For members


French Word of the Day: Tracter

Yes it's a vehicle for farmers, but it's also so much more than that.

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

Why do I need to know tracter? 

Because it is a particularly useful word to know during election season, as well as if you want to work in the agriculture industry. 

What does it mean? 

Tracter, pronounced track-tay, has multiple meanings. 

The first is to pull, haul, tow or drag something along with a tractor (un tracteur) or another mechanical vehicle.

Pensez toujours à prendre un tracteur suffisamment puissant pour tracter vos matériels – Always make sure to bring a sufficiently powerful tractor to haul your material 

Cette moto n’est pas prévue pour tracter une remorque – This motorbike is not designed to tow a trailer 

The second meaning, which is often used around elections, is to distribute leaflets or tracts in favour of a candidate or political party. 

Les militants politiques ont le droit de tracter – Political activists have the right to distribute flyers

J’ai tracté pour un candidat pendant la campagne – I distributed leaflets for a candidate during the campaign 

The verb tracter comes from the noun, tractage, which describes the act of distributing political or even commercial promotion material – in English leafleting or flyering.

Tracts, or short pieces of writing designed to promote a political or religious agenda, pre-date the invention of the printing press and were mentioned by scholars as early as the 7th century.

In France, municipal authorities have the power to ban tractage in certain parts of town

The law states that address and name of the person responsible for printing leaflets must be detailed on tracts. In the mid-90s, a new rule was introduced requiring all promotional material to be written in French. Foreign terms can only be used if a French translation is also provided. 

Other election material vocabulary 

There are plenty of words to talk about flyers with which you could be tracté by someone on the street: circulaires, dépliants, prospectus, tracts, imprimés, feuillets or brochures

An election poster is une affiche électorale

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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