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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: Une tronche

You might call a member of the Big Bang theory team this word.

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

Why do I need to know une tronche ?

Because you probably have some former classmates who fit this description

What does it mean?

Une tronche roughly pronounced oon trohnsh –  normally refers to a big stump, log or block of wood, though not to be confused with the word “tranche”, which though it has a similar pronunciation, means a piece or slice of something. 

The French word for a block of wood has a second, casual meaning too – it can be used as a synonym for “face” or “head” – as it can in English too, such as in the phrase “knock your block off” to mean punch someone in the head.

You might be wondering now whether the word can be used synonymously with the English insult “blockhead” – referring to a dim person, but in fact it is the opposite. 

French people might call a genius or a highly intelligent person “une tronche,” similar to how English-speakers might call a very smart person a “brain.” 

Thus, a savant at mathematics might be referred to as une tronche en mathématiques.

Use it like this

C’est une tronche, il est le premier de la classe chaque année. – He is a genius, he is the top of the class every year.

Elle est une tronche dans l’apprentissage des langues, elle peut parler cinq langues différentes couramment.– She is a language-learning genius, she can speak five different languages fluently.

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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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