French Language Blog

French Painting Vocabulary Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in Vocabulary

It’s been abnormally cold in the northeast United States over the past few weeks, with temperatures dipping below zero. It’s been so cold, in fact, that I’ve just wanted to hibernate inside.

Courtesy of Pixabay.

But cold temperatures also provide good opportunities for getting things done inside the house. And, so, my family and I have taken these frigid past weeks to … paint almost every room in our house. It was a big task, but one that I’m glad is finally done.

In French, the verb for “paint” is peindre. Like in English, peindre can refer to artistic painting (For example: Matisse a peint souvent des paysages et des natures mortes; Matisse often painted landscapes and still lives.) or to more functional painting (For example: Je vais peindre la salle de bain; I’m going to paint the bathroom.).

You can use several kinds of paints, depending on what you are painting. To paint the inside walls of our house, we used a latex paint (peinture aux latex), but you might also use acrylic paint (peinture à l’acrylique) or maybe even oil paint (peinture à l’huile) or watercolors (l’aquarelle) if you’re making a painting (peinture or tableau). 

Of course, to paint you need to use a brush (un pinceau) or maybe a roller (un rouleau à peinture). If you’re like me, you might get a couple of drops of paint where it shouldn’t be, and then you would need to use a paint scrapper (un grattoir). You might also need to put on several coats of paint (les couches de peinture)—we needed three!

If you’re using paint for more artistic purposes, you might also need a canvas (une toile) and an easel (un chevalet).

See how some of the vocabulary words above are used in the passage below:

J’ai détésté la coleur sur les murs de la maison. Alors j’ai décidé de tout peindre. D’abord j’ai pris un pinceau pour faire la moulure. Puis j’ai utilisé un rouleau à peinture pour peindre les grandes surfaces. Bien qu’il puisse paraître simple, il a pris comme même toute la journée!

(I hated the color of the walls in the house. So I decided to paint them all. First, I took a brush to pain the moldings. Then I used a roller to paint the large areas. Although it might seem simple, it still took the whole day!)

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About the Author: Elizabeth Schmermund

Bonjour tout le monde! I'm a freelance writer, doctoral student, mom, and Francophile. I'm excited to share some of my experiences living in France, as well as the cultural nuances that I've learned being married to a Frenchman, with all of you. To find out more about me, feel free to check out my website at A la prochaine!