baba cool


Asterisque (c) Kristin Espinasse

A shop dog in Grignan -- a town in the Drôme made famous by Madame de Sévigné. (Re today's photo: You can just see my mom's reflection in the shop window. She's wearing a bright-colored poncho. See her? And see another picture of our tech savvy chien at the end of this post).

Thank you for all the French words and expressions! Please keep sending them in, via the comments box, where we continue to play our "Point & Discover" French word game*... speaking of which... here is a fun term that reader Dorothy Dufour just sent in:

mouchoir-pouchoir (moosh-wahr-poosh-wahr) noun, masculine
    : hanky-panky

[from "mouchoir" ("handkerchief" or "hanky") & "pouchoir" (a made-up French word that rhymes with "mouchoir")]

See this word... and many more endearing terms and expressions, here.

To comment on today's term, "mouchoir-pouchoir" please use this box:

*To play the word game along with us:

1. Cover your eyes
2. Open a French dictionary to a random page. Let your finger drop to the page.
3. Discover the word beneath your fingertip.

Asterisk If you do not have a dictionary handy, you might share the first word that comes
to mind. Don't forget to add the definition and any related expressions to the
comments box.

Learn French in a Hurry: Grasp the Basics of Français Tout De Suite

French "vine therapy" for the hands: Caudalie Hand And Nail Cream

SmartFrench: CD-rom for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced French learning

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Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Cerelle Bolon

My husband is fond of saying "Whatever" and my friends from France asked us about it. The best I could come up with was "Zut Alors". They laughed and seemed to "get it" but I am wondering if there is a close match for that "Whatever" expression. Any help out there?


I'm not playing the game properly here, but the first word that came to my mind on seeing the photograph was "chiocciola: which means "snail"and is also the word for the @ in e-mail addresses.

Jacqueline de Brisbane (Queensland)

Passante's entry sent me on a quest in my online dictionaries.... I always loved that @ 'caractère'...
The French call it 'arrobas' with many spellings (arrobase, aroba, arobas etc).
Canadian French: Arrobas or a-commercial
Italian: chiocciola
Spanish: arrobas
Then on to 'ampersand' [&] which is the marvellous "esperluète" ....
What fun - Super-chouette!

Marilyn McLean

Whatever - n'importe! That is my translation of whatever.

One of my favourite words is "quotidien" - a saying from A. de St. Exupery "Le bonheur est de bien faire le travail quotidien."

Calgary, Canada


A word that I heard only once but made it's mark: "tomatine". I have since heard that it was a Canadian proposal for replacing the English word "ketchup". Not sure how true that is, but it cute.

The irony is that ketchup is not really an English word, coming from the Indonesian ketjap or Chinese ketsiap (which mean "tomato sauce").

Frank Chappell

The Italian "chiocciola" looks very similar to the French "coccinelle" (ladybug beetle) from the Latin family of insects "Coccinellidae". "Coccinelle" is also the French name for the Volkswagon Beetle.


Hi Kristi, I'm in Amsterdam airport, met a darling young man who is letting me use his computer. Actually he is typing this right now. Just wanted to say thank you for everything, I love you. Mom

Julie Schorr

Tu dis n'importe quoi! This is a pretty close translation of "whatever"!!!!
Julie Schorr et
Les eleves de Granite Hills high school

Julie Schorr

Hi Kristin,
Is the dog in the store window real? My students would like to know. Merci!
Julie Schorr
El Cajon,Ca
Granite Hills high school


Bonjour Madame Schorr, Salut les élèves! Yes, that is a real dog. I've included a second photo at the end of the post (the dog is looking at the camera this time).

Thank you for reading my blog in class.

Elinor White

A Heavenly Blue Morning Glory pour Jules from Elinor in St. Louis, MO.


a stock of show-stopping fragrant stock (purple) from marin county, CA, USA
for jules.
kristin, thanks for sharing yr fam.


Une marguerite blanche pour Jules d'Alexandria, Virginia aux Etats-Unis! :)

Jeff C.

Une magnolia pour Jules de Mississippi!

Phil Gibbs

Along the lines of mouchoir/pouchoir, our word for a really long hot shower is pouvoir/shouvoir, or used daily, simply taking a "shouvoir"


Favorite words:
Ronronner--to purr
Caramboler--to collide with
Le crepuscule--twilight

A garden of fiesta bright moss roses --lat. portulaca, fr. roses moussesuses(?) -- for Jules

Deborah Jongsma

I miss my mum -- she's always in my thoughts, and I just planted "pensées" at the cemetery, so sending some along to dear Jules also, from Ontario, Canada.


my favorite french word is guimauve. it means marshmallow. i love saying it over and over. it makes me smile :)

Doreen Sharabati

A hibiscus from Florida for Jules


bleuets for julesfrom Jeanne in St.Paul

Marian Epperly

Though not the first of May, a Brin de Muguet (lily of the valley) from Sidney, OH.

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