French Idiomatic Expressions With Matin and Matinée

One of these days... Say this and more with French 'matin'/'matinée' idioms.

Boy Sleeping
Fair la grasse matinée (to sleep late or sleep in). Kajetan Kandler/Getty Images

The French words matin and matinée both mean "morning" and both are used in many idiomatic expressions. The difference between the two is that un matin is a straightforward expression of time (the morning), while une matinée indicates a duration of time, usually stressing the length of time, as in "the whole morning long." Learn how to say dawn, repeatedly, sleep late and more with these idiomatic expressions using matin and matinée.

This is a general principle that applies as well to other confusing pairs of words, such as an and annéejour and journée, and soir and soirée. Note that the shorter words in each case representing a straightforward period of time are all masculine; the longer words indicating a stretch of time are all feminine.

In the list below, note that while de bon matin is an acceptable expression, bon matin is not. Non-native speakers of French sometimes make the mistake of using bon matin to mean 'good morning,' but this construction does not exist in French. The acceptable morning greeting is always simply bonjour.

Common French Expressions With 'Matin' and 'Matinée' 

à prendre matin, midi et soir -- to be taken three times a day

Araignée du matin, chagrin; araignée du soir, espoir. (proverb) -- A spider in the morning, sadness (or, bad luck); a spider at night, hope ( or, good luck)

au matin de sa vie -- at the beginning / in the first years of one's life (when everything seems possible)

au petit matin -- at dawn

de bon matin -- early in the morning

de grand matin -- early in the morning

du matin au soir -- from morning till night

être du matin -- to be an early riser

tous les quatre matins -- repeatedly, again and again

un de ces quatre matins -- one of these days

une matinée -- afternoon performance

une matinée dansante -- dance, informal afternoon dance party

dans la matinée -- (sometime) in the morning

fair la grasse matinée -- sleep late, sleep in