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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: S’autokiffer

Here's a newish addition to French - aka the language of love.

French Expression of the Day: S’autokiffer
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know s’autokiffer?

Because French is the language of love, so you should know how to extend that to yourself too.

What does it mean?

S’autokiffer – usually pronounced sought-oh-keef-ay – means to love yourself.

The phrase, a colloquial way to reference self-love, combines the prefix auto (self) with the verb Kiffer, which originally comes from Arabic and is used in French slang to mean “like,” “love” or “very into.” When put together, it becomes the perfect way to say “self-love” in French, but sometimes it can be a bit derogatory if you are referring to someone else in this way.

The French like to put auto in front of words. Some others you might hear are autodérision (to make fun of yourself) and autocongratuler (to congratulate yourself/ pat yourself on the back) or, during the pandemic, autotest for a home test kit for Covid.

The phrase can be used as a verb (ex. je m’autokiffe), or as an adjective (ex. Il est autokiffe) to describe someone who really loves themself – maybe a bit too much.

It can be either positive to talk about someone who is comfortable with themselves or negative when talking about someone who loves themselves more than is reasonable ie they’re arrogant and full of themselves.

This is not something you’ll hear in a formal setting, and you might see some creative ways of conjugating it, as it is primarily a slang phrase. But, if the self-love trend has made its way to France, it is safe to say this word might be around for a while. 

Use it like this

Toutes les photos sur son portable sont de lui-même, il est un peu un autokiffe. – All of his pictures on his phone are of himself, he’s a bit full of himself.

Il est hyper important de s’autokiffer. Les gens disent que si tu ne peux pas s’autokiffer, comment tu peux kiffer quelqu’un d’autre ? – It is super important to love yourself. People say if you cannot love yourself, how can you love another person?

Alternatives

Bien dans sa peau – literally translating as ‘good in one’s skin’ this means a person who is comfortable with themselves and accepts themselves as they are.

Avoir le melon – meaning ‘to have the melon’ this means someone who is big-headed, full of themselves or arrogant

READ ALSO 21 essential fruit and vegeatble expressions

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Avoir l’estomac dans les talons

A sensation you might feel around midi after skipping your morning croissant.

French Expression of the Day: Avoir l'estomac dans les talons

Why do I need to know avoir l’estomac dans les talons?

Because you might want to inform your friend waiting in the long restaurant line with you about just how hungry you actually are.

What does it mean?

Avoir l’estomac dans les talons usually pronounced ah-vwar leh-sto-mack dahn lay tah-lonn – literally means to have the stomach in the heels, but it really just means that you are extremely hungry. A British-English equivalent might be ‘my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut’.

As with saying ‘I’m starving’ you wouldn’t use this to talk about people who are genuinely at risk of starvation, it’s just a phrase to complain about being hungry and wanting something to eat.

The expression probably originated around the end of the 19th century, and there are a couple of different ideas about how it came to be.

The first is that it’s intended to paint a picture of your stomach narrowing so much that it goes all the way down to your heels. The second idea proposes that since ‘les talons’ (heels) is a homonym with ‘l’étalon’ (stallion), the phrase might actually be referring to horse meat. You might be so hungry that the only thing that could possibly satiate your empty stomach is a hearty portion of horse meat.

Finally, there’s simply the idea that a person walking a long distance would have severe pain in his heels (or feet), and his hunger is so intense that it is as bad as the pain from walking a long distance.

Regardless of where it comes from, this expression is a sure-fire way to communicate your need for nourishment (or perhaps a nice helping of horse).

 Use it like this

Je ne peux pas attendre plus longtemps dans cette longue file, j’ai l’estomac dans les talons. – I cannot wait in this long line much longer, I’m starving.

Je n’ai pas mangé le déjeuner hier et à 17h, j’avais l’estomac dans les talons. Tout le monde dans le bureau pouvait entendre mon estomac faire du bruit ! – I skipped lunch yesterday and by 5pm I was starving! Everyone in the office could hear my stomach making noise.

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