Il fait une petite déprime.

Il fait une petite déprime.

eel fay ewn puh-teet day-PREEM. Click below to hear this.

He’s kind of depressed.

Actually, my Petit Robert (my now-ancient dictionary, published in 1996) suggests that this sentence means He is having a nervous breakdown.

Even though the French are known for understatement, in my mind there is a serious disconnect between a nervous breakdown and une petite déprime.

Worse than le cafard (see this Spk Frnch post), la déprime is nevertheless not enough to land you in a mental hospital. It’s just a patch of depression, pure and simple.

Une dépression can be anything from a small pothole in the road (literally) to that nervous breakdown. But the verb that goes with it is déprimer, not “dépresser”, which isn’t a real word. So the slang word for depression in French is built on the real verb.

Of course, you should continue to avoid those potholes. What a big one can do to your car can cause a real déprime.

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