Cloué ou clouté?

Cloué ou clouté?

kloo-WAY oo kloo-TAY? Click below to hear this pronounced.

Nailed or nailed?

Come again?

The other day we saw a phrase using cloué, and we said it means nailed. And so it does. That’s the normal past tense for the verb clouer, to nail. Another expression using the same verb is être cloué(e) au lit, literally to be nailed to the bed–it sounds horrific, but it just means to be stuck in bed (as when you are sick, and just can’t manage to get up).

But clouer also has a variant form, used when the nails in question are big, fearsome-looking things. For example, les souliers cloutés are hobnailed boots or shoes.

And in France, pedestrian crosswalks are marked by large round iron studs in the streets, called clous. So the crosswalk itself is called le passage clouté, and good pedestrian behavior is called traverser dans les clous, to cross inside the “nails”. The alternative form is never used as a verb, only as an adjective.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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