Word of the Week: ‘Enterrement de vie de jeune fille’ 

I first learned this phrase a few months ago, and have been trying (and failing) to shoehorn it in on the blog somehow ever since. 

And now, dear readers, after going along to my cousin’s hen weekend a couple of weeks ago, I’ve got the perfect excuse 😉

Word of the Week:
Enterrement de vie de jeune fille. 

How to pronounce it:

Ahn-ter-mahn duh vee duh zhuhn fee. 

What it means in English:

It’s often translated into English as ‘hen party’, although it literally means ‘burial’ (or ‘funeral’) ‘of the life of an unmarried woman’. 

In French, ‘jeune fille’ – as well as literally meaning ‘young girl’ – is also used to refer to unmarried women, whilst ‘nom de jeune fille’ is also the French translation of ‘maiden name’. 

Where does it come from?
Wikipedia’s French-language page here suggests that the ‘stag night à la française’ (in other words, ‘un enterrement de vie de célibataire’, or, literally, a ‘funeral of the life of a bachelor’) first started to be used around the eighteenth century. 

However, the female equivalent (‘un enterrement de vie de jeune fille’) only came into use around the 1970s. 

Apparently – also according to French Wikipedia – tradition dictates that the husband-to-be (ie. the stag) gets hold of a coffin and buries it as the stag do draws to a close. 

The coffin, which will often contain things from the stag’s life as a bachelor, is sometimes dug up by the stag and his new wife either after the arrival of their first child or at the end of their first year of married life. 

How to use it in a sentence:

‘Elle a fêté son enterrement de vie de jeune fille la semaine dernière avec ses sœurs et quelques amies proches.’ 
English translation:

‘She celebrated her hen do last week with her sisters and a few close friends.’

Similar words:
Un mariage = A wedding. 

Faire une demande en mariage = To propose. 

Se fiancer avec quelqu’un = To get engaged. 

Une bague de fiançailles = An engagement ring 💍 

Le futur marié = Groom-to-be 👨‍⚖️

La future mariée = Bride-to-be 👰🏻

For more Words of the Week, how about heading over here to the blog’s Language section? 🇫🇷

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