Languages › French Avoir Le Cafard What does this French expression mean? Share Flipboard Email Print pixabay.com/CC0 French Vocabulary Pronunciation & Conversation Grammar Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Updated May 30, 2019 The French expression Avoir le cafard means to feel low, to be down in the dumps, to be depressed. It literally translates to "to have the cockroach" and is pronounced [ah vwar leu kah far]. It has an informal register. Etymology The French word cafard, which is probably from Arabic kafr, miscreant, non-believer (according to Le Grand Robert CD-ROM) has several meanings: a person who pretends to believe in Godtattletalecockroachmelancholy It was the poet, Charles Baudelaire, in Les Fleurs du mal, who first imbued cafard (and also spleen, incidentally) with the fourth meaning. So the French expression avoir le cafard isn't related to cockroaches at all (even though it kind of makes sense—who wouldn't feel bad about having cockroaches?) Example In order to use the phrase, you need to conjugate the verb avoir. Je ne peux pas me concentrer aujourd'hui - j'ai le cafard.I can't concentrate today - I'm depressed. Source Le Robert Staff. "Le Grand Robert CD ROM." Edition 1, The Robert, 2004.