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.

Member comments

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


French Word of the Day: Rodéo

In France, this word has nothing to do with cowboys.

French Word of the Day: Rodéo

Why do I need to know rodéo ?

Because they are becoming more common in certain parts of France, so you’ll likely hear about them, but if you’re expecting cowboys the you’re likely to be disappointed. 

What does it mean?

Rodéo – roughly pronounced roe-day-oh – is a French word that is formally defined as the assembling or herding of a group of young animals. 

This is probably the definition you are most familiar with, or perhaps you associate the word with the American and Mexican sporting events that involve large arenas and activities like lassoing young cows, riding bulls or broncos, or attempting to restrain a steer.

However, in practice, the more common French usage of the word “rodéo” would be one that is more correctly defined as a “rodéo urbain.”

These are illegal street races that take place either between motorcycles or cars on public roads, sometimes also known as a rodéo sauvage – unlicenced race.

Les rodéos have become a focus of French law enforcement in recent years, due to the increasing popularity of these races in working-class neighbourhoods across the country. Punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to 15,000, the French government instituted new laws to “reinforce the fight against rodéos” in 2018.

They are particularly controversial due to their loudness and for how dangerous they are, and they’re also the subject of an award-winning French film called simply Rodeo (using the English spelling), in which the director used real rodéo riders to perform the stunts.

Use it like this

Le jeune homme de 19 ans a été interpellé après un rodéo urbain. – The 19-year-old young man was arrested after an illegal street race. 

Il y a quelques semaines, le ministre de l’Intérieur a mobilisé les forces de l’ordre afin d’enrayer des rodéos en France. – A few weeks ago, the Minister of the Interior mobilised law enforcement forces to curb the rise of illegal street racing in France.