Aujourd'hui nous sommes le lundi 10 août 2020. C'est la fête de Saint Laurent !


Home » Word of the week » Le mot de la semaine: ampoule

Le mot de la semaine: ampoule


Word of the Week:    ampoule  (f)

You'll never be in the dark with these Chanel Light Bulb Heels, sequined goat skin sandals with a light bulb that actually works, but, if you are unlucky, you might just be able to link two of the meanings of this week’s word of the week. 

The most common usage of « ampoule » is for that of a light bulb, even the electronic tube kind.  Its full title is the « ampoule électrique » and when « l’ampoule est grillée, il faut la changer. »

The original and still current meaning of « ampoule » was a phial. « La saint ampoule » contained the consecrated oil that was used for the annointment of the Kings of France (but I don’t know what happened to that).

We are more likely to encounter the medical phials. Liquid medicine in a predetermined dosage is contained in a closed glass tube with “saw-then-snap” ends and doctors may still advise to « Prendre une ampoule matin et soir ».

« ampoule » is used for the bulb of a thermometer and also for the container of a vacuum flask therefore  we can see the word has the idea of a closed “container”.

This links us back to our shoes.  If you walk too far in new shoes, you will find an “enclosed area containing liquid” on your heels or feet.   You have a blister and the French word for blister is « ampoule »   You can have « des ampoules aux pieds ou aux mains ».

PS:  In case you are interested, the sophisticated, techy,  luxe flashlight for your feet design above will cost you around $2,200.

PLUS a note of warning.  If ever you are buying tulip and freesia bulbs in France in a desire to emulate the Kerkenhof Gardens, DO NOT ask for « ampoules ».  The word for the garden variety is the very easy to remember « bulbe ».