Beauty is in the eye of the speaker: Beautiful French verbs

Beauty is not a linguistic concept, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have some favorite verbs.

Cloître du prieuré Saint-Michel de Grandmont, Saint-Privat, Hérault, France
Cloister of Saint-Michel de Grandmont, Saint-Privat, Hérault, France. Picture source: By Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0,

As we saw in a recent post, beauty is not a linguistic concept.  Linguistics is about the scientific study of language, and science doesn’t have a concept of beauty, at least not for its objects of study (as opposed to, say, a really nice proof).  So, if I say that Brazilian Portuguese has the most beautiful consonnes fricatives (fricative consonants), I’m speaking as a civilian (or “normal person,” as we linguists call the rest of you), not in my official capacity.

Having gotten that disclaimer out of the way, you’ll find below a list of people’s thoughts about the most beautiful French verbs.  There aren’t a lot of repeats on this list (unlike a similar list of nouns that I saw the other day), so I’ll just pass it on without much comment, and add some of my favorite French verbs or verbal expressions to use:

  • rester cloîtré dans mon appartement: to stay shut up in my apartment–literally, to stay cloistered.
  • haussmanniser: to Haussmannize.
  • podcaster: to download a podcast, to listen to by podcast.  (In other words: the opposite of the English meaning, although if you look it up on,you’ll see some translations with the English meaning, too.  I’ve only heard it with the opposite of the English meaning, though.)
  • retweeter: to retweet.
  • chunker: to break down into analyzable units.  This is a technical term in language processing, where the usual English verb is “to chunk.”

Here’s the list, from Quora:


15 thoughts on “Beauty is in the eye of the speaker: Beautiful French verbs”

  1. I like Haussmanizer, As I read French interiors magazines for ideas, I sometimes see other architectural design or decorative styles turned into a verb. I like this underlining of the language as “live”.
    Incidentally, I put forth a new verb to describe the work so far on our French house ….” Hoveller”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, ME,

    I’ll give you the best information that I can find on this. Let me start by saying that I hear this verb on “Les Matins de France Culture” most mornings, and they use it in the context of saying that you can go to their web site to “télécharger et podcaster” the show.

    I went to the web site, which is really good for finding examples of words in context. I set the directionality option to French -> English and entered podcaster, and got one option–a noun. Oh–it won’t let me insert a screen shot in the comments, so I’m going to update the post to show you what it looks like. Hang on…

    Liked by 1 person

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