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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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French phrase of the Day: Etre en PLS

This one can actually save someone's life.

French phrase of the Day: Etre en PLS

Why do I need to know être en PLS? 

Because it’s not quite as life-threatening as it sounds.

What does it mean 

Être en PLS or je suis en PLS – roughly pronounced zhe swee en pay el ess – literally means ‘I am in the PLS (Position Latérale de Sécurité)’, which is the medical position you put an unconscious victim in. In English you would usually say ‘the recovery position’.

However it’s real meaning is ‘I am tired’ or ‘I am disappointed in a situation’ or sometimes ‘I have a terrible hangover’ – it’s roughly equivalent to saying in English ‘I’m knackered’, ‘I’m broken’ or ‘I’m destroyed’ – but crucially it’s not used for really serious situations that might genuinely destroy your life. It’s an exaggerated complaint. 

This is a phrase common among young people. ‘En PLS‘ is used in its original form by rescue teams trying to save lives, but has recently entered Gen Z’s vocabulary to emphasise a complaint.

Use it like this 

Après cette réunion, je suis en PLS – I’m knackered [British English] after that meeting

J’ai trop bu hier soir, je suis en PLS – I drank too much last night, I’m broken

J’ai perdu mes clés de voiture, je suis en PLS – I lost my car keys, I’m so pissed off. 

You can also say 

Je suis au fond du gouffre – I am at the bottom of the abyss (another dramatic one, it means being disappointed)

Je suis dans le mal – I’m in trouble

Je ne me sens pas bien – I don’t feel good

Je suis KO – I’m exhausted [from the English sporting term KO – knock out]