Le trac

An interesting French word I discovered the other day is trac /tʁak/, which means nerves, stage fright or performance anxiety. Some expressions incoporating this word include:

- avoir le trac = to feel nervous; to get an attack of nerves; to have stage fright
- j’ai le trac = I’m nervous; I have butterflies in my stomach*; I have the jitters
- tout à trac = out of the blue

*If people have butterflies in their stomachs when feeling nervous, what do butterflies have?

This word first appeared in writing in 1830 and it’s origins are uncertain. It perhaps comes from the word tracas (anxiety).

Sources: Reverso, Linternaute, CNRTL.

What expressions do you use to describe being nervous or anxious?

Do you suffer from stage-fright / performance anxiety?

I used to be get very nervous when I had to speak or sing in front of others, but now only get nervous before and afterwards – while I’m speaking, singing or playing an instrument I feel calm and enjoy it.

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This entry was posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Words and phrases.

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