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French Word of the Day: Tartufferie

If you're looking for an insult that proves your credentials as a cultured and literary individual, look no further.

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

Why do I need to know tartufferie? 

Because 400 years since the birth of Molière, people in France are still insulting each other with reference to one of his plays. 

What does it mean? 

Tartufferie, pronounced “tar-toof-erry” and sometimes spelt tartuferie, is a French way of saying “hypocrisy”. 

It comes from the work of famed playwright Molière, widely considered the French Shakespeare. 

READ MORE France marks 400 years of Molière, master of stage and satire

Probably his best-known play is Tartuffe, in which the title character presents himself as a pious man, while sneakily attempting to seduce the lady of the household where he is staying as a guest. 

Since then, the word tartuffe has become shorthand for “hypocrite” or someone who feigns religious or other virtue. 

It follows that tartufferie means “hypocrisy”. 

You often hear politicians in France accusing each other of tartufferie. 


Pour les oppositions tout est scandale. Quelle tartufferie de faire croire qu’appliquer la Constitution est une atteinte à la démocratie – For the opposition everything is a scandal. What hypocrisy to make out that applying the constitution is an attack on democracy

On est au bal total des tartuffes en Macronie – We are totally fed up with the hypocrisy of Macronism

La campagne électorale, c’est une grande tartufferie! – The electoral campaign is a big exercise in hypocrisy


Duplicité – duplicity 

Hypocrisie – hypocrisy 

Tromperie – skullduggery 

Faire passer pour – to pass off as

Mascarade – mascarade 

Fausseté – falsehood 

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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