Macron's delicious choice of words lost in translation

President sets internet tongues wagging with description of wife of Australian Prime Minister

3 May 2018
By Connexion journalist

President Emmanuel Macron caused something of a stir this week when he described the wife of the Australian Prime Minister as "delicious" during a visit to the country.

“I want to thank you for your welcome,” Mr Macron said to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the end of a joint press conference in Sydney on Wednesday. “Thank you and your delicious wife for your warm welcome.”

The comment set tongues wagging in Australia and - thanks to the internet - beyond, but some have pointed out that the French délicieux can also be used to mean 'lovely' or 'delightful'.

Language expert Camille Chevalier Karfis, of French Today, said: "Délicieux (feminine "délicieuse") is mostly used to describe food.

"It can however mean "lovely" or "delightful" but it is quite sophisticated and seldom used that way nowadays - Nous avons passé une soirée délicieuse means we had a delightful evening."

Although a rather antiquated use of the word, she said that Mr Macron, of all people, would be aware of the meaning. "It's not at all surprising from President Macron, whose mastery of the French language is indeed délicieuse."

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
Brexit and Beyond for Britons in France*
Featured Help Guide
What the Brexit deal means for UK residents of France, second homeowners and visitors in 2021 and after
Get news, views and information from France