Get prepared to discover all the things you need to know about the basic French phrase “Bon appétit”.
More precisely, this includes a detailed definition of what it is and how you can use it in a conversation with an audio example. And also the useful things we sprinkled like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonyms and more!
The literal meaning is:
It’s the famous French way to wish someone who is eating or about to eat “Enjoy your meal” / “Have a nice meal“. There is a constant rumor from foreign people saying that it’s a “cliché” and that French people are not really using it.
This is just absolutely not true.
No matter where you are in France, a small town or a big city, no matter if you are in a business meeting or with family, no matter the number of people around the table, and even no matter if you are at the table… you will hear “Bon appétit” all the time and people will be happy to hear you saying it.
There are also rumors saying that it’s not polite, because it implies the digestive process. This is absolutely not true, French people are NEVER thinking of such things while using it, so it will be polite no matter the situation.
And what is great with this expression is that it’s super popular all over the world. And is even used in other countries in Europe, Canada, USA, etc.
First of all, you should NEVER pronounce the final ” T” as you can hear on the audio pronunciation above.
Now that this is clear, whenever you are about to start a meal you can wish to everybody at the table “Bon appétit” (Enjoy your meal). In this case, it’s like a formula “to officially launch the meal” and tell people they can start to eat. Even if most of the time people already started anyway…
More generally, when you are talking with someone about to eat or currently eating, you can wish to this person “Bon appétit” even if you are not eating with this person right now.
And of course, it also works when wishing “Bon appétit” to a group of people you are not eating with.
Finally, in informal contexts, you can use “Bon app” which is a bit shorter and easier to use.
Something crazy: you will hear sometimes “Bonne fin d’appétit” (Good end of appetite) when people want to wish you to enjoy your meal but they are not sure if you finished your meal yet.
For example: because your plate is empty, or because you are at dessert or coffee, which is a sign in France of “End of appetite“.
It’s like a little game between us sometimes, trying to guess where people are in their appetite process…