For members


French Word of the Day: Arriviste

You might heard this one in English too, from time to time.

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

Why do I need to know arriviste? 

Because we all have come across someone like this. 

What does it mean? 

Arriviste, pronounced ah-reev-east, is a French noun and adjective that you sometimes hear in English too. It’s a relatively rare example of a French term that has kept the exact same meaning when used in English (a rendez-vous with your bank manager carries a different inference in English than it does in France, for example).

Arriviste is a pejorative term used to describe an upstart, a pushy person, a social climber new to the group or someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. 

It stems from the verb, arriver (to arrive) which in French can also be used as a term of succeeding or managing to do something:

J’arrive à ganger de l’argent – I have managed to make money 

J’arrive à écrire cet article – I have succeeded in writing this article 

How do I use it? 

L’arriviste était prêt à tout pour faire progresser sa carrière – The upstart was ready to do anything to advance his career

Nous ne voulons pas dire qu’il faut être un arriviste pour réussir dans la vie – We don’t want to say that you need to be pushy to succeed in life 

Il est un peu arriviste – He is a bit of a social climber

Elle vient de découvrir notre mouvement. On dirait qu’elle est arriviste – She has only just discovered our movement. She is jumping on the bandwagon. 


There are a range of adjectives that can be substituted for arriviste: ambitieux (ambitious), carriériste (career-driven), intrigant (scheming), mégalomane (megalomanic). 

The equivalent idiom to ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ is prendre le train en marche

Member comments

  1. Did I miss garagiste?
    Good promo. film for Lavender country. A tonic for Brits festering at home in Fevrier

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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