French Word of the Day: Minable

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

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.

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See also on The Local:

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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