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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: À huis clos

This French expression is not just the title of the famous play by Jean-Paul Sartre

French Expression of the Day: À huis clos
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know à huis clos?

Because you might see French newspapers use this expression anytime a trial or court case makes headlines

What does it mean?

À huis clos – roughly pronounced ah we kloe –  means “discreetly” or “behind closed doors.” 

Most likely, you’ll see the French press use this terminology to describe a closed-door meeting – or a “réunion à huis clos” – when discussing politicians or public figures. 

It is also often used in courtroom settings: a judge might order the hearing to be held in private if proceedings are particularly sensitive, or if they could be a “danger to the public order”.

The expression dates back to the 16th century, and it is originally derived from the Latin word “ustium”, which gave rise to the old French word “huis” – meaning door. 

Originally, it simply meant “closed door” but over time the phrase went on to mean “in private” or “without publicity.”

Use it like this

Ils ont tenu la réunion sensible un huis clos, pour être sûrs que personne d’autre ne pourrait écouter. – They held the sensitive meeting behind closed doors, to be sure that no one else could listen in.

Le public ne serait pas admis dans la procédure judiciaire car le juge a ordonné que l’audience se déroule à huis clos. – The public would not be admitted into the judicial proceeding because the judge ordered the hearing to be behind closed doors.

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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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