Déménager

In French if you want to talk about movement in general you use bouger, but for moving house you use déménager. The other day a friend pointed out that the root of déménager is ménage (housework, housekeeping, household, married couple), as in ménage à trois, from the Old French manage, from manoir (manor, country house), from the Latin manere (manner, fashion, way).

Déménager can also mean to leave, get lost, clear out, to be crazy, and related words include:

– emménager = to move in (to a house)
– un deménageur = furniture mover
– un deménagement = removal, moving
– déménager à la cloche de bois = to sneak off in the middle of the night
– Ça déménage ! = It’s great/brilliant!

As well as déménager, there are a few other French words for movement:

– bouger, remuer = to move (general)
– évoluer = to move (events, politics)
– circuler = to move, circulate (traffic); move along (get out of the way)
– avancer = to move (vehicle), advance, move along/forward
– voyager = to move about (from place to place), travel
– se déplacer = to move about (in a room or house)
– s’éloigner, s’en aller = to move off
– se pousser = to move over

Sources: Reverso, french.about.com, Wiktionary

5 thoughts on “Déménager

  1. To move off? I’ve never heard this expression… not in the USA, anyway. The only way I could figure out what that meant was through the French, which in MY English gets me only as far as “to distance oneself” and/or “to get/move away (from)”. It’s interesting that even from one dialect to another in English you can find more efficient ways of expressing the same ideas.

  2. To move off means to start to move, as in “Make sure you look over your shoulder before you move off.” – the kind of thing a driving instructor would say. It’s often used in the context of vehicles, but can be used with other things such as subjects – “Let’s move off this subject now and talk about something else”.

  3. >> To move off means to start to move, as in “Make sure you look over your shoulder before you move off.” – the kind of thing a driving instructor would say. <<

    In other words, it DOESN'T — in this sense — mean "s'éloigner"! Rather, something more like "démarrer".

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