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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Un froid de canard

You might want to save this one for the month of January.

French Expression of the Day: Un froid de canard
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know un froid de canard ?

Because you might be curious why your French friends are talking about cold ducks. 

What does it mean?

Un froid de canard – roughly pronounced uhn fwad duh cah-narr –  is yet another French expression that references an animal.

The exact translation of this phrase in English is “the cold of duck” or a “duck cold,” but the true meaning has more to do with the cold than it does mallards. It is a way of saying “freezing cold” in French. 

There are two ways that linguists have interpreted the expression. The first is that the expression is simply shortened, and that it used to be “it’s as freezing cold as a duck’s feet” – in reference to how ducks’ feet might get stuck in frozen lakes during the winter months. 

READ MORE: ‘It’s duck cold!’: How the French complain about winter weather

But most people think the expression actually comes from the world of hunting, which is an important tradition in France. The idea is that temperatures would need to be sufficiently cold for ducks to move away from frozen ponds and out into the open of streams and rivers, where they would be easier for hunters to shoot. The idea was that once you started seeing more ducks – and they became easier to hunt – that meant the weather had gotten sufficiently cold for them to come into the hunting territory to begin with.

Use it like this

Je ne peux pas comprendre comment j’ai pu oublier ma veste, il fait un froid de canard aujourd’hui. – I do not understand how I could have forgotten my coat, it is freezing cold today.

Si vous vous rendez dans le nord de la France en hiver, pensez à vous habiller chaudement. Il fera un froid de canard. – If you go to the north of France during the winter, remember to dress warmly. It will be freezing.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: À la rush

If you want to excuse a lack of attention to detail, you could use this French expression.

French Expression of the Day: À la rush

Why do I need to know À la rush ?

Because you may not have known you could use this English word in French too.

What does it mean?

À la rush roughly pronounced ah la rush –  means to do something in a rush or at the last minute. 

As you may have noticed, this slang expression uses both English and French words. “Rush” is used in the same sense as it is in English – to mean in a hurried or hasty fashion.

À la rush is similar to another French expression that mixes the two languages: “à la one again” which means to do something carelessly or without thinking.

The English word “rush” is also used in other French expressions, like être dans le rush, which means to be in a hurry or in a busy situation, although if you were speaking more formal French you would probably describe yourself as pressé if you want to say you are in a rush or in a hurry.

Use it like this

Je l’ai fait à la rush parce que je n’avais pas le temps de me préparer – I did it hastily because I did not have time to prepare.

Il a écrit l’article à la rush, donc il y a plusieurs fautes d’orthographe. – He wrote the article in a rush, so there were several spelling mistakes.

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