Word of the Week: ‘quinquennat’

Now that Emmanuel Macron has been elected the new president of France (and moved into the Élysée Palace in Paris), time for yet another presidential-themed mot de la semaine! 🇫🇷

(In other news, have a watch of these hilarious parodies of Macron – and Le Pen – from the satirical TV show Les Guignols. It’s the French answer to Spitting Image in Britain or Saturday Night Live in America). 


Word of the Week:

Quinquennat. 

How to pronounce it:

Kaahn-ken-ah. 

(The ‘n’ at the end of the ‘quin’ – the first syllable of the word – is a very nasal-sounding consonant that is silent and barely heard at all). 

What it means in English:

Literally meaning ‘a period of five years’, the word is now mostly used to describe the five-year term that French presidents hold in office after being elected. 

In 2002, the length of the term was decreased to five years, after originally being seven years. 

Where does it come from?

It has origins in the Latin word ‘quinquennatus’, which is itself related to the words ‘quinque’ (‘five’) and ‘annus’ (‘year’). 

How to use it in a sentence:

‘Une des priorités du début du quinquennat du président Macron sera l’éducation.’

English translation:

One of the priorities for President Macron at the beginning of his five-year term will be education. 


Similar words:

Un mandat = Mandate. 

Le septennat = Original seven-year term served by French presidents in office. (Related words include ‘le biennat’ – a two-year term – as well as ‘le triennat’ and ‘le quadriennat’, among others). 

Le chef d’État = The Head of State. (The French president, like in other countries which hold presidential elections, is the country’s official Head of State). 

L’état de grâce = State of grace/honeymoon period. (French newspapers had reported that there would be none of this for the newly elected Macron, however some claim that he’s now able to benefit from a settling-in period). 

La Première Dame = The First Lady. Macron had said that he intends to give his wife Brigitte Trogneux, a former teacher, an official role in his government comparable to that of the First Lady in the United States, where presidential spouses are often involved in choosing campaigns or causes to promote and support. 

La cohabitation = A coalition government. 

 
How about you – what are your favourite French words? 

And what are your thoughts on France’s newest (and youngest ever) president?

For more French language-related posts, click here

And as always, bonne semaine à tous! 🙂 


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