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French Expression of the Day: Temps de chien

The Local France
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French Expression of the Day: Temps de chien
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This French expression does not have a very positive view of man’s best friend.

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Why do I need to know temps de chien?

Because if you find yourself in some bad weather, you might want a new expression to complain about it.

What does it mean?

Temps de chien roughly pronounced tahm duh she-ahn – is a French expression that could be translated to “time of the dog” if taken word-for-word, but in reality, it simply means “poor (or bad) weather”. 

In this case, the word temps is used to mean weather, instead of time, and chien (dog) is used as a stand-in for something terrible or bad. 

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The expression has been in use since at least the start of the 20th century. It is still commonly used, and these days you would most likely hear people say temps de chien when complaining about a particularly snowy, rainy or windy day.

READ ALSO 5 French phrases to complain about the weather

Use it like this

C'est le temps de chiens dehors. Mes chaussures se sont trempées sur le chemin du travail. – The weather is awful outside. My shoes got soaked on the way to work.

J'ai vu un morceau de grêle de la taille de mon poing ! Quel temps de chien. – I saw a piece of hail the size of my fist. What terrible weather!

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