French word of the day: Déconfiner

French word of the day: Déconfiner
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
You might not know it, but this is what you are yearning for right now.

Why do I need to know déconfiner?

Because, if you live in French-speaking Switzerland – or somewhere else with a coronavirus lockdown – you're probably dreaming about this right now.

What does it mean?

Déconfiner comes from the verb se déconfiner, which refers to sortir d’une situation de confinement – 'exiting a confinement situation'.

Four weeks in, the struggle is real. Not only have the rules got stricter than they originally were – but many Swiss people are confined within extremely small spaces.

By now, most people will have begun to fantasise about D-day – the day we begin to nous déconfiner, or the day we begin the déconfinement.

Noun vs. verb

Se déconfiner is a verb and déconfinement a noun.

You can use both, but in different ways.

Nous attendons avec impatience le jour où nous commençons de se déconfiner – We're all keenly awaiting the day where we begin to unwind the lockdown. 

Nous attendons avec impatience le jour où commence le déconfinement. – We're all keenly awaiting the day when we begin the unwinding of the lockdown.

Bientôt déconfinement ?

One France Info journalist did not quite manage to disguise his disappointment one morning when, during an interview with the top Scientific Council that recommends the government on the next coronavirus steps, he was told something like le déconfinement doit attendre encore des semaines – the process of unwinding the confinement won't happen for weeks yet.


Let’s face it, spending extra time at home with our loved ones is a gift, but it was pretty wonderful when we didn’t have to see them every single minute of every single day.

However – as the cartoon below published in the French daily Libération kindly reminded us – scientist warn that se déconfiner prematurely could have disastrous consequences, potentially creating a second wave of serious coronavirus cases.




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