French Lessons: Il m’a posé un lapin

Rendezvous has long been one of my favorite French words as it can apply to a “meeting” of any sorts, from a visit to the dentist to a hot date. Il m’a posé un lapin is a phrase that makes me laugh. Literally “to put down a rabbit” is the French way of saying “he stood me up.” I’m still not sure how un lapin – a rabbit – has anything to do regarding human relations, so if you have any insights, please share them in the comments.

French Lessons is an ongoing series where I teach you French words while beefing up my Illustrator skills.


  • While latin “cuniculus” = rabbit = french “lapin”, became spanish “conejo”, as well as latin “speculum” = mirror = french “glace” , “miroir” became spanish “espejo”; some people say that the latin word was formed (is it true?) from latin “cunnus” = vulva, in the same fashion as in anglospeaking countries they say “beaver” or “pussy” and some spanish speaking say “zorra” = “she fox”. Some people say rabbits were not known in Rome and east of Mediterranean Rome while Spain had plenty ot them and “Hispania” would mean “land of rabbits” (from phénician word “span”). Portuguese say “coelho”, like the writer, Catalan, “conill”, Occitan “conilh”, Italian “coniglio”, German “kaninchen”, Serbocroatian “kunic”, Dutch “konijn”, norvegian “kanin” ,irish gaelic “cainín”, welsh “cwningen”. Why english say “rabbit”, differently as always, is a mistery for me.
    French decided at a stage to abandon the word “connin”considered to be obscene and “joky”, and chosed “lapin” from latin “laporellus” = leveret = baby hare. This allowed them to use expeessions like “Je t´aime ,lapin”, “Ne reviens pas tard mon lapin” = “I love you, dear”, “Do not get late, dear” (“lapin” = “chéri”); while in sapanish the word “conejo” is seldom used as a love and tender epithet.
    I never studied latin or greek, but maths, and the consequence of it is i do not know math and i do not know latin and had to google to get all this information, 50 % of it i did not know before. For languages sake. And now, “je file à l´anglaise” which i believe could be generalized to: “je file à l´américaine”; bye.

  • Anne, the sounds of your silence are strident; i allow you to talk to me, as we usually do in this oldish and tired Europe -you know i am a spaniard and live in the very noble and very loyal villa of Bilbao. Though i am a poor lonesome cowboy and a far way real home, i need some feedback; words are frequently sweet enough through the harsh times, do not let me be appearing a fool talking alone on the Internet hill; for words, when really felt, should not be left to the random and capricious windy wild waste, day after day.

  • Robin,

    Please realize that I appreciate all the time people take to read my blog and write comments. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day and I must work to make a living too, so I can’t respond to every comment. In fact, it’s much easier to catch me on Twitter (@pretavoyager), where 140 characters is more my style.


  • Nice music, Robin :)

    I also have to admit I didn’t do a good job setting up my blog because when I receive comment alerts they are not tied to the same account where I can respond to them. Hoping to update my blog soon to help that. Live and learn.


  • have you any time try to catch or just to see a rabbit. In general this animal run very quickly out of your way. Just leave you watch his little white tail. So cut.

  • We have the word cony [otherwise coney] in English [yes a bit archaic] which came from the Old French as did the word rabbit, apparently. There is a French dialect word for a little rabbit…rabotte.
    Isn’t the cony word in use in the US?
    The King James Bible has ‘conies’ [Proverbs 30 v26]
    [See OED in its various forms for references]

  • July 10, 2020 at 7:48 pm // Reply

    When the Dutch first settled Brooklyn found a small island home to many rabbits they named it Coney Island.

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