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faire l’école buissonnière

“Faire l’école buissonnière” is one of my favorite expressions of all time. The literal translation is “to do school in the bushes”. Here are the English meanings:

  • to play hooky
  • to cut classes
  • to play truant (UK)

The image that the idiom gives is kids hiding in the bushes rather than going to school. The word buisson means bush. offers a definition of “going for a walk in the place of going to class” or “flâner”, which means to do nothing.

example sentence:

Quand les étudiants en France font l’école buissonnière ils vont au café. When French students play hooky they go to cafés.

There’s an other great synonymous expression for playing hooky in French:

  • sécher les cours – Literally to dry classes

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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