Today's photo has nothing to do with le mot du jour -- not unless you want it to. Click to enlarge this image (...of one of our testy tournesols, in the front yard).

furax (fyur-aks) adjective

    : livid, furious, hopping mad

synonym: furibard(e)

*   *   *

A Day in a French Life... will continue on Wednesday. Meantime, please give us your favorite French word (or share your favorite French expression); click here to share it or to see the submitted words!

Merci beaucoup & à bientôt!

PS: a slangy expression that I find amusing, and sometimes hear the French use, is "idem" [ee-dem]. It means "ditto".

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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


bisous is my favorite French word. I understand it is used amongst friends and means something like hugs or kindly.


I'm known for saying 'Il s'agit de l'amour' (it's a matter of love) in Montreal. People then tell me that I'm making progress with the French language, so I say it a lot!


Pissenlit is one of my favorites. It always makes me chuckle to think about learning this word in French class as an adolescent. I also like the concept of metamorphosis that this flower evokes.


Actually, "idem" is directly from Latin, meaning "the same (thing)." "Ditto," of course, is much more slang-like, in that it comes from the Italian for "said (already)."


My favorite French phrase of the moment is "j'embrasse mon chien sur la bouche!" I kiss my dog on the mouth!

Jo Metz

I love the sound of the French word for dragonfly - libellule. And of course it also brings to mind the lovely Art Nouveau arched canopies.

Carol from Seattle

Lachon-nous. It is not beautiful, but describes a love of life, if I understand it correctly.

Lana in Montreal

My favourite is ce n'est pas grave - it fits so many occasions.


my favorite french word is johhny hallyday!no a word, really, but the rock star. my next favorite is alain delon.


maquillage - (Make-Up) I love saying it but I rarely wear it.

fainéant - (Lazy, Idle) I love the idea of it and strive for vacations full of it.


Has the word "shouette" been posted?


"elle a du monde au balcon"...when I was in France as a student in the 60's, this expression referred to a well-endowed woman!!!

John Wines

"Méfiez-vous des méfiants!" "Beware of mistrustful people!"

Another Latin expression used by French speakers is "illico", meaning "tout de suite", immediately

Robyn Daniels

Have shared this with you before Kristin but now sharing it with wider community:

I love the phrase "mon violon d'Ingres" which means "my hobby or passion secondary to my main occupation at which Iam very skilled"'Ingres


très fatigué is a favorite~ just because it seems that is all I am lately!

fermé la bouche is another~ since i need to be practicing this more often.

and finally L'amour. What's not to love about the word love.


I had a feeling that furax might be slangy, so I looked it up on WordReference and it says "très familier", so you'd only use it with close friends.

For me, a favorite word at the moment is "rouspéter". It means to grumble, argue, complain, protest. Although I have nothing de quoi rouspéter, really.


a consultant i used to work with loved to say he had "un idee de manoeuvre" - i always got a kick out of that

Suzanne Dunaway

i love the word poubelle, which comes from the name of a man, monsieur poubelle, who invented the garbage cans of france.


One of my favorites has always been "virgule". So rich and velvety a word for such a practical, mundane thing ("comma"). I just love how it feels as I say it, as well as how it sounds.
Another thing, related to the above "bisous", is the word "bises" ("kisses") that is often written at the end of a letter. My husband and I have modified the spelling in our correspondence to "bees".


To convey the idea of 'horrible', the best for me is épouvantable--especially useful for taxi drivers when describing embouteillages! Five syllables of expressiveness!!


How about "vachement"? Love using it as a superlative.


I love the word "fauteuil" for the way it sounds. The sound doesn't match the definition (armchair, easy chair) but I have always loved how it sounds like something my grandmother would say in yiddish!


My favorite French expression is J'en ai marre. I use it souvent.


Am I correct in assuming that we will discover WHY you are "livid,furious, hopping mad" in Wednesday's post?

P.S. I like the phrase "le ciel" to describe the "heavens." Just the way the two words round off my tongue gives me a wonderous sense of the magnificent and grandly vast parabola that is the sky above me that directs my eye toward Heaven!


My favorite French word is parapluie. Even when its' raining, the word makes me giggle!

C'est moi

My favorite freanch expression:

Allons y! Vite! Tout de suite!


Diane: correct, sort of: Jean-Marc was the hopping mad one. (I was the worried sick one. More on Wednesday...)


"L'esprit de l'escalier" because it's something I specialise in!

Those pastries called "les pets de soeurs" because they make me giggle.

And I'm with Diane on "chouette". Calling something cool by using the word for a female hibou is about as random as expressing one's appreciation in English by saying something has a low temperature!


My favorite French phrase is Ce n'est pas grave. When I was living in Paris- too many years ago- it seemed to punctuate every conversation. When there is nothing left to say, my friend or I say it and laugh.

Anna E. Fierst

My dictionary (Cassells) lists "furibard(e)" as "furibond(e). it is a Cassells from the early '70s but maybe there is a typo in this word-a-day posting? Anna E.,


Mine is 'courage'! Makes me think of 'coeur' when I hear it in french but not so in english.



l'intégrité (integrity) I love the sound of this word. And because it's a difficult trait for some to acquire, mostly because l'intégrité reveals itself most often when no one is watching.

Lee Isbell

I'm loving all the words being posted, and also wondered what we might expect on Wednesday from Kristin on "furax." Words I savor are those I never learned in French classes but had to ask about in France: bricolage (do-it-yourself), canicule (heatwave), and then the verb souhaiter, which my dictionary defines as "to wish for (something)" but seems to be used for so much more. It's also such a quiet word I have to do a double-take to hear it in a sentence.

Finally, I love the tournesol (also a great word) which brings back my wanderings through the tournesols in Ste-Cecile-les-Vignes last summer. Wish I was there now.

Pat Cargill

"le ciel est si bleu"

was part of a lecon in high school french many years went something like: De tous les saisons, c'est le printemps que je c'est alors, les plus belles mois de l'annee; le ciel est si bleu... and that is ALL I REMEMBER. I can still see Miss Rosalie Covington, our gorgeous French teacher, slim and elegant in her suits, perfectly coiffed and made up, beautiful jewelry. I often wondered how in the HELL she ended up in Newton, NC - textile- smalltown-USA. And how glad I am that she did! Alas, I did not care so much about the language then as I do now and my memorization skills are fairly nil. C'est la vie, Bebe!

Trois cheers, Madame Covington wherever you are in le grand bleu ciel above!

Maria Cochrane

"On ne sait jamais", one never knows, from Le Petit Prince, is my most used phrase. I've taught it to lots of people because it comes out of my mouth so often.

Jean Lillibridge, Shreveport, Louisiana

my favorite french expression: when living in France in early 60's and learning French when one would ask if I could speak French, I would answer, Yes, I speak French "comme une vache espanole". It always got a laugh. Don't know if that expression is used anymore.


Hi Anna, there is no typo. Your dictionary simply did not include the slang / familiar word "furax" for "furieux" ('furious').

Nice to know Jo Metz shares my love for the sound of the word “libellule”, and everything it implies (including Summertime)

Always been amused and fascinated by fancy and funny words that make me laugh and sound as crazy as what they actually mean:
- “hurluberlu” (cranky, extravagant)
- “farfelu” (a bit mad, bizarre, extravagant)
- “zinzin” (crazy, quite bizarre, lunatic)

I (and don't we all?) love the expression: "Liberté chérie" (Beloved / most cherished Freedom)

However, one of my favourite expressions is:
“Vivre d'amour et d'eau fraîche” = to live on love alone. It may not seem like the best translation in English, but I don't know any better and it's close to what it means in French)

Thanks for the gorgeous sunflower, Kristin!
"Tournesols and parasols" are 2 favourite Summer words that go "très bien ensemble"!


Another all time useful and favourite phrase is 'tant pis!'...infinitely useful and right up there with 'eh bein!'.

Renée LeBlanc

I have 2 favorite Expressions... my first is Zut Alors! (Excuse the spelling please)

and my second is any French word that has 2 meanings, (Comme Avocat, par example)

Susan Strick

i love the word "tiens!" as an expression of surprise; also the expression "chez _____" as in chez moi, chez lui, etc. as students together in france many years ago, a group of us found ourselves using these words even when we spoke english among ourselves, e.g. "come over to my chez later, ok?"

Jeane Gautier

There are so many words I enjoy speaking(e.g. beaucoup). One that hasn't been mentioned yet, is 'couche du soleil' as I picture the sun settling down for a nap.

Carmen Clarke

When we asked our French prof at L'Alliance Francaise a question about why things are a certain way in French, he would often reply, "Parce que."

I kept that in mind a lot when living in France. And I learned that understanding why is sometimes not as important as accepting.

Jackie Pace, Nova Scotia

Learned something from Polly Platt's book Frence or Foe that I used all over France.It worked every time. "Excusez-moi de vous deranger ,mais j'ai un probleme"

Sheila Bosworth Lemann

I often find myself thinking- - if not saying aloud- - "Il a un grain." C'est a dire, "He has a screw loose."

- - Sheila Lemann


My favorite is "truc" -- it translates roughly to "thingamajig" or "whatchamacallit".

As someone struggling to make daily conversation in French, having a word to fall back on when I don't know the word for something is invaluable!

So many times, I end up saying "non, s'il vous plait, le truc bleu"

Karinka Calhoun

My favorite word is pamplemousse...although I rarely eat one. There was a Kitchen store in Tampa when I was growing up by that name and I think it's lovely.


"Plus ça change ...". Very relevant in the 21st century. But I like it because it reminds me of reading Paris Match as a schoolboy. There was a whimsical column so called. the rest of the phrase is "plus c'est la même chose." Originally written in 1849, by Alphonse Karr.


My favorite is jusqua ce-que. I'm sure I'm not spelling it right. I believe it means "until" and I loved saying it when I learned it in high school. I always thought it sounded like the name of a perfume!


"On est comme on est."

I like the play on words with liasons. I like how "we" and "people" are interchangeable; an existential turn of phrase.

Looking at the postings, Heidi noted J'en ai marre. A few months back, I was reading a blog on BBC UK about the phrase. The author recounted the first trip to France wondering why the French were obsessed with Johnny Marr!


Dieu le vieux! This has been my motto for a very long time.

Lee Isbell

This is so great. Is there a French expression for "When all is said and done...?" Because when that happens, I'm going to print out this fabulous list.


I love the old French word "saperlipopette".
It means whoops-a-daisey. May be used in other ways as well I suppose, but do not know what those ways could be.


Kalaiedoscope (sp?) It was part of a pronunciation exercise during my first year of French. I mastered the pronunciation and felt super! I love to say this word. Also, I agree, fauteuil is fun to say!


I love the sound of the slang form of "je ne sais pas", pronounced "shay-pah".
And one of my favorite words is "franchement"...throw it pretty much anywhere, in any sentence, and you will sound like a veteran francophone!

Karryll in San Rafael, CA

I like seduisante, the way it sounds and the many layers of meaning it can convey, so much more than "seductive" in English. Poubelle always gives me a giggle, such a pretty word for a trash can.

Alice Dent

My students love "ananas" pineapple. They think it's funny.
I discovered "ch'tis" about a yr ago when I was in France. Apparently it refers to the redneck, white trash qui habite au nord de France et il y a un film aussi!
I also like "les sanglots longs des violons" d'apres le poeme de Baudelaire(?) which was the code to announce D-Day ou J-Jour.

Lee Isbell

I saw the movie mentioned by Alice, "Bienvenu, chez le ch'tis" on the plane from San Francisco to Paris and have been looking for the DVD ever since in the format that will play in the U.S. Definitely a laugh out loud movie.

Lynn Worn

One of my favorite words is rigolo, meaning funny as an adjective or a person who jokes around a lot as a noun. To me, the word itself sounds funny.
Very interesting reading other people's comments here! :)

Cathy Thorpe

One of my favourite phrases is "Leche la vitrine" which literally means licking the windows or windowshopping


Je vous adore! Not really my favorite... But all are so good!


Yes Jean, that expression is still used (or atl least it still was when I lived there in the late 70's). I love it too and je trouve que beacoup de ces mots me font rigoler. Peut etre si on les utilise plus souvent, on ne parlera pas francais comme une vache espagnole!


"c'est mon je le partage" has become my tag-line. Ironicaly, I agree with everyone else's posts! Vachement fun! (et vive le franglais!)


"Jus d'orange"... love the way this word swishes importantly around the tongue! It is a nostalgic favourite as it is one of the first words my children picked up when we did a drive around holiday in France many years ago when they were 8 and 9 years old... "frites et ketchup et ... JUS D'ORANGE" they would say both giggling!

Mary Christopher

I have several faves as far as mots francais are concerned. One is the expression "Quel gachis!" (What a mess!). I also love the sound of "fripouille" (scoundrel,rascal--but why is it feminine?). And as for animals, I love "moufette"--it sounds way too cute to be a skunk.


Oui! (YES!)
Maybe if everyone said yes to something they would normally say "no" to the world would be a better place! Agree?

Franklin Levin

"D'accord," by far. When I hear it I know I have successfully communicated in a language not my own. Also,"souterrain," for the sound it has and its wonderfull ability to make an,"underpass," sound sophisticated and for being totally descriptive.

Luiz Novaes   Sao Paulo   Brazil

mes favorites:

Mince alors !
Faire des emplettes
Mon chou


"miam, miam" Because my future French mom, loves to hear me when I say this. (not sure if it's how I pronounce it... or maybe because she sees me as a big kid when eating sweets)


another favorite, when we first met, a couple of days later ma copine sent me a text.. "coucou" (i thought to myself, mmmm.. this girl just called me a cou-cou!!) she laughed all day when i asked her about it. (yes, i laughed too... mon ange c'est crazy)

Sophia Twaddell

Favorite word: Egalement. Youo hear it all the time in conversation. Favorite expression: Qui se ressemble s'assemble (birds of a feather...)


Jeff C.

The post about not asking why, reminded me of an e-mail I received when I first started learning this language. The message said, "Don't ask why. After all, there is no why in French, only pourquoi!" [which of course is literally 'for what'] The point was there is never a good answer to why, so take it as it comes. Which then led to the most common French phrase;
"C'est comme ca!"

kathy g

My favorite phrase in French comes from he book Le Petit Prince. As the Little Prince is watching the developement of the flower bud which will become "his" rose, he sees that she dresses herself slowly, adjusting her petals one by one because she does not wish to show herself "toute fripee comme les coquelicots". I love to say the words out loud, they never fail to please. (And while roses are lovely, I also enjoy the wrinkled poppies). Thanks for making us smile day after day.


tu ~ you (sweeter than vous,
when it happens to you)


Mouchoir is one of my favorites. I love the sound of the word, and a pretty one in my purse is so special! Mouche is another favorite. I once had a cat named Mouche (after a cat that Victor Hugo owned). And the word mouche has many meanings.


My favourite French expression is "bonne continuation". No, we don't hear bonne canicule! Quand même.


I often heard my boss, when speaking with his French compatriots using the word "tartempion" (any old so-and-so, or any Tom, Dick & Harry). It was only a few months ago that I saw the word written and was able to get the actual translation. That is my current favorite word.

My favorite expression is:

Les absents ont toujours tort. - The absent are always wrong.


I have always loved the sound of the word "quotidien/ne". It makes me smile.


I love the sound of chouette too, like Diana and Passante. It's like an energetic gust of wind. Some French fauna trivia: une chouette is an owl without "ears", that is, without the tufts that look like ears. Un hibou is like a great horned owl, with tufts that look like ears(or horns). It's hard to try to precisely translate animal and plant names between French and English sometimes, because we tend to name and group things differently. I gather that the idea that a chouette is a female owl is a common misconception, even among French speakers.

Jules Greer

I first heard the words 'cou-cou' when I lived in Les Arcs with Kristi in from 2002-2003. My first real girlfriend there was a beautiful artist named CoCo....everytime she would see me in the village she would call out "COU-COU JULES!". I was told she was calling out "Hi, peekaboo I see you." I have used cou cou everyday of my life since then, it is my password along with a lot of other secret numbers only I would know.




So many choices but I'm going with "ah bon, ca marche." The idea implied is of course, success. Love it.


Yes Leslie - same misconception I suppose with "une" fourmi (= ant), "une" hirondelle (= swallow)... "une" souris (= mouse)...

It seems ages since I sent my post with favourites words and expressions. Just been reading all the words and expressions and had a great time. I love:
- the sound -and use- of “mon violon d'Ingres”,
- the dramatic sound and panicky intonation of the word “épouvantable” (mais croyez-moi, c'est épouvantable!...)
- “le truc”! - “ce truc” → that thing / thingummy, whatsit
PS ---> “truc” reminds me of “ machin” (= what's it, what's its/his/her name?...) One step further and we get to the fabulous and funny combinations of 'familiar' favourite words, when the actual 'right' word doesn't come back to our mind:
- machin-chouette (Monsieur “machin-chouette” → ('what's his name')
- machin-truc
- and even “truc machin-chouette.” Great fun!

In the list I gave yesterday (containing “hurluberlu”, “farfelu”, “zinzin”), I could add:
- “dingue”, a bit like “zinzin”. “C'est complètement dingue!” (= It's utterly crazy/ridiculous)
- “abracadabrant”, a bit like farfelu.
un "truc abracadabrant” - une "histoire acadabrante"!
(= stunning, marvellously bizarre, bizarrely fantastic).

By the way, I also love the picturesque expression: “Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid”, which is more or less the equivalent of:« Little strokes fell great oaks ».
All these French "i"s, stretching your lips into a smile... One could hear the echo of cuicui, cui-cui from the birds. Soft pronunciation... and a positive image conveying something cosy, homely and hopeful.

Jules Greer

Two words I heard everyday (all day long) from Max and Jackie - Kristi too.

quoi - what
pourquoi - why

I guess they are always childrens favorite words.

Janet Konig

I just returned from what was my last "student trip" to Paris!! (I very recently retired from teaching French - after 30+ years!!) And my 9 students loved the new expression our courier, Marc, taught us: a drag = "une galère"; "Quelle galère!" - what a drag!; "C'est la galère" - it's a drag. And I was glad to have read about "coucou" because his email subject line was "coucou de Paris"!!! It was great to read how many of you chose MANY of my favorite French words/expressions! Bon été, tout le monde.


My own abso-fave french term is "tout le monde", probably as much for its naturally-curly feel on the tongue when uttered lightly and smoothly, and for its merry sound, as for its meaning of immense inclusiveness. It's the first french expression I remembered by myself spontaneously as a small kid; went about chanting it softly and loudly for days. Still warms this ol' heart to do that!

Marion, Vieille Dame de San Francisco

The "eui" words fascinate me, like fauteuil. They are very difficult for English speakers to pronouce correctly. A friend, the historian Michael K. Jones, and I once worked on the pronunciation for three weeks during a trip in France, but our guide said we never did get it just right. It all started in the ville de Verneuil.

Larry R

I love the pictures that come to my mind when I literally translate "les pommes de terres" and "la chauve souris". I love to say "les pantoufles" and "la quincaillerie."


Mes Filles...Mes Petits-Enfants.
My little children(Grandchildren).

And an expression.."Je t'aime gros gros gros comme le ciel~"
I love you as big as the sky~



Annette Heat

When trying to tell others why I love the French language and how beautiful it is compared to some of our English words like "garbage" -----my favorite word is "la poubelle". I that not the loveliest word ever for trash/garbage etc????

suzy white

My favourite term of endearment is "mon petit chou."


When trying to endear people to the beauty of French you have, I think, only to tell them that the word for a paper-clip is...

"petit trombone"

Linda R.

Words and favorite expressions are, to me, always associated with certain memories. "Ce n'est pas grave," along with a smile takes the sting out of any situation; cou cou"/"un petit coucou" always brings a smile to the face of the receiver; "voila", and the situation is tied up with a piece of ribbon and handed over, completed.

premierement, vachement, franchement, inoubliablement, mathemathiquement (sp?) ... I love the adverbs.


Thanks to this, I found a lot of interesting words that I can add to my blog !
My favourite words are the names of the countries and nationalities in French - chinois, Allemagne, Belgique, Etas-Unis, Pays-Bas, japonais. etc etc .
Thanks Kristin !


One expression I hear over and over is "mais, c'est normale!" which I take to mean "that's just the way it is" or "no big deal."

Mike Thomas

In no particular order:


As for an expression, anyone who works avec les enfants precoces should know, «J'en ai ras le bol!».

Lucy Ann Wines

Arondissement--sounds like coups de tambour, thumps on a drum

Marianne Rankin

I'm belatedly - hope not too late - jumping into the discussion.

"Les sanglots longs," etc. I believe wwas taken from a poem by Verlaine.

A close equivalent of "when all is said and done" could be "en fin de compte" (literally, at the last accounting, finally, in the last analysis, etc.)

When I was in France in 1972, there was a huge ad in one of the metro stations for Laughing Cow (vache qui rit) cheese. It noted that even in summer, Paris was still full of "vachequiriphiles," people who love that cheese! A nifty word.

Three favorite (of many) French words:

"Pifometre," a fun word to describe the nose. If you do something without exactly knowing how, figuring it out as you go, you are doing it "au pifometre."

"Kinesitherapeute" - physical therapist. Not one I use often, but being able to say it in French gives one a sense of mastery, and it has a brisk sound.

La rosee (dew) - It conjures up images of sparkling drops, perhaps occasionally in the form of tiny roses.

For the record - a French family told me that the longest word in French is "anticonstitutionnellement."


My word of choice also is Chouette, which is why I named my poodle this! As my French friend said after meeting her, "Chouette is, well, chouette!"

Evening Herault

Has nobody done "lunettes" (glasses, as in spectacles) yet? I'm always asking shops, restaurants and bars for them.

Somebody else already mentioned "déranger", and I always think of the English offshoot "deranged" and what I'm sort of literally saying: "Excuse me for deranging you, but I've lost my little moons!"


Hou about "nounours" for teddy bear? I love this one.


tiré par les cheveux", literally "pulled by the hair"

When someone gives you an illogical, far-fetched explanation, you can adopt a very doubtful expression and respond, " Ça me paraît tiré par les cheveux . . . "

Mon p'tit chou and mon coco: two ways of saying sweetie or honey

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)