French Word of the Day: Croquer le marmot

French Expression of the Day: Croquer le marmot
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
If you're not fond of queuing, this is a good expression for you.

Why do I need to know croquer le marmot? 

Because no one likes waiting. 

What does it mean?

Croquer le marmot, pronounced “crock-eh luh mar-moh”, means “to wait for a long time”. 

The phrase comes from the 16th century and is rooted in Old French. At the time, croquer meant “to knock” and “marmot” was a word for “knocker” – the large metal rings that people would bang against the door – bank before doorbells existed. 

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So literally, the phrase meant, “to knock on the door”. It is assumed that this knocking would not always be heard straight away and that people would spend time waiting in the street. 

In old French, a croque-note was slang for a poor musician, who consistently failed to play the right note. 

In modern French, croquer means to bite, munch or crunch. When something is croquant, it means crunchy or crispy. 

How do I use it?

J’ai croqué le marmot car cela n’ouvrait qu’à 9H30 – I was waiting for ages because it didn’t open until 9:30

Je croquerai le marmot à la station pendant une heure – I will be waiting at the station for an hour


Patienter longuement – “To wait a long time”

Se morfondre – “To mope”

Claquer des mâchoires – this is another antiquated expression that means “to wait a long time”

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