Word of the Week: ‘ouistiti’ 

Yep, I know I say it (almost) every week, but this week, it’s a cracker – one of my all-time favourite French words 👍👍

Have a look here for more Words of the Week! 🙂 
Word of the Week:

Ouistiti. 

How to pronounce it:

Oo-ee-stee-stee. 


What it means in English:

Depending on the context, it can either mean ‘marmoset’ (à la the little monkeys in the photo above that only seem to have two settings in their facial expression repertoire: ridiculously cute or absolutely terrifying), or ‘cheese’ (the one you say when you’re having photos taken… or whipping out your phone for a selfie on the sly). 

Why not try out saying ‘ouistiti’ instead of ‘cheese’ when you’re getting ready for your next selfie/photo session?


Where does it come from?

According to CNRTL and Wiktionary, the word comes from the sound made by marmosets. 

The French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc visited their habitat in the eighteenth century, and observed that they ‘were no more than half a foot in length’ and that their markings consisted of ‘rings that were alternately in black and white’. 

When Leclerc heard the monkeys, he thought that the noise they made sounded like ‘ouistiti’. And the name’s stuck ever since. 


How to use it in a sentence:

“Allez, on va prendre une photo – ouistiti!

“J’ai vu des ouistitis au zoo hier.”

English translation:

“Let’s have a photo – cheese!”

“I saw marmosets at the zoo yesterday.”

Cheeeeese! 🐶

Similar words:

Un lémurien = Lemur 

Un loris = Slow loris 

Un galago = Bush baby 

Un paresseux = Sloth 

Un mammifère = Mammal 

Un singe = Monkey 


Hope you enjoyed this week’s Word of the Week post! 🙂

How about you, what are your favourite French words? Let me know, and you could have your word featured very soon on the blog! 

À la prochaine, mes amis! 

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