Monday, January 31, 2000

ferroviaire

The word for the day is ferroviaire, from the Italian.  It means having to do with trains or the railway.
  • Le réseau ferroviaire de la Grande-Bretagne est exploité par plus de vingt compagnies.
More than twenty companies make use of Great Britain's railway network.

Sunday, January 30, 2000

une couleuvre

The word of the day is la couleuvre, which means grass snake or water snake.
  • Le reptile le plus courant en France est la couleuvre à collier, qui élit souvent domicile près des plans d’eau où elle trouve des grenouilles à manger.
The most commonly found reptile in France is the grass snake, which often chooses its habitat next to bodies of water where it can find frogs to eat.

Saturday, January 29, 2000

le noyau

The French word of the day is le noyau. It means the nucleus of a cell.  It can also mean pit or kernel, or, more figuratively, the center, core, or origin of something.
  • Il y a des fruits à pépins et des fruits à noyau.
There are fruits with seeds and fruits with pits.
  • Tout au centre de la planète se trouve un noyau solide contenant principalement du fer.
In the very center of the planet is a core made mostly of solid iron. 

Friday, January 28, 2000

une scolopendre

The word of the day in French is la scolopendre.  It means centipede.  Note from Wiktionnaire: La plupart des dictionnaire classiques donnent ce mot comme féminin, mais l'usage depuis le XXe siècle favorise plutôt le masculin, sans qu'il y ait toutefois une tendance tranchée.
  • Après avoir avalé un scolopendre vivant, une vipère s'est fait dévorer de l'intérieur par sa victime.
After having swallowed a centipede alive, a viper was devoured from the inside by its victim.

Thursday, January 27, 2000

le chandail

Guten Morgen!  Today's francophone word of the day is le chandail.  It means sweater or pullover.
  • Toutes les femmes s'habillent en mexicaines et les hommes portent chandails et bluejeans délavés. 
All the women wore Mexican style dresses and the men wore sweaters and faded jeans.

Wednesday, January 26, 2000

touffu

The French word for today is touffu.  It means bushy or thick (as in a beard, vegetation, or fog).
  • À un bout se tassait un petit village et à l'autre la jungle touffue s'abaissait rapidement vers les pâturages et s'y arrêtait net, comme si on l'eût tranchée d'un coup de bêche.
At one end stood a little village, and at the other the thick jungle came down in a sweep to the grazing-grounds, and stopped there as though it had been cut off with a hoe. [Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book]

Tuesday, January 25, 2000

le seuil

Today the French Word of the Day for today is le seuil.  It means: the threshold; that is, a slab of stone, wood, or metal at the base of a door; and the figurative meaning of that sense, as in the entry of a house, or the limit of something.
  • Ainsi la procession se rend jusqu'au seuil de la cathédrale pour en expulser les pénitents.
Thus the procession makes it way to the threshold of the cathedral to expel the penitents.
  • L'inconfort ressenti par une personne est relatif aux dépassements de certains seuils préétablis de tolérance à la tension.
The discomfort a person feels is relative to the passing of certain pre-established limits of tolerance to strain. 


Monday, January 24, 2000

le hérisson

Bienvenue!  Français!  Mot du jour!  Le hérisson.  Ce veut dire "hedgehog."
  • On ne présente plus le hérisson, ce sympathique animal au dos hérissé de piquants qui s'aventure tout près de nos habitations.
There is no need to introduce any further the hedgehog, that gentle animal with a back bristling with needles, who ventures close to where we live.

Sunday, January 23, 2000

les Pays-Bas

The French word of the day is les Pays-Bas, which is how your Frog refers to the Netherlands.
  • En 2007, puis en 2010, le gouvernement néerlandais a annoncé son intention de faire modifier la constitution afin que la langue néerlandaise soit reconnue comme la langue officielle des Pays-Bas.
In 2007, and again in 2010, the Dutch government announced its intention to modify the constitution so that the Dutch language would be recognized as the official language of the Netherlands.

Saturday, January 22, 2000

année bissextile

The French word of the day is année bissextile, which means leap year.  The etymology of this word is Latin.  It comes from words meaning "twice" and "sixth," because the leap day was inserted six days before the first day of March.
  • Toutes les années bissextiles tombent sur des nombres multiples de quatre, ou divisibles par quatre; ainsi les années 1768, 1772 , 1776, etc. , sont bissextiles.
All leap years are numbers that are multiples of four, or divisible by four; thus the years 1768, 1772, 1776, etc. are leap years.

Friday, January 21, 2000

un archet

Bonjour!  Today's word of the day (French) is un archet.  It means a bow, as used in music.
  • Le violoncelliste frotte la corde avec son archet pour la mettre en vibration. Ainsi excitée, la corde peut vibrer selon plusieurs modes.
The violinist strokes the strings with his bow to make them vibrate.  Thus stirred, the strings can vibrate in various tones.

Thursday, January 20, 2000

la rouille

Today's mot du jour is la rouille, which means rust.  It is also the name of a cold sauce used in soups, named of course for its reddish color.
  • La rouille est la substance de couleur brun-rouge formée quand des composés contenant du fer se corrodent en présence de dioxygène et d'eau.
Rust is a reddish-brown substance formed when alloys containing iron corrode in the presence of O2 and water.

Wednesday, January 19, 2000

une taie

Today's French word is une taie, which means pillowcase.  Most often it is not used alone, but seen in the phrase taie d'oreiller.
  • Les draps et les taies d’oreiller étaient de la plus belle toile et bordés d’une large dentelle.
The sheets and the pillowcases were of the finest cloth, bordered with wide lace.

Tuesday, January 18, 2000

la férule

Today's French mot is la férule.  It means a paddle of wood or leather for whipping.
  • Jadis, on croyait que la férule était l’outil le plus nécessaire pour le maître d'école ; aujourd'hui, les peines corporelles ont disparu de notre enseignement public.
In olden days, it was believed that a wooden paddle was the most important tool for a schoolmaster to possess; today, corporal punishment has vanished from our public education system.

Monday, January 17, 2000

jadis

The French word of the day is jadis.  It means of long ago, formerly.  This word's etymology is interesting. It comes from an old French expression "ja a dis," meaning roughly "it has been days."  Ja is a form of the modern word déjà, a stands for "il y a," and dis means "days," as in lundi, mardi, etc.
  • Cette ville a conservé sa splendeur de jadis.
This town has kept its former splendor.

Sunday, January 16, 2000

illico

The word of the day is illico.  It means right away, pronto, sur-le-champ.
  • Ou vous déguerpissez illico, ou je vous allonge définitivement sur place !
Either you clear out pronto, or I'll lay you out on the spot permanently!

Saturday, January 15, 2000

se heurter

The word of the day is (se) heurter.  It means to knock against, collide with, run into, entrer brusquement en contact.
  • Et juste avant de heurter le pilier du pont de plein fouet le mari répond à sa femme calmement, « J'ai l'airbag ».
And just before colliding head-on into the pillar of the bridge, the husband says to his wife calmly, "I have the airbag."
  • Sur le quai, les gens se pressaient et se heurtaient.
On the dock, people were rushing around and running into one another.

--

When you run into things, the impact hurts! Eh?

Friday, January 14, 2000

gaspiller

The word of the day is gaspiller.  It means to waste or squander.
  • En une semaine ils gaspillèrent les économies d’une année.
In one week they squandered a year's savings.

Thursday, January 13, 2000

faner

The word of the day is faner.  It comes from a Latin word for hay (le foin). It usually means to wilt.  It can also mean to toss or turn grass to dry it out.
  • Les fleurs commencent à se faner dès qu’elles sont cueillies.
The flowers began to wilt the moment they were picked.
  • L’herbe se fane quand on la laisse trop longtemps sur pied.
The grass wilts when left unharvested too long.

Wednesday, January 12, 2000

une empreinte

The word of the day is une empreinte.  It means imprint, track, trace.
  • Ces empreintes, dit le chasseur, étaient évidemment dues au passage récent d'une demi-douzaine de daims de grande taille.
These tracks, said the hunter, were clearly caused by the recent passage of five or six large bucks.

Tuesday, January 11, 2000

déblayer

The word for today is déblayer.  It means to clear away, or remove, dégager un lieu des choses qui l’encombrent.
  • Il faut déblayer le terrain avant de commencer à construire.
We must clear the terrain before beginning to build.

Monday, January 10, 2000

cabochard

The word of the day is cabochard.  It means pig-headed, stubborn, têtu.  It comes from caboche, meaning head, which is probably related to the English word "cabbage."
  • Vous êtes tellement cabochard qu’on ne peut pas vous déconseiller.
You are so very pig-headed that one cannot disabuse you.

Sunday, January 9, 2000

balader

The word of the day is (se) balader.  With the reflexive pronoun, se balader means to go for a walk.  Without it, the verb means to take (somebody) out for a walk.  It also means to carry (something) around, to cart around.
  • Elle se levait ordinairement vers les cinq heures du matin pour se balader dans un petit bosquet au bout de son jardin.
She typically arose around five in the morning to stroll around a small grove at the end of her garden.
  • Malgré son handicap, le jeune aventurier a baladé son fauteuil roulant sur tous les sept continents.
Despite his handicap, the young adventurer carted his wheelchair to all seven continents.

Saturday, January 8, 2000

à pois

The French phrase of the day is à pois.  It means spotted, or with spots.
  • La vedette est arrivée dans une robe blanche à gros pois noirs coupée courte juste au-dessus du genou.
The star arrived in a white dress with big black spots, cut short just above the knee.

Friday, January 7, 2000

coudoyer

Today's French word is coudoyer.  It means to mix with, rub shoulders with, get to know (someone).  It can also mean to strike someone on the neck (from the word le cou, neck).
  • Il est né pauvre, mais comme adulte il coudoie souvent le luxe effréné des hautes classes.
He was born poor, but as an adult he often rubs shoulders with the unbridled luxury of the upper classes.

Thursday, January 6, 2000

au pif

The phrase for today is au pif.  It means by chance, at a guess, par hasard. The word pif is slang for nose so it literally implies you are following your nose.
  • Il n'y a aucune garantie de succès - il faut aller au pif en croisant les doigts.
There is no guarantee of success - you must follow your instinct and cross your fingers.

Wednesday, January 5, 2000

abasourdir

The French word for today is abasourdir. It means to be stunned, shocked, amazed.  Is it related to sourd, deaf, as if it might mean, "struck deaf (with amazement)"?  It seems not to be.
  • Après y avoir pensé un peu, la jeune fille murmure: «Oui, j’aimerais être immensément riche». A l'instant même, sa chaise se change en or massif. Elle est abasourdie
After thinking about it for a moment, the young girl murmured, "Yes, I would like to be immensely rich." At that instant, her chair was transformed into solid gold.  She was stunned.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000

le cabri

The word for today is le cabri, meaning a young goat, a kid.

This word is found in St. Georges Brassens' amazing song, "Il suffit de passer le pont."

L'herbe est douce à Pâques fleuries
Jetons mes sabots, tes galoches
Et, légers comme des cabris
Courons après les sons de cloches

The grass is soft at Easter in full bloom. Let's toss off my rough clogs and your leather ones, and, light-footed as young goats, run after the sound of the bells.

Beautiful.

Monday, January 3, 2000

la cuillère

The word of the day is la cuillère.  It means spoon.  Is it related to cuire, to cook?  Yes, from a root that is also related to a word meaning snail.  It is a feminine word, because there is nothing more feminine than ladling up a family's dinner with a spoon.
  • Utiliser une cuillère pour donner une dose de sirop à un enfant peut être dangereux.
Using a spoon to give liquid medicine to children could be dangerous.

Sunday, January 2, 2000

horripilant

The word of the day is horripilant. While it looks as though it means horrifying, it does not. It means exasperating, aggravating, irritating.
  • Il n'y a rien de plus horripilant que d'essayer d'obtenir des informations vitales d'un Turc qui ne parle pas avec ses mains ; les mots coulent vers vous, vos oreilles se désespèrent de tant de non-compréhension, sans qu'il lui vienne à l'esprit que quelques gestes suffiraient.
There is nothing more exasperating than trying to get information from a Turk who does not use gestures while speaking; the words flow toward you, your ears despair from non-comprehension, without the idea ever coming to him that a few gestures would suffice.

Saturday, January 1, 2000

bonjour!

The word of the day is bonjour.

Literally the words for good (bon) and day (le jour) together, it means "good day" or "hello."
  • Êtes-vous le professeur de mon fils Georges?  Bonjour, ravi de vous rencontrer.
Are you my son Georges' teacher?  Hello, pleased to meet you.