French Word of the Day: Radin

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected]
French Word of the Day: Radin
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This French word might be tossed around when trying to split the costs with friends or family.


Why do I need to know radin?

Because you might want to complain about someone's less-than-generous attitude.

What does it mean?

Radin - roughly pronounced rah-dahn - is the French term for a penny-pincher, or someone who is 'stingy' or ‘miserly’ - ie they don't like spending money.  

The French dictionary defines radin as someone ‘of great stinginess’. The French word is colloquial and insulting, so you probably would not use it casually.

A radin person does not need to be poor - they could be very wealthy or preoccupied with money, but they do not want to spend any of it. 

As such, you might hear your French friend complain about someone being radin after splitting the bill down to the last centime.

A synonym for radin would be grippe-sou (although in modern French la grippe means the flu, the archaic sense means to grip on to something so this phrase literally means 'sovereign gripper' similar to the English phrase penny-pincher).

If you're looking for something a little less colloquial, you could describe someone as 'prudent avec l'argent' (careful with money).


Use it like this

Ma colocataire est une radine. Elle me demande même de la payer si j'utilise un peu de son ketchup ou si j'emprunte un œuf. - My flatmate is a penny-pincher. She even asks me to pay her if I use some of her ketchup or borrow an egg.

Je préfère ne rien partager avec Jacques. Il est tellement radin que partager l'addition sera un cauchemar plus tard. - I'd rather not share anything with Jacques. He is so stingy that splitting up the bill will be a nightmare later.


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