Belittle in French
Verb rabaisser: to belittle

The French verb rabaisser means "to denigrate" but is usually used in a colloquial context. What's more, the verb "denigrate" already exists in French (dénigrer) and is much more formal. Thus, the correct translations for the French verb rabaisser would be "to belittle, talk down or trash out". Here are some examples:

  • Il est tellement arrogant qu'il se croit toujours au-dessus des autres et les rabaisse sans arrêt.
    He's so arrogant that he believes he's always better than the others and doesn't stop belittling them.
  • Elle ne peut pas s'empêcher de le rabaisser à chaque fois qu'il ouvre la bouche!
    She can't stop trashing him each time he wants to speak.
  • Il ne rate pas une occasion de la rabaisser tant il la déteste.
    He hates her so much that he doesn't miss any opportunity to talk her down.

The French verb rabaisser in context:

Janvier 2008. Sarkozy rabaisse la banlieue. Il les a insultés de "fainéants" et les journalistes s'en félicitent.

Le Président veut leur donner l'opportunité d'avoir un travail et de les y former, précisant qu'ils devaient s'accoutumer à se mettre debout de bonne heure pour gagner leur pain.

Pour résumer, le représentant des français se sert de discours vexants et rabaissants lorsqu'il se réfère aux gens des banlieues. Selon lui, ils seraient tous très paresseux.

Mais le Président s'empresse de passer sous silence le fait que les banlieusards qui travaillent, eux doivent mettre le réveil à sonner de très bonne heure pour ne pas rater le transport public qui les mènera là où ils travaillent, à la différence des dirigeants qui, pour leur part, vivent à très grande proximité de l'Elysée.

Il omet également que même les banlieusards diplômés et bien formés ne peuvent pas obtenir de travail car il n'y en a pas.

English translation:

January 2008. N. Sarkozy belittles the "banlieue" (suburbs where poor people live and where the riots are happening). He said they were "bone idles" and this makes the journalists happy.

The President wants to give them the opportunity to get a job training, and he specified that they had to get used to getting up early to earn their living.

To cut a long story short, French leader is using insulting and belittling speeches when he refers to people living in the suburbs. According to him, they are all very lazy.

But the President quickly forgets to state that of those people who do work have to set their alarm clocks very early in order not to miss the public transport that will take them to their workplace, while the leaders have their accommodation very close to the Elysée.

He also forgets that even people living in the suburbs who have graduated and are well-trained cannot obtain jobs, as there are none.

Vocabulary

  • The media which is a singular in English is always a plural in French.
  • S'apparenter = look like/to be similar to
  • Il saute aux yeux que / ça se voit comme le nez au milieu de la figure que… = it is obvious that…/that's as plain as the nose on your face.

Written and compiled by Charlotte Chateau.

Click here for more words like the French verb RABAISSER.

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French verb to belittle is rabaisser

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