For members


French Word of the Day: Vœux

You can do this at a wedding and at the start of the New Year.

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

What does it mean?

Vœux – roughly pronounced vuh – is the plural form of the word vœu, and it is formally defined as a “vow or vows.” 

However, you are more likely to see it used to mean a “greeting” or “wish.” For example, if you buy a birthday card for someone, you might find a section for “vœux d’anniversaire” (birthday wishes). 

Simple greetings cards are called carte de vœux.

But there is one time of year when you will hear this term a lot – at the start of the New Year, when politicians and celebrities offer their meilleur vœux – best wishes and aspirations for the year – to the public. 

In English, it would be best translated as to send your “good wishes or greetings.”

Traditionally the president makes a speech to the French people at New Year, and this is known simply as Les vœux.

Some parts of the word’s traditional meaning can still be seen in its more common usage – as it is still intended to be a communication of deep wishes or promises. 

Originally, vœux had a religious connection – representing a promise that one would make to a higher power in hopes of gaining their favour. It can still be used to describe the religious duties taken on by monks, priests and nuns. 

Use it like this

Le maire a publié une vidéo de ses vœux de nouvel an cette année, au lieu de faire un discours. – The mayor shared a video of his New Year’s greetings this year, instead of giving a speech.

La partie du magasin dédiée aux cartes de vœux est ma préférée. J’aime la créativité. – The greetings card section of the store is my favourite part. I love the creativity.

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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.