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French Expression of the Day: Bon vent

This old nautical term still comes in handy today.

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

Why do I need to know the expression bon vent? 

Because this multifaceted phrase can be used to express many things.

What does it mean? 

Bon vent (pronounced “bon von”) can be used to mean “goodbye/travel well”. 

It is an old nautical expression that dates back to a time when ships were predominantly powered by the wind (vent in French). 

If the wind was blowing strong and headed in the right direction, sailors were more likely to arrive at their destination in good time. 

The expression is sometimes used ironically to tell someone to go away. Be careful with your tone of voice to avoid any confusion. 

Use it like this

Je te souhaite bon vent – I wish you good travels

Si c’est tout ce que vous voulez, bon vent – If that is everything you need, goodbye

Vas-y! Bon vent! – Get out of here! 


Bon voyage 

Au revoir 

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Un de ces quatres

The perfect response to that invitation you don't really want to say a firm yes to.

French Expression of the Day:  Un de ces quatres

Why do I need to know un de ces quatres?

Because you will probably hear this phrase while trying to make plans with someone in French

What does it mean?

Un de ces quatres – usually pronounced uhn duh say cat-truhs – translates exactly to “one of these fours.” If taken literally the phrase really does not make any sense in French or English. But in actuality, it means “one of these days,” “at some point,” or just “soon.”

This expression is a shortening of “one of these four mornings to come,” which was first used in the second half of the 19th century. It designates a time that is sometime in the near future, but still rather indeterminate.

In French, the number ‘four’ is often used in expressions to refer to imprecise, or small, quantities. Some people say this is because four is the number for the seasons and cardinal points (North, South, East, West), so saying ‘one of these four’ shows a level of ambiguity. But unfortunately we don’t really know exactly how (or why) this phrase arose.

If you want another way of saying this, you can always stick with the regular “un de ces jours” (one of these days).

Use it like this

J’ai été tellement occupée ces derniers temps mais nous devrons prendre un verre un de ces quatres. – I’ve been so busy lately, but we have to grab a drink one of these days.

Il m’a dit qu’il nettoierait la salle de bain un de ces quatres, donc je suppose que ça n’a pas encore été fait. – He told me he would clean the bathroom one of these days, so I guess it hasn’t been done yet.