For members


French Expression of the Day: Dernière ligne droit

This common French expression is widely used in many areas of French life - but especially in politics.

French Expression of the Day: Dernière ligne droite
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know dernière ligne droite? 

Because the final hurdle is often the hardest. 

What does it mean?

Dernière ligne droite, pronounced dern-ee-yay lean dwat, literally translates as last straight line. 

But this is expression is more commonly used to mean: the final hurdle, the home straight, last phase, final push or final stretch. 

It is often used in a political context:

À quelques jours du scrutin, c’est la dernière ligne droite – With just a few days until the final vote, we’re into the home straight  

Tout le monde doit tout donner dans cette dernière ligne – Everyone must give everything in this final push 

C’est la dernière ligne droite. Il peut gagner ! – It is the final hurdle. He can win! 

It is thought that the expression comes from the world of sport. Athletes running around the track will generally finish the race running in a straight line, or ligne droite, towards the finishing point. 

Ils tentent de dépasser les autres concurrents dans la dernière ligne droite – They try to overtake other competitors on the home stretch 

Other expressions with ligne

The French language has multiple expressions with the word ligne.

Here is a selection:

Garder la ligne – To stay in shape 

Ligne politique – Political line/programme/ideology 

La ligne de vie – Lifeline [used by climbers] or the lines on your hand interpreted by palm readers

Tirer des lignes – Deliberately writing in long complex sentences [used by writers who are paid per line of text]

En première ligne – At the forefront/on the frontline 

Faire bouger les lignes – To shift or shake up a situation [often used in politics]

Lire entre les lignes – To read between the lines 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
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