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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Avoir des idées arrêtées

This type of person knows what they like, and more importantly, what they don't like.

French Expression of the Day: Avoir des idées arrêtées
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know avoir des idées arrêtées ?

Because your friend who will only watch certain movie genres might be described this way.

What does it mean?

Avoir des idées arrêtées roughly pronounced ah vwar dayz ee-day arr-eh-tay –  translates precisely to “to have stopped ideas.” 

In its normal usage, the phrase translates more accurately as “to have strong opinions” or “to have fixed ideas” – being uncompromising in your one’s viewpoints. 

Another way to describe this type of person in French might be “catégorique” (or ‘categorical’ in English). 

You might also hear this expression as “des idées bien arrêtées” – meaning someone who has ‘very’ strong opinions. Depending on context, this phrase might have a bit of a negative connotation, particularly if it is being used to portray someone as being stubborn.

Use it like this

Elle a des idées arrêtées sur les films, comme elle refuse de regarder tout autre film que ceux de Marvel. Elle ne veut même pas regarder les films DC. – She has very strong opinions about films, for instance she only watches Marvel movies. She won’t even watch DC movies.

Tout le monde dit qu’il a des opinions arrêtées, mais je l’ai trouvé flexible sur certaines choses… comme le choix d’un restaurant. – Everyone says he is uncompromising, but I find him to be flexible on some things, like choosing a restaurant.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: C’est du vent

This French expression is useful for brushing things off.

French Expression of the Day: C’est du vent

Why do I need to know c’est du vent?

Because you might wonder why the politician is talking about wind in response to questions about the latest scandal.

What does it mean?

C’est du vent roughly pronounced say doo vahnt – translates literally to “it is the wind”, but in reality it is more akin to the English expression “it’s just hot air” or “it’s a load of nonsense”.

You can use this expression when you want to say that someone has made an empty threat, or if their words are unlikely to be followed through with real action. 

This is a French expression you might hear politicians use when seeking to downplay something – for instance, a strike threat from unions. 

You may also hear someone use this expression to minimise an accusation or rumour that is circulating about them. If you want to target a specific person when using the phrase, you could say “Il/Elle fait du vent” (He/She is full of hot air). 

Use it like this

Il a déclaré que ce n’était du vent lorsque les journalistes l’ont interrogé sur les accusations de blanchiment d’argent.– He said it was just hot air when journalists asked him about accusations of money laundering.

Il a dit qu’il allait encore quitter son emploi cette semaine, mais il fait du vent. – He said he was going to quit his job again this week, but it’s a load of nonsense.

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