For members


French Expression of the Day: Faire barrage

This expression is often used around election time but it useful in other contexts too.

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

Why do I need to know faire barrage? 

Because there are times that you feel as if you have a duty to block something from happening. 

What does it mean?

Faire barrage, pronounced fair bah-raj, means to block or prevent something from happening. 

You can also faire barrage to a person, which means to oppose them.

Ces lois avaient pour but d’encourager l’unité et de faire barrage aux discours incitant à la haine – These laws are designed to encourage unity and prevent hate speech

Ce sont des outils importants pour faire barrage à la prolifération nucléaire – These are important tools to block the proliferation of nuclear weapons 

Les manifestants veulent faire barrage au Président de la République – The protesters want to block the President of the Republic

C’est au gouvernement de faire barrage à l’inflation – It is up to the government to prevent inflation

It is often used in an electoral context.

In the run up to the second round of presidential elections for example, politicians who fail to make it past the first round often call on their supporters to rally behind the successful candidate that best-aligns with their ideology. 

J’appellerai à faire barrage à l’extrême droite – I will call [on my supporters] to block the far-right

Les appels à faire barrage à l’extrême droite font leur retour – Calls to block the far-right are making a comeback 


Empêcher – To prevent

Eviter – To avoid

Prévenir – To forestall 

Faire obstacle à – To block [something]

Se mettre en travers du chemin de – To block the path [of something] 

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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