French Word of the Day: Minable

This is a word that many people in France will use to describe their politicians. It is a useful one to know in the lead up to the presidential campaign.

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

Why do I need to know the word minable

Because some might say it’s an ideal adjective to describe British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in both appearance and performance, to French friends and acquaintances who are just learning about all those Christmas parties he has been hosting.

What does it mean? 

Minable (pronounced meen-aah-bluh) means miserable, sorry, mediocre, wretched, and shabby. It can also describe a person or a group of people as second-rate, pathetic – a dead loss.

It comes from the verb miner, “to mine”, and is used to describe how someone or something is drained, or undermined.

Use it like this

Johnson, il est un minable – Johnson, he’s a dead loss

Il s’habille de façon minable – He’s shabbily dressed

Une bande de minables – A pathetic bunch


You could also use any one of the following: pitoyable, lamentable, déplorable, misérable…

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French Expression of the Day: À la rush

If you want to excuse a lack of attention to detail, you could use this French expression.

French Expression of the Day: À la rush

Why do I need to know À la rush ?

Because you may not have known you could use this English word in French too.

What does it mean?

À la rush roughly pronounced ah la rush –  means to do something in a rush or at the last minute. 

As you may have noticed, this slang expression uses both English and French words. “Rush” is used in the same sense as it is in English – to mean in a hurried or hasty fashion.

À la rush is similar to another French expression that mixes the two languages: “à la one again” which means to do something carelessly or without thinking.

The English word “rush” is also used in other French expressions, like être dans le rush, which means to be in a hurry or in a busy situation, although if you were speaking more formal French you would probably describe yourself as pressé if you want to say you are in a rush or in a hurry.

Use it like this

Je l’ai fait à la rush parce que je n’avais pas le temps de me préparer – I did it hastily because I did not have time to prepare.

Il a écrit l’article à la rush, donc il y a plusieurs fautes d’orthographe. – He wrote the article in a rush, so there were several spelling mistakes.