Skip to Content

Été Meaning & Translation – Summer, was, have been in French

Été Meaning & Translation – Summer, was, have been in French

In today’s lesson we’ll have a look at the French word été. This word has several meanings. One translation of été is “summer”. Été is also the past participle for the verb être (to be). Hence, j’ai été translates to “I was” or “I have been”. Towards the end of the post we have a fun example sentence which uses both meanings of the word. Keep reading!


summer, was, have been

Été (French) meaning: summer, was, have been

Word origin

According to, The French word été (summer) comes from esté in old French, which in turn comes from aestas in Latin. As for the past participle of the verb être (to be), été comes from the Old French esté, which in turn came from the Latin verb stare (to remain standing).

Être passé composé

The following are the translations of été as it appears in the passé composé of être (to be). This lesson on our site explains the passé composé, a commonly used French past tense.

J’ai été I was, I have been
Tu as été You were, you have been (singular, informal)
Il, elle a été He, she was, has been
Nous avons été We were, have been
Vous avez été You were, have been (plural, formal)
Ils, elles ont été They were, have been

Example sentences

For these first two sentences, été translates to “summer”. “Les Jeux” refers to les Jeux olympiques (the Olympic Games).

Préférez-vous regarder les Jeux d’été ou les Jeux d’hiver ?

Do you prefer to watch the Winter Games or the Summer Games?

This example sentence makes use of the masculine noun projet, which translates to both “plan” and “project”.

Quels sont vos projets pour l’été prochain ?

What are your plans for next summer?

This next sentence is in the passé composé because the time of the past event is being specified: hier (yesterday). J’étais also means “I was”. This is in the imperfect tense (l’imparfait) and is used for past events which occur at unspecified times. This lesson on our site covers the verb rester (to stay) and this lesson covers the preposition chez (at the home of).

Je n’ai pas été à l’école hier. Je suis resté chez moi.

I wasn’t at school yesterday. I stayed home.

This final example sentence uses both meanings of été: summer and was. The verb pourrir means “to rot” and one translation of the related adjective, pourri, is “lousy”. This lesson on our site covers an vs. année, the two words for “year” in French.

Cette année l’été a été pourri.

The summer was lousy this year.


Et voilà ! Now you know how to use é (summer, was, have been) in French! Now check out our lesson covering the related word soit, which also means “be” and is the subjunctive form of être. We also suggest checking out French Today’s post covering the conjugation of être. In this post, native speaker and Parisian, Camille, guides you through ten useful tenses and includes 450+ audio files!

"Été" means "summer" in French. It also means "was" and "have been".
“Été” means “summer” in French. It also means “was” and “have been”.

Sharing is caring!

Affiliate disclosure: Below you will find affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To learn more please visit our full disclosure page. Merci!

Sign up to download your free trial of À Moi Paris a French course which I recommend to my personal students to help with pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. After that, upgrade for access to 77 hours of audio lessons.

Read our full review of À Moi Paris and find out why we love it so much!

Are you struggling with French verb conjugations? Then we highly recommend French Today's French Verb Drills course. Get over 28 hours of audio exercises to build reflexes and dramatically improve your French level and confidence.

Read our full review of French Verb Drills and find out why we recommend this course!

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.

See all posts by