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French Expression of the Day: C’est du bidon

We all know that drama is part of good storytelling. But some people go a little bit too far. Here is the perfect French phrase for when you next see this happening.

French Expression of the Day: C'est du Bidon
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know c’est du bidon?

Because some people love to stretch the truth. 

What does it mean?

C’est du bidon, pronounced “Say doo bee-don”, means “It is false/bogus/bullshit”. 

Bidon itself is a versatile word. As a noun, it can mean someone who is a liar, a container for carrying liquid, or a belly. 

For example un bidon de lait means “a carton of milk”.

It is unclear what exactly links the side related to untruth to the other meanings. I could of course, just make something up on the spot. But my explanation would probably be complete and utter bidon

When used as an adjective, bidon is invariable which means it does not have to agree with the noun (single/plural, masculine/feminine). 

It is a relatively benign word and unlikely to cause much offence. It is definitely child and grandparent safe. 

How can I use it?

C’est du bidon ton excuse – Your excuse is rubbish 

Tes réponses sont bidon – Your answers are phoney 

Il a inventé une histoire bidon en guise d’alibi – He made up a bogus story as an alibi

Nous savons tous que ce parlement est bidon – We all know that this is an illegitimate parliament 


There are a number of other adjectives that you can use to describe something as fake/phoney: 





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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