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French Expression of the Day: Parler cash

This expression, confusingly, is not always used in conversations about money.

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

Why do I need to know parler cash? 

Because in the run up to elections, many politicians, analysts and voters will be doing this. 

What does it mean? 

Parler cash, pronounced parl-eh cash, means to speak frankly or directly. 

It is the opposite of langue de bois (wooden language) – in which people, often politicians, speak in vague, abstract and pompous terms about an issue without revealing their true position. 

Some good examples of recent moments where French politicians have parlé cash, would include Emmanuel Macron’s vow to emmerder (piss off) the unvaccinated and the centre-right candidate Valérie Pécresse pledging to kärcher (power wash) crime-ridden suburbs. 

When politicians deliberately or unintentionally make grammatical errors or speak in an informal way, some also describe this as parler cash

Former President Sarkozy for example used to incorrectly say chui pas instead of the correct je ne suis pas. This led many to believe that he was a man of the people rather than a member of the establishment. 

The exact origins of parler cash as a phrase are unclear. Parler means to speak and cash is used by some French people as slang for money. 

Perhaps the direct nature of someone known to parler cash can be seen as a loose equivalent to someone who talks business or gets down to brass tacks, rather than linguistically skirting around an issue. 

How to I use it? 

Avec ses propos sur les non-vaccinés, Macron parle très cash – With his comments on the unvaccinated, Macron is speaking very frankly 

Parler cash apporte un certain accessibilité – Speaking frankly brings a certain accessibility 

Elle aime parler cash – She likes speaking frankly 

Je vais être cash avec toi – I will be frank with you 

Similar words

Franc-parler – Outspokenness 

Franchement – Frankly

Sincèrement – Sincerely

Honnêtement – Honestly 

Ouvertement – Openly 

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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