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French Word of the Day: 6h pile

This is a handy phrase if you have a friend who is always late.

French Word of the Day: 6h pile

Why do I need to know pile?

Because if someone includes this word in pick-up or drop-off instructions, you may want to be on time.

What does it mean?

Pile roughly pronounced peel – looks a lot like the English word for a heap of clothes, and while it can be used in this sense in French, pile is most commonly translated as the French word for “battery.” 

In colloquial language, however, the word has another definition altogether.

The term pile can also be used to mean “exact” or “sharp” when used to describe a moment in time. For example, if a friend tells you that you need to be at the train station “by 6am sharp” the French version would be: à 6h pile.

Times in French are generally written with an ‘h’ (for heures) so 6h is 6am, 17h is 5pm and 20h is 8pm, etc . . . 

Pile is also used in this sense in some French expressions, like s’arrêter pile which means to “stop suddenly” or to “stop dead in one’s tracks.” You might also hear the phrase tomber pile which means that something has happened at exactly the right moment or at the perfect time.

Use it like this

Je viendrai te chercher à 10h pile. S’il te plaît, sois prêt. – I will come to pick you up at 10am on the dot. Please be ready.

Elle m’a dit qu’elle me retrouverait au restaurant à 19h pile, mais elle a quinze minutes de retard. – She told me that she would meet me at the restaurant at 7pm exactly, but she is fifteen minutes late.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Les toxicos

You'll want to be sure to only use this French expression in the right contexts.

French Expression of the Day: Les toxicos

Why do I need to know les toxicos?

Because you might want to avoid using this term if you simply want to describe someone as behaving in a toxic manner.

What does it mean?

Les toxicos roughly pronounced lay tox-ee-kohs – is the French slang term to describe “drug addict”.

The English equivalent might be “junkie”.

The word comes from a French word for drug addiction more generally. “Toxicomanie” refers to the physical and/or psychological dependence on chemical substances without prescription or therapeutic justification.

The official term for a person addicted to substances is “toximane” – and les toxicos is a shortened, more informal version of the term. 

In French, you can also use the term “dépendance” to refer to addiction as well.

READ MORE: French Expression of the Day: Les stups

Some may use this term in a derogatory way, though its usage depends on context and the person speaking.

Use it like this

Le politicien a critiqué le manque de financement de la police et a cité le fait qu’il y avait trop de toxicos près de la gare. – The politician criticised a lack of funding for police and cited the fact that there were too many drug addicts by the train station.

L’homme m’a dit que je devais faire attention en traversant le parc car il y avait beaucoup de toxicos, mais je me sentais en sécurité.– The man told me that I should be careful when crossing the park because there are many junkies, but I felt safe.