French Word of the Day: Pantouflard

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

This word describes a certain lifestyle, complete with comfortable footwear.


Why do I need to know pantouflard ?

Because you might become a bit more of this type of person as the weather gets colder. 

What does it mean?

Pantouflard  – roughly pronounced pahn-too-flahrd – is defined as a “person who spends life in his slippers” - but it's describing more than a simple choice of footwear.

In English, you might lovingly call this person a “homebody” or maybe, if you want to be a bit more insulting, you would refer to them as a “couch potato.”


The French word pantouflard is derived from the word for slippers (pantoufles), and it describes a person who prefers a life of tranquillity and relaxation - from the comfort of their own home. 

It has been used for decades - with references by notable French authors at least as early as the 1920s.

This person might be particular about his/her habits - they do not like to change their routine and have a noted preference for comfort and relaxation.  

This word also has another usage - it has to do with a specific lifestyle, that of a person, specifically someone who used to work in the public sector but left for a 'cushy' or 'cozy' job in the private sector, might be called a pantouflard. This meaning of the word has a more negative connotation, as this person would have given up civil service in favour of a higher paying career in the private sector. 

An example of this might be a person who once worked for the Finance Ministry to go work in the banking sector. While it is not quite as negative as the term "copinage" which refers to favoritism, it is certainly not a compliment when used in this context.

Use it like this

Les confinements étaient difficiles, même pour les pantouflards qui n'aiment pas sortir et voir des gens. – The lockdowns were hard, even for the homebodies who do not like going out and seeing people.

Je ne sais pas s'ils vont s'entendre. Elle est pantouflarde et n'aime vraiment pas aller à des fêtes, alors que lui est un fêtard et est toujours de sortie. – I don't know if they will get along. She is a homebody and really does not like going to parties, whereas he is a party-animal and is always out and about.


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Anonymous 2022/10/21 11:40
Interesting parallel with Italian. 'Ciabatta' originally means 'slipper' but a 'ciabattone' is an elderly person who shuffles around in slippers and is something of a bungler. And then there's 'chausson', which means slipper in French of course, but for me has another existence as 'chausson de pommes' the apple turnover beloved by all us Northerners. While Italian also can offer us 'fare la scarpa' meaning to 'make the shoe' which is when you take a piece of bread and use it to mop up the remaining sauce on your plate.

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