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Le mot de la semaine: Le bac


Mot de la semaine : le bac

June is the month in France when many students stress over « le bac », the common term for « le baccalauréat », the state examination that concludes their secondary studies. This year there has been a scandal concerning leaks of the exam questions in several disciplines.  Students are obviously dreading they might have to  «passer le bac» all over again. Please note: «passer le bac»  means to “sit the exam”.  “Passing the exam” is to «réussir au bac», after which you become a «bachelier(ère)».

The second « bac » is one that is disappearing slowly, almost to the point of extinction. It is the name of the flat, pontoon like boat or raft, powered these days by a small outboard that ferries cars and people from one side of a river to the other when there is no bridge.    «Le passeur » is the person who mans  « le bac ».

«  le bac » also has the meaning of a recipient, container, box or vat.  «  un bac à laver » is a wash tub, «  un bac à glace » is an ice cube tray, «un bac à légumes» the vege drawer in your fridge  and in Belgium, «  un bac à ordures » is a rubbish bin.