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Noël malin

French expressions analyzed and explained


Noël malin
Expression: Noël malin

Pronunciation: [nuh el ma leh(n)]

Meaning: Christmas sales

Literal translation: shrewd Christmas

Register: informal

Notes: The French expression Noël malin is equivalent to "Christmas sales" but there's more to it than that - there's a bit of psychology at work.

Malin means "shrewd," so it doesn't refer to Christmas itself, or even to the sales, but rather to the consumer. The idea is that shrewd shoppers are too smart to miss these sales, so they'll rush right out and buy from stores promoting this Noël (pour le) malin. Since everyone wants to think he or she is intelligent, everyone - in theory - will buy from them. It's no wonder that Noël malin signs are ubiquitous at this time of year.


   Un Noël malin avec ... !
   Don't miss these amazing Christmas sales at ...!

More Celebrate: Christmas in France
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