For members


French expression of the Day: Mon petit doigt m’a dit que

In English it's a little bird (no, we're not talking about Twitter), but in French it's a little finger.

French expression of the Day: Mon petit doigt m'a dit que
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know Mon petit doigt m’a dit que?

Because you may want to hint that you know something without saying where you heard it.

What does it mean? 

It literally translates as “my little finger told me”. But it really means that you’ve heard something on the quiet or on the down-low – it’s the French equivalent of “a little bird told me”.

This expression refers to the only finger that can easily slip into our ear. It implies that we have knowledge or a suspicion of something, without necessarily wanting to reveal the source.

Suddenly, Aiden Gillan’s scheming Littlefinger character in Game of Thrones makes a lot more sense…

Use it like this

Mon petit doigt m’a dit que le bail finissait dans deux mois – I’ve heard that the lease is up in two months

Mon petit doigt m’a dit que tu fréquentais quelqu’un – A little bird told me that you have been dating someone

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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