SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: Tiser

You’ll want to be sure not to mix this up with the word for herbal tea next time you’re at a restaurant.

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

Why do I need to know tiser?

Because you might find yourself wanting to employ this verb more than usual while making the most of your holidays this August.

What does it mean?

Tiser – pronounced tea-zay – is a French -ER verb and its definition is ‘to put fuel in an oven or furnace.” However, you’re pretty unlikely to hear it in that context these days. In recent years, the verb has become argot (or slang) for drinking alcohol, so be careful with your pronunciation because it sounds quite similar to the word for herbal tea (tisane). 

Tiser is conjugated like a normal -ER verb, so in the past tense, if you say ‘j’ai tisé’ that would mean you drank alcohol. You can also refer to alcohol generally as ‘la tise.’ 

Though it is quite fashionable right now, the term, as you might have guessed, goes back centuries. According to the French language dictionary, tiser was originally used within the glass industry. It is derived from the Latin word “titio” (which means firebrand or a piece of burning wood), and over time shifted to become the verb “to stir.” 

In the 18th century, tiser was primarily used in industrial settings to mean introducing fuel into a melting furnace, and over time the filling of the furnace became a metaphorical way to describe filling your body with a different type of fool: alcohol.

Use it like this

Je vais arrêter la tise pendant un mois pour donner à mon corps une pause. J’ai l’impression d’avoir trop bu ces derniers jours. – I am going to quit alcohol for a month to give my body a break. I feel like I’ve drank too much these past few days.

J’ai trop hâte, il loue une maison à la campagne. On va tiser, danser et passer un bon moment ! –  I am so excited that he rented a house in the countryside. We’re going to drink, dance, and have a great time.

Member comments

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

FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Trier sur le volet

This expression goes right back to the Middle Ages and has nothing to do with shutters.

French phrase of the Day: Trier sur le volet

Why do I need to know trier sur le volet ?

Because if someone says they chose you for the job and adds this expression, you should be flattered.

What does it mean?

Trier sur le volet pronounced tree-ay sir luh voe-lay – literally translates to “to sort on the shutter” but its real meaning is closest to the English expression “to separate the wheat from the chaff” or even “to find the diamond in the rough.” It is simply to be specifically picked or chosen, and it carries a positive connotation.

Based on the idea of filtering through several options and choosing the best, this expression has a very logical origin story.

These days volets almost always refers to shutters, but this phrase goes back to the Middle Ages when the “volet” was the word for a cloth that was used to sort seeds. Gradually over time, this cloth was transformed into a wooden plate that was used to sort peas and beans. 

The expression went on to refer to more than just seeds, but at the time it was used frequently to stress the importance of actually selecting the good seeds.

So trier sur le volet means selecting the best.

Nowadays, you might hear this expression being used by a French employer talking about the different candidates she is choosing from, or maybe you’ll hear it as someone discusses their real estate options.

Use it like this

Les joueurs de l’équipe de France de handball ont été triés sur le volet – The players for France’s handball team were carefully selected for the job. 

J’ai finalement trié sur le volet. Amy sera la parfaite stagiaire d’été. – I’ve finally separated the wheat from the chaff. Amy will be a great summer intern.

SHOW COMMENTS