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French Word of the Day: Branché

This word has multiple meanings, most of which are positive.

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

Why do I need to know branché? 

Because being branché is no bad thing. 

What does it mean? 

Branché, pronounced “bron-shay”, has multiple meanings. 

Une branche, is the French word used to denote the branch of a tree. 

In this respect, branché can be used in a botanical sense or to describe an object’s position relative to a tree. 

Les merles sont branchés – the blackbirds are sitting on the branch 

But more often than not, the word is used to mean “plugged in” or “connected” in a literal and metaphorical sense. 

For example, when talking about electrical appliances, you could use the following phrases:

Le cordon d’alimentation doit être branché – the power cord must be plugged in

Le téléphone peut être branché au dispositif  – the phone can be connected to the device 

If you wanted to use it as a verb, you could say:

Je branche mon micro – I am connecting my microphone 

When a person is branché it means that they are well connected, fashionable or on top of the latest news. It is thought that this meaning could come from pre-revolutionary France when having an aristocratic branch in the family tree would likely mean that someone was better connected and had greater life chances. 

Elle est très branchée avec un réseau énorme – she is very well connected and has an enormous network

À Paris Fashion Week, il y a trop de gens branchés – at Paris Fashion week there are too many of the in-crowd 

Ce journaliste est très branché – this journalist is very well connected/has good sources


À la mode – fashionable

En vogue – fashionable 

Au courant – up to date

Connecté – connected

Relié – linked up

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For members


French Expression of the Day: La Première ministre

A brand new coinage in the French language that reflects the changing times.

French Expression of the Day: La Première ministre

Why do I need to know la Première ministre?

Because France has one now.

What does it mean?

La Première ministre – usually pronounced lah prem-ee-air mean-east-ruh– translates as “the prime minister,” but this spelling is different from what you might be used to seeing.

This title is feminised, indicating that the prime minister in question is a woman. Under former PMs such as Jean Castex, the masculine title Le Premier ministre was used.

Élisabeth Borne made headlines on May 16th not only because she was appointed as France’s second female prime minister, but also because she will be the first to use the feminisation of the work title: Madame la Première ministre. The female prime minister who held the position before her, Edith Cresson, used the masculine version of the title.

Feminising work titles has been controversial in France, and most titles like “le Premier ministre” have been automatically put in masculine form.

But in 2019, France’s infamous Academie Francaise, which polices the French language and typically resists any sweeping changes to it, changed their stance and said there was “no obstacle in principle” to the wholesale feminisation of job titles. 

Use it like this

Le Président Emmanuel Macron a fait une annonce importante. Élisabeth Borne est la Première ministre. – President Emmanuel Macron made an important announcement: Élisabeth Borne is the prime minister.

“Madame la Première ministre, qui avez-vous choisi pour diriger votre nouveau gouvernement ?” a demandé le journaliste. – “Madame Prime Minister, who have you chosen to lead your new government?” asked the journalist.