stands for mort de rire – dying of laughter.

It is the French equivalent of LOL (‘laugh out loud’ in anglophone internet parlance). 

Initially, MDR or Mdr was a very common acronym used in text messages, online forums and gaming. Today though, hipsters like to say the acronym aloud in a sort of post-millennial nod to geeky internet culture. 

It’s pronounced as its initials – em-day-aire.

There have actually been a number of cases of people dying from laughter throughout history. The ancient Greek philosopher, Chrysippus, is thought to have died laughing at his own joke. Upon seeing a donkey munching on some figs, the stoic quipped: “Now give the donkey some wine to wash down the figs.” 

Chrysippus found this so funny that he fell into a fit of laughter and died. 

Use it like this

L’âne a mangé mes figues. Mdr – The donkey ate my figs. Lol. 

In written French, you can add further r’s onto the end of the acronym for emphasis: Mdrrrrrrrr


There are a number of less common acronyms that have the same meaning as Mdr. 

PTDR (pété de rire) for example means ‘broken with laughter’.

We have complied comprehensive lists of abbreviations and acronyms for social media, text speak and every day life

Member comments

  1. PTDR (pété de rire) for example means ‘broken with laughter’. – I think it is more ‘farting with laughter’

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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.