For members


French Expression of the Day: Être mouillé jusqu’au cou

Walking in a heavy rainstorm is only one of the reasons you might use this expression.

French Expression of the Day: Être mouillé jusqu'au cou
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know Être mouillé jusqu’au cou ?

Because you’ll probably hear this during the next big scandal

What does it mean?

Être mouillé jusqu’au cou – roughly pronounced eh-tre mwee-yay joosk-oh coo – translates exactly to “be wet up to the neck.” In common usage, this phrase does not have to do with walking in the rain – instead, refers to being totally or completely inundated in something – usually a problematic situation. 

It’s basically the same as the English expression “to be up to your neck in it” and is used in a similar way. 

In French, you will often see or hear this phrase if a politician or businessperson has found themselves caught up in a scandal of some sort. 

If the word ‘affaire’ (the French equivalent to –gate or scandal in English) has been attached to the situation, then you know this phrase is not far behind. 

The public or members of the media might use this expression to say that person is heavily implicated in the scandal. Usually it is used to assign blame or call someone ‘guilty.’ 

Use it like this

Tout le monde pense qu’il est mouillé jusqu’au cou des affaires impliquant la compagnie pétrolière frauduleuse. – Everyone thinks he is heavily implicated in fraud with the oil company.

Elle est définitivement coupable. Elle est mouillé jusqu’au cou. – She is definitely guilty. She is up to her ears in it.

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For members


French Word of the Day: Poêle

The season of the poêle is approaching.

French Word of the Day: Poêle

Why do I need to know poêle ?

Because you might be confused why your friends said they plan to heat their home using a frying pan this winter.

What does it mean?

Poêle – roughly pronounced pwahl – translates exactly to “stove” and is also often used in a shortened form of poêle à frire (frying pan).

But that’s not why people suddenly start talking about them as the temperatures fall, as a poêle is also an alternative heating method.

In English, we would call these log-burners or wood (or pellet) burning stoves. There are two different types – un poêle à bois (wood-burner) or un poêle à granulés (pellet-burner).

These can be used as an extra heater or simply as a nice focal point in the living room, but certain types of poêle can also be linked up to the main heating system or water-heating system, so have a more practical application.

Some people also use the hot surface of the poêle to boil a kettle on or to cook on, although they’re usually used as a supplement to an electric or gas stove. 

Amid France’s discussion surrounding energy shortages and the price of electricity and gas, les poêles have been more frequently referenced.

Be careful not to confuse this word with ‘poils’ which is the French word for animal fur, but is pronounced very similarly, or even à poil which is a colloquial word for being naked.

Use it like this

J’ai installé un poêle à bois dans ma maison. Le processus a pris beaucoup de temps, mais j’ai pu bénéficier de certaines aides gouvernementales. – I installed a wood-burning stove in my home. The process took a long time, but I was able to benefit from some government subsidies.

Elle a chauffé sa maison avec le poêle tout l’hiver pour éviter d’utiliser l’électricité. – She heated her home using the wood-burner all winter to avoid using electricity.