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French Word of the Day: Blasé

Even though this French word has made its way into English, in French it has an extra emphasis. Here is how to use it in both languages.

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

Why do I need to know blasé ?

Because you you can use this word in both English and French, although its strength is slightly different. 

What does it mean?

Blasé – roughly pronounced blah-zay –  is a word that English speakers might be familiar with already, as it has entered our vocabulary.

In French, the official definition of blasé is a bit more harsh than what English-speakers might be used to. It is defined by La Rousse dictionary as “a person who thinks he has exhausted the human experience and is disgusted with everything.” 

In contrast, English dictionaries define blasé simply as ‘bored’ and ‘jaded’ and it’s common to use is quite casually such as “I do so many work presentations that I’m a bit blasé about them now”. 

Overall, blasé denotes a level of apathy in both languages but in French it’s less flippant – oftentimes describing a person who is not easily impressed or someone who is disengaged with the world. Keep in mind that when you use this word in French, you will have to gender it based on who you are referring to – so if the word is describing a woman, then it would be blasée.

A common French expression you might hear using this word would be “blasé de la vie” – which means to be in a general state of apathy, or to be simply disengaged from daily life.

The word comes from the French past participle of the verb blaser – which means ‘to satiate.’ However, English-speakers might be surprised that blasé’s true origins are likely more Dutch than French. 

Use it like this

J’ai fait une blague mais il est tellement blasé ces jours-ci qu’il n’a pas rigolé. – I made a joke but he has been so apathetic lately that he didn’t laugh.

Elle n’a pas souri ni ri pendant l’entretien, alors qu’il s’agissait de l’emploi de ses rêves. Je ne sais pas pourquoi elle était si blasée. – She did not smile or laugh during the interview, even though it was for her dream job. I don’t know why she was so disengaged about it.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Jurer comme un charretier

You might describe yourself this way after sitting in traffic.

French Expression of the Day: Jurer comme un charretier

Why do I need to know Jurer comme un charretier ?

Because the next time someone tosses in the word “putain” a bit too much for your liking, you can use this phrase to describe them.

What does it mean?

Jurer comme un charretier – roughly pronounced jur-er cuhm uhn shahr-eh-tee-ay –  translates to ‘swear like a cart driver’.

The expression essentially means to have a vulgar manner of speaking, often using rude and crude terms and profanities, even in casual conversation.

A similar expression in English might be ‘swearing like a sailor’, ‘swearing like a trooper’ or ‘swearing like a fishwife’ (for women only).  

The phrase has been used in France for centuries, in fact it dates all the way back to the 12th century, when cart drivers often motivated their donkeys and mules to go faster by insulting them (we’re not sure if that management technique is still in use). 

Another way to describe having a “foul vocabulary” in French would be to say someone has un vocabulaire grossier.

Use it like this

Lorsque nous nous sommes assis pour la réunion de travail, j’ai été choqué de voir que mon patron jurait comme un charretier, même à la fonction de travail. – When we sat down for the work meeting, I was shocked that my boss was swearing like a sailor, even at work.

La petite enfant jure comme un charretier, ce qui n’est pas surprenant puisque ses parents sont connus pour avoir eux aussi un vocabulaire grossier. – The small child swears like a sailor, which is not that surprising considering her parents are known for having a crude vocabulary.