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C'est cadeau

French expressions analyzed and explained


Expression: C'est cadeau

Pronunciation: [say kah doh]

Meaning: it's free, it's on the house

Literal translation: it's gift

Register: informal

Notes: The French expression c'est cadeau means that something is a gift, but not a personal one. Rather, it's something that a store or restaurant is giving you - what is often redundantly called "a free gift."

Note the lack of an article in c'est cadeau, which has a slightly different meaning than c'est un cadeau. C'est cadeau means that a business is giving you something for free, whereas c'est un cadeau means that someone you (probably) know - a friend, a family member - is giving you a gift.


   Achetez deux croissants, et le café, c'est cadeau !
   Buy two croissants and the coffee's on the house!

   En Californie, voter c'est cadeau
      (Liberátion, 4 nov 08)
   In California, voting gets you a free gift

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