For members


French Word of the Day: Déclic

Originally a technical term from the world of mechanics, this word has now expanded to have a variety of more philosophical meanings.

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

Why do I need to know déclic? 

Because sometimes it is important to switch things up in your life.

What does it mean? 

A déclic, pronounced “day-kleek”, has multiple meanings. 

In a literal sense, it is used in the field of mechanics to talk about a “switch” that triggers a machine into action or stops it from working altogether (a “kill switch”).

In a similar vein, a déclic is used to talk describe the sound that such a switch might make. 

But the word is more often used in a metaphorical sense to signify a “wake-up call”, “pivotal change” or sudden boost in momentum. 

In this sense, you would use it like this:

La naissance de ma fille a été un déclic – The birth of my daughter was a wake-up call

Rien de plus beau que les gens inspirants pour donner le déclic aux autres – There is nothing more beautiful than inspirational people pushing others forward 

Comment avoir le déclic pour changer ta vie? – How can you reach the turning point to change your life?

Rencontrer des malades peut tout de même créer le déclic – Meeting sick people can be a wake-up call

L’équipe espère avoir un déclic – The team hopes to have a boost

Related terms 

Comprendre soudainement – to suddenly understand

Avoir une révélation – to have an epiphany 

Prise de conscience –  the act of becoming aware 

Déclencher – to trigger 

Provoquer – to provoke 

Member comments

  1. I am wondering whether there is an easy way to find a link to an extended stay visa? I have tried and but nothing. I’d be garteful to know if anyone else has managed to get one. We do not want/need to have such a little time at our French hideaway! Thanks. Jenny x

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Un de ces quatres

The perfect response to that invitation you don't really want to say a firm yes to.

French Expression of the Day:  Un de ces quatres

Why do I need to know un de ces quatres?

Because you will probably hear this phrase while trying to make plans with someone in French

What does it mean?

Un de ces quatres – usually pronounced uhn duh say cat-truhs – translates exactly to “one of these fours.” If taken literally the phrase really does not make any sense in French or English. But in actuality, it means “one of these days,” “at some point,” or just “soon.”

This expression is a shortening of “one of these four mornings to come,” which was first used in the second half of the 19th century. It designates a time that is sometime in the near future, but still rather indeterminate.

In French, the number ‘four’ is often used in expressions to refer to imprecise, or small, quantities. Some people say this is because four is the number for the seasons and cardinal points (North, South, East, West), so saying ‘one of these four’ shows a level of ambiguity. But unfortunately we don’t really know exactly how (or why) this phrase arose.

If you want another way of saying this, you can always stick with the regular “un de ces jours” (one of these days).

Use it like this

J’ai été tellement occupée ces derniers temps mais nous devrons prendre un verre un de ces quatres. – I’ve been so busy lately, but we have to grab a drink one of these days.

Il m’a dit qu’il nettoierait la salle de bain un de ces quatres, donc je suppose que ça n’a pas encore été fait. – He told me he would clean the bathroom one of these days, so I guess it hasn’t been done yet.