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💡 French Light Terms, Light Fixtures & Lamps

Hélène By Hélène - updated on Jul 7, 2020
gorgeous chandelier

What’s a chandelier? List of French light vocabulary including French light fixtures terms with English translations, useful French lighting sentences + idioms.

Here is a list of French light related vocabulary including lamps and light fixtures.

1 – What is a Chandelier?

Made famous lately by a Sia song, a chandelier is a branched ornamental light fixture. Chandeliers are usually mounted on ceilings or walls and are typically quite ornate.

The English word chandelier comes from the French word “un chandelier”. In French, “un chandelier” can be the same thing as in English, a ceiling or wall light fixture, but it can also be a branched candlestick to hold candles, which you can put on a table for example.

A chandelier is also called a girandole or candelabra lamp.

2 – French Light Terms

  1. La lumière – light
  2. éclairer – to light up (a room for example)
  3. allumer – to turn on a light
  4. éteindre – to turn off a light
  5. un réverbère – street light
  6. une ampoule – light bulb
  7. un abat-jour – lampshade
  8. un interrupteur – switch
  9. un variateur – dimmer
  10. une chandelle – candle (old-fashioned)
  11. une bougie – candle
  12. une bougie d’anniversaire – birthday candle
  13. un bougeoir – candle holder
  14. une ménorah – menorah – candle holder with 7 branches
  15. une hanoukia, chanoukiah – candle holder with 9 branches
  16. un lumignon – a very small candle, tea light candle
  17. une lampe torche, une lampe de poche – flashlight
  18. une guirlande électrique – electrical garland (see the French electrical vocabulary)
  19. une luciole – firefly, lightning bug

3 – French Light Fixtures and Lamps

  1. un luminaire – light fixture
  2. une lampe – lamp
  3. une applique murale – wall fixture/wall lamp
  4. un spot – spotlight
  5. une suspension – long ceiling light
  6. un plafonnier – short ceiling light (close to the ceiling)
  7. une lampe de chevet – bedside table lamp
  8. une lampe de table – table lamp
  9. une lampe à pied – amp on a stand, for the table or the floor
  10. un lampadaire – floor lamp but also a street light
  11. un chandelier – candlestick/chandelier light

4 – Useful French Phrases to Talk About Lighting

  1. Tu peux allumer/ éteindre / augmenter/ baisser la lumière ?
    Could you turn on/ switch off / turn up/ turn down the light?
  2. Il n’y a pas assez de lumière ici ! On n’y voit rien !
    There is not enough light in here! You can’t see anything!
  3. Il l’a invitée chez lui et a préparé un dîner aux chandelles.
    He invited her to his place and prepared a candle light dinner.
  4. J’ai besoin d’acheter des luminaires pour ma maison, mais je ne sais pas si je préfère un plafonnier ou des appliques murales.
    I need to buy lights for my house, but I don’t know whether I prefer a ceiling light or wall lights.
  5. D’abord une ampoule a grillé et puis les plombs ont sauté ! First a light bulb died, then the fuse blew!

6 – French Idioms with Lights

  1. Ne pas être une lumière – lit. to not be a light = to not be very bright. 
  2. À des années lumières de = light years (away) from 
  3. Ne pas être allumé(-e) à tous les étages = lit. to not be lit up on each floor: to be stupid
  4. Être complètement allumé(-e) = lit. to be totally lit up: to be crazy
  5. Watch out though… Allumer qq’un = lit. to light someone up means to turn someone on sexually.
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