Elle est frileuse.
el lay free-LUHZ. Click below to hear this!
She is sensitive to cold.
Little (and big) Francophone children are hardly exempt from the well-known “Your mother is cold; put on a sweater!”
Of course, their French-speaking father is more likely to phrase it a little differently: Ta mère a froid; mets-toi un sweater!
But there’s one thing that the little Anglophones won’t hear, and that’s because there’s no single English word for it. Elle est frileuse means She is sensitive to the cold. it has nothing top do with catching a cold; it has to do with feeling chilly at the slightest puff of breeze, shivering the moment evening begins to fall, refusing to go anywhere without a sweater in tow.
That’s my mother, and along with her, nearly every other person in their 80s or 90s. It’s my friend Françoise’s father. (Of course, he has to say, Je suis frileux.) It’s lots of people, only some of whom will admit it. They’re the ones who se mettent en bras de chemise and shorts even when it’s starting to snow. That’s when I say, Ils sont fous, ces Romains!
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