Il commence à faire frisquet.

Il commence à faire frisquet.

eel kuh-mah sah fair free-SKAY. Click below to hear this.*

It’s getting chilly.

Or, more literally, It’s starting to get chilly. Not that it matters; the meaning is the same. The weather is changing, and autumn is on its way!

Except that it’s not. Today, about 96 degrees Fahrenheit at mid-afternoon. That’s not frisquet at all; it’s oppressively hot, and I’m just trying to make myself feel cooler.

Ever notice how some words just seem to sound like what they mean? To me, this is one of them. It sounds crisp and fresh and breezy. I suppose the /fr/ at the beginning recalls the words froid (cold) and frais (cool, fresh). The /s/ hisses menacingly. The /k/ sound in the middle is like the snap and crunch of curled-up autumn leaves under foot. The final /ay/ sound is sharp and narrow, like wind whistling through the cracks. The word probably didn’t start life as an onomatopoeia, but it works like one for me.

It’s an adjective, so you can use it to describe all sorts of things, from winter wind to welcomes, both of which are good to avoid if they are frisquet. The feminine, by the way, is frisquette, as in une brise frisquette (a cool/chilly breeze). Where’s my sweater?

*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:

il_commence_a_faire_frisquet.mp3

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