For members


French Word of the Day: Déclic

Originally a technical term from the world of mechanics, this word has now expanded to have a variety of more philosophical meanings.

French Word of the Day: Déclic
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know déclic? 

Because sometimes it is important to switch things up in your life.

What does it mean? 

A déclic, pronounced “day-kleek”, has multiple meanings. 

In a literal sense, it is used in the field of mechanics to talk about a “switch” that triggers a machine into action or stops it from working altogether (a “kill switch”).

In a similar vein, a déclic is used to talk describe the sound that such a switch might make. 

But the word is more often used in a metaphorical sense to signify a “wake-up call”, “pivotal change” or sudden boost in momentum. 

In this sense, you would use it like this:

La naissance de ma fille a été un déclic – The birth of my daughter was a wake-up call

Rien de plus beau que les gens inspirants pour donner le déclic aux autres – There is nothing more beautiful than inspirational people pushing others forward 

Comment avoir le déclic pour changer ta vie? – How can you reach the turning point to change your life?

Rencontrer des malades peut tout de même créer le déclic – Meeting sick people can be a wake-up call

L’équipe espère avoir un déclic – The team hopes to have a boost

Related terms 

Comprendre soudainement – to suddenly understand

Avoir une révélation – to have an epiphany 

Prise de conscience –  the act of becoming aware 

Déclencher – to trigger 

Provoquer – to provoke 

Member comments

  1. I am wondering whether there is an easy way to find a link to an extended stay visa? I have tried and but nothing. I’d be garteful to know if anyone else has managed to get one. We do not want/need to have such a little time at our French hideaway! Thanks. Jenny x

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For members


French Expression of the Day: De bonne heure

Surprisingly, this French phrase does not mean ‘on time’.

French Expression of the Day:  De bonne heure

Why do I need to know de bonne heure?

Because someone might tell you to arrive at this time, and you’ll want to know what they mean.

What does it mean?

De bonne heure – usually pronounced “duh bohn urr” – literally translates to “the good hour,” which you might think would mean “to be on time.” However, in practice, the phrase actually means to be early or to be in advance. The most common French synonym of this phrase would simply be “tôt” which means early.

It can also be used to describe something that happens early in the morning or early in the day more generally. 

Interestingly enough, when the phrase started being used in the 14th century, it did mean to be on time, but its meaning shifted over time, the reason for which remains unclear. 

Up for a pun? Say this phrase three times fast to feel happy (if you didn’t get the joke, it’s because bonne heure sounds like bonheur, French for happiness).

Use it like this

Nous avons commencé la réunion de bonne heure, vers 7h30, avant l’ouverture des marchés boursiers. – We started the meeting early, around 7:30am, before the markets opened.

Je n’avais même pas encore commencé à cuisiner quand il est arrivé de bonne heure. Je n’étais pas préparée à le recevoir. – I hadn’t even started cooking when he arrived early. I wasn’t ready to have him over.