Le coût de la vie a plafonné.
luh kood lah vee ah plaa-fuh-NAY. Click below to hear this.*
The cost of living has topped out.
Before you decide that I am completely loopy, let me say that this statement is patently false, that I know that, and that I even hold certain political opinions as to which candidate is likely to make things worse for us. All of that, however, is irrelevant.
The point is that plafonner is a cool and useful verb. It means to hit the ceiling, but not in the sense of blowing one’s top–that’s a completely different expression and topic.
Since le plafond is the ceiling, plafonner can mean either to build a ceiling or to reach a maximum.
If you dissect the word into its origins, you will find that it means flat (plat) bottom (fond). So how did the bottom get on top?
Easy. Take a cooking pot and peer inside. That surface you’re about to drizzle cooking oil onto is le fond. Now (before you pour in the oil, please), hold your fist in the air and turn the pot upside down on it. The part that your fist is touching is still le fond, even though it is now facing downwards and the sides of the pot are below it. When you make a plafond, it probably means (or meant originally) that you are making a flat cover for the joists that hold up the roof overhead.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: