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French word of the Day: Re

For when polysyllables are just too much effort.

French word of the Day: Re
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know the word re? 

Because someone you meet for the second time in a day may say it to you.

What does it mean? 

Re – it’s the Latin prefix that means again, just as it does in English.

The French use it a lot, especially with verbs to indicate performing a particular task again – think rejouer, to play again, or réapprendre, to learn again, or even reconfiner (to go back into lockdown. Let’s hope we wont be seeing that one again).

But they also stick it on the front of ‘bonjour’ to say ‘hello – again’ to someone they meet for a second time in a day.

We’ve already gone into some detail in another article on the importance of saying bonjour – but, importantly, there’s a golden rule in France about how many times you can say it to the same person. And it’s once.

READ ALSO Explained: When should you greet a French person

In French, bonjour is the greeting for when you meet someone for the first time that day. To say it again may be considered a little rude – as if you’ve forgotten saying hello the first time.

Hence, rebonjour – for hello again, when you encounter someone for the second time in a day.

And this can be shortened, simply, to re if you’re hip, lazy, or have recently been exercising and fear a lung may shoot out of your nose like an untied balloon if you try to speak.

Use it like this

Re! – [Hello] again!

Re! La troisième fois que l’on se croise, on boit un verre – Hello again! It’s the third time we’ve met, let’s have a drink

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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