Top 12 French words that are used in a single expression, les rémi sans famille…

Hello my little farandoles. As you know, the French language is full of funny discoveries and other unusual discoveries. Today we take a closer look at the expressions that have the good taste to wedge a little word often from old French and that we will not find anywhere else. You’ll see it’s almost as hilarious as it is twisting.

To the extent that

We use this expression all the time and yet I challenge you to use the word “fur” in another context. Indeed “fur” comes from ancient “forum” so the commercial function gave the meaning of “business that is done in the market”. In old French we therefore said “fuer” for “price, rate”. Subsequently the expression “in the fur of” gave the meaning “in proportion to” closer to its contemporary acceptance.

The funny thing is that by adding “and to measure” we made it a redundant expression even if today no one knows the original meaning of “fur”.

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “They got married and gradually had many children”.

For inside

Believe it or not, but the forum and the fur have the same distant etymology: “forum”. If you remember correctly (and I hope you remember correctly because that was the point just above), “fur” comes from the more commercial aspect of the ancient forum while “for” originates from the ‘legal aspect.

In the 17th century, the “outer forum” (no longer used at all today) thus designated an ecclesiastical court. The interior forum rather designated the individual conscience (as opposed to the exterior judgment of the tribunal).

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “At the beach, I like to build indoor castles, how about you? »

more or less

Vestige of the old French “prou” which meant “a lot”, it is only in this obsolete expression that we can still come across it today.

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “I ate too much sauerkraut this afternoon, I’m going to have a little or nothing digestion”

Behind closed doors

Just like “prou”, we have certainly forgotten the old French “huis” which meant “door”. But admit that we speak less often of “unhinging a camera” these days. On the other hand, you will notice the proximity with the word “bailiff” since it designates the fdp who breaks your door to steal stuff from you legally. In camera therefore comes down to talking about a place with a closed door. At one time we even said “in camera” to say “obviously” but no one today uses this expression so leave it concrete (moreover no one says “leave it concrete” anymore).

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “Exhausted in my bed, I quietly let my eyes close behind closed doors”

Top 12 French words that are used in a single


Old adverb that we will only come across in this expression used on a daily basis and which has NOTHING TO SEE with the “huis” encountered earlier. What’s funny is that “hui” means “this very day”. So today it’s a bit of a way of saying “on this very day”. So the unbearable people who say “today” is a bit like saying “to day of this very day”. In other words, it’s completely stupid.

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “Hello, a Coke a large fries and one today please”


In old French “ores” meant “now”, this is also what gave the word “from now on” (contraction of “d’ore en avant”) or “now” (contraction of “dés ore mais”) .

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: ” – Good morning, how are you doing ? – Already. – Oh. »

In catimini

STOP TOUUUUUUUT you go hallu slip. Imagine a world where the word “sneak” comes from the rules. Ragnanas. Poppies.

We’ll explain everything to you: in the 14th century, the expression “going on the sly” was used to say that we act in secret (a form that has more or less remained with us to this day). But “catimini” would come from the Greek “katamênia” which means, I give it to you in a thousand: menstruation. The link maintained with the meaning of hiding would come from the taboo around the rules that must be kept hidden. Another hypothesis would associate the term with the cat and its stealthy way of acting, but I prefer the ragnouttes hypothesis.

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “I put on a sly mini-skirt but my tights are spun, which plunges me into disarray”

Top 12 French words that are used in a single

A tire-larigot

As much as you can pull the rope or pull a sock stuck in the washing machine, the less you laugh. And for good reason, tell yourself that the expression would quite simply come from a drinking song dating from the 15th century.

“Boire à tire-larigot” then refers to the fact of “drinking in one gulp” (this is then what “draw” means). Larigot could refer to the flute (in German) or to La Rigaud, the bell of Rouen cathedral weighing more than 10 tons and whose ringers needed to gurgle to give heart to the work.

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “I ate larigot again this morning for breakfast, it stuck in my stomach”

And if you want to discover other expressions that come from the world of booze, I can only recommend this book of superior quality and revolting humor (I’m not saying that because I’m one of the authors) :

In the good frank

It may seem common in our naive mouths, the franquette only appears in this expression which has not lost its bite. We said in the 17th century “à la franquette” to talk about frankness (too bad we don’t use it like that anymore today, but hey). Eventually, the meaning of the expression rather took the path of simplicity and “no chi-chi”.

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “I’m going to be candid with you, I don’t like your blanquette at all. »


We do not suspect how much our expressions come from military jargon. From the Italian “ciamada”, the word then refers to “clamor” or more precisely the battery of drums by which the besieged announced that they were surrendering. Ultimately, pounding means giving up.

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “Have you seen Pierre Chamade’s last show? I love this comedian. »

Hunting with hounds

“WHAAAAT but where is “running” not a word we use apart from the expression “hunting”? » are you certainly telling yourself. Well, in a way, you’re right to be taken aback (which doesn’t mean at all that we’re swapping rags) because “run” is indeed the old version of “run”.

Be careful, not “run” but “run”, an infinitive verb which meant “to pursue a deer” and whose term remained only in this typical expression of venery (nothing to do with the science of people who worship, ” venery” is another way of talking about hunting with hounds).

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “Who forgot to hunt again? It’s everywhere, it’s disgusting! »

To the great displeasure

When the word “dam” appears in the Oaths of Strasbourg in 842 it means “prejudice” (from which we also derive “damnation”, “condemned”, or even “damage”) but from now on it will only be found in this expression.

A not-at-all-good way to use this expression: “I’m going to see a fashion show andiré the top model girls only to the chagrin of my word”

Go kisses and before we part, I highly recommend this wonderful book by Alain Rey, from which this top is 99% inspired, you will see you will know a lot about the French language (moreover you will discover that “to know a ray” does not necessarily mean what you think):

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