Word of the Week: ‘faire carton plein’

The 70th Cannes International Film Festival finished last night, with Swedish film The Square clinching the top prize, the Palme d’Or. 

In honour of Cannes, I’ve chosen a (vaguely) film-related mot de la semaine: ‘faire carton plein’. 

Word of the Week:

Faire carton plein. 

How to pronounce it:

Fair kahr-tohn plahn (the ‘n’ at the end of ‘carton’ and ‘plein’ is barely pronounced for both words). 

What it means in English:

To be a huge success. 

Where does it come from?

Wiktionary suggests that ‘faire carton plein’ was originally used to refer to an occasion during the game of Loto (the French version of bingo) when someone’s numbers match all of the numbers called out in the game. 

How to use it in a sentence:

‘Le film The Square a fait carton plein à Cannes en mai 2017.’ 

English translation:

‘The film The Square was a huge success at Cannes in May 2017.’

Director Ruben Östlund accepting the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival in 2017 for his film The Square

Similar words:

Faire un carton = To be a success (less strong than ‘faire carton plein’. This literally means: ‘to do a card’.)

Avoir un succès fou = To be wildly successful (literally: ‘to have a crazy success’)

Carton plein pour… = To hit the bull’s eye/to be successful (literally: ‘full card for…’)

Connaître un énorme succès = To be a huge success (literally: ‘to know an enormous success’)

Être couronné/couronnée de succès = To be extremely successful (literally: ‘to be crowned with success). 

How about you? What are your favourite French words? 

And what do you think of ‘faire carton plein’?


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