7 French expressions you may hear when it's hot

Summer has just started, and as this week is set to be very hot in France, here are seven French expressions you may find useful…

24 June 2020
By Selma Daddi

1/ Soleil de plomb (literally sun of lead)

It means it is really hot – the sun is as heavy as lead. The English equivalent might be ‘blazing sun’.

2/ Cagnard (sun)

This is a colloquial term for sun. You often hear it said that someone or something is ‘en plein cagnard’, meaning they are in direct sun.

3/ Ça tape (it hits)

This means that the heat is very strong – it literally hits you.

4/ Être en nage (to be swimming)

This means to be very sweaty. The expression used to be être à nage but has evolved to en nage – referring to the fact that swimming, obviously, makes you wet.

5/ Faire la crêpe au soleil (to do the crepe)

This means to lie in the sun in order to tan. It is often used when you go to the beach.

6/ Se (faire) dorer la pilule (to brown one’s pill)

Another expression to mean to stay in the sun in order to tan. The original expression is dorer la pilule which meant to sugar the pill. Then the expression under its pronominal form appeared in the 20th century and meant to believe in something that does not exist. The meaning changed for basking in the sun in the eighties. Some claim that it is a mix between dorer la pilule and se dorer au soleil (to tan).

7/ L’été indien (Indian summer)

Just as in English, this is used to describe a warm spell of weather in autumn, especially in October and November.

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