French Word of the Day: Picoler

This is something the French government does not want you to be doing too much over Christmas.

French Word of the Day: Picoler
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know the word picoler? 

Because if it wasn’t for Covid, you would probably be doing this at your French office Christmas party. Some people find that drinking actually improves their language abilities. 

What does it mean? 

Picoler (pronounced peek-oh-lay) is a verb that means “to drink to excess”.

The origins of this word date back to the 19th century, when Italian-run taverns in France would sell small glasses of wine, known as piccolos

The French government has called on people to avoid social gatherings, including Christmas parties, until the fifth wave of the pandemic has passed. So if you want to picoler, you’re best off doing it in private. 

Use it like this

À la fête de Noël, nous devrions picoler gratos – At the Christmas party, we should be able to drink for free.  

Ce n’est pas pour picoler. C’est juste que j’ai soif – I am not getting drunk. I’m just thirsty. 

On ne peut pas picoler en boîte de nuit à cause de la pandémie – We cannot get drunk in the club because of the pandemic. 




Prendre une cuite

Se prendre une murge 

READ ALSO ‘I broke my face’: How to say you’ve had too much to drink in French

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Expression of the Day: La clim’

You'll definitely want to know about this during the summer.

French Expression of the Day: La clim'

Why do I need to know la clim’?

Because the lack of green spaces in cities might find you looking desperately for fresh air.

What does it mean?

La clim’, pronounced la-cleem, means air conditioning, it is a shortened version of la climatisation.

Climatisation comes from the word climatiseur, which itself comes from Klima in Greek and means the inclination of planet Earth from the equator to the poles. This inclination of the planet on its axis is responsible for the seasons and if you find yourself in a French city in August your inclination will definitely be towards climatisation.

Air-conditioning in private homes is not common France, some hotels have it but not all and in the summer months restaurants will often advertise air-con if they have it, as a way of luring in hot-and-bothered tourists.

If you find yourself desperate for cool air, head to a supermarket – almost all French supermarkets are air-conditioned in the summer. Or for a more fun option just head to the nearest city fountain or water feature and join the locals who are splashing around to cool off.

Use it like this

Il fait très chaud, avez-vous la clim’ dans votre hotel ? – It’s really hot, do you have air-con in the hotel?

Je n’aime pas mettre la clim’ en route car cela est mauvais pour la santé et l’environnement – I don’t like turning on the AC, it’s bad for my health and for the environment

Il fait froid, peut-on s’il vous plait éteindre la clim’ ? – It’s cold, could  we turn off the air-con?

La clim’ fait beaucoup de bruit, pouvons-nous la mettre en sourdine ? – This AC is really noisy, could we turn it down?


Un climatiseur – the formal name for an air-conditioner (in French the air conditioning is feminine by the air conditioner is masculine)

Un ventilateur – a ventilator

Un Brumisateur – a ‘fogger’ – these machines which pump out cool water vapour are often seen on the streets and in parks during the summer

Un Rafraichisseur d’air – an air freshener